JavaScript is disabled in your web browser or browser is too old to support JavaScript. Today almost all web pages contain JavaScript, a scripting programming language that runs on visitor's web browser. It makes web pages functional for specific purposes and if disabled for some reason, the content or the functionality of the web page can be limited or unavailable.
Vieraskieliset / In-english

I have fought the good fight

Siionin Lähetyslehti
Vieraskieliset / In-english
20.11.2013 15.13

Juttua muokattu:

1.1. 23:45

Apost­le Paul was fa­mi­li­ar with the con­tem­po­ra­ry cul­tu­re and the va­lue that was pla­ced on sport. Sin­ce he knew that no­ti­ons of com­pe­ti­ti­on were pre­va­lent in pe­op­le’s thoughts, he of­ten com­pa­red the life of a Chris­ti­an to the run­ning of a race. He al­so wan­ted to show that the sig­ni­fi­can­ce and des­ti­na­ti­on of the en­de­a­vor in faith are much gre­a­ter than any at­tain­ment of tem­po­ral go­als.

Paul wrote to Ti­mot­hy that bo­di­ly exer­ci­se is of lit­t­le use, but that true faith is use­ful in all ways, as it in­vol­ves a pro­mi­se of both cur­rent and fu­tu­re life. He said that be­lie­vers en­de­a­vor in faith be­cau­se they be­lie­ve in li­ving God, who is the Sa­vi­or of all pe­op­le. (1 Tim. 4:8–10.)

Trust in God’s grace

A psalm wri­ter talks about faith as a ”road” or a ”way”. He says he pra­yed day and night, cal­ling on God for help and as­king: ”Te­ach me thy way, O Lord” (Ps. 86:11). Ac­cor­ding to the Bib­le, man can on­ly get on the road of eter­nal life through Christ.

Je­sus said: ”For God so lo­ved the world that he gave his on­ly be­got­ten Son, that who­e­ver be­lie­ves in him should not pe­rish but have ever­las­ting life” (John 3:16). Apost­le Paul wrote to the Ro­mans: ”The­re­fo­re, ha­ving been jus­ti­fied by faith, we have pe­a­ce with God through our Lord Je­sus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). The Lord Je­sus ato­ned for our sins, and not on­ly ours but the sins of all pe­op­le (1. John 2:2).

A per­son can find the way le­a­ding to eter­nal life by he­a­ring God’s call in this world. The Lord of the he­a­ven and the earth has es­tab­lis­hed the mi­nist­ry of re­con­ci­li­a­ti­on in his cong­re­ga­ti­on. This mi­nist­ry is a ser­vi­ce done by God’s child­ren. ”God was in Christ re­con­ci­ling the world to him­self, not im­pu­ting their tres­pas­ses to them, and has com­mit­ted to us the word of re­con­ci­li­a­ti­on.” (2 Cor. 5:19).

Paul said he was run­ning to­ward the des­ti­na­ti­on, the gre­a­test prize, un­to which God had cal­led him in Je­sus Christ. He the­re­fo­re said he would glad­ly for­get what was in the past and would en­de­a­vor to­ward the goal ahe­ad of him. (Phil. 3: 13–14.) The sus­tai­ning strength of those tra­ve­ling on the road of life is God’s grace. It te­ac­hes them to aban­don un­god­li­ness and world­ly lusts. (Tit. 2:11–12.)

Love, the dis­tin­guis­hing mark of God’s child­ren

God’s word com­pa­res pe­op­le to good and bad trees (Matt. 12:33). Ac­cor­ding to the Bib­le, a child of God is a “good tree” that be­ars good fruit. Je­sus taught that a good man brings forth good things out of the good tre­a­su­re of his he­art, while an evil man brings forth evil things (Matt. 12:35).

Paul wrote that the love of God has been pou­red out in­to the be­lie­vers’ he­arts by the Holy Spi­rit gi­ven to them (Rom. 5:5). The fruit of the Spi­rit are love, joy, pe­a­ce, long­suf­fe­ring, kind­ness, good­ness, faith­ful­ness, gent­le­ness, and self-cont­rol (Gal. 5:22). The first fruit of faith is love.

Apost­le John wrote: ”In this is love, not that we lo­ved God, but that he lo­ved us and sent his Son to be the pro­pi­ti­a­ti­on for our sins.” (1 John 4:10). This he­a­ven­ly love ra­di­a­tes from a be­lie­ver to­ward the Lord Je­sus, ot­her child­ren of God, the work of the gos­pel, and un­be­lie­ving pe­op­le, even those who seem an­ta­go­nis­tic to the work of God’s king­dom. The apost­le en­cou­ra­ged us to be kind­ly af­fec­ti­o­na­te to one anot­her with brot­her­ly love (Rom. 12:10).

In his fa­re­well speech, Je­sus said to his fol­lo­wers: ”A new com­mand­ment I give to you, that you love one anot­her; as I have lo­ved you, that you al­so love one anot­her. By this all will know that you are my dis­cip­les, if you have love for one anot­her.” (John 13:34–35)

Ta­king care of one’s faith

As be­lie­vers, we gat­her to hear God’s word. We do not want to live in a way that is cont­ra­ry to God’s word. This is not due to a cal­cu­la­ted choi­ce or ex­ter­nal com­pul­si­on, but to the inst­ruc­ti­on of God’s grace and the work of the Holy Spi­rit. (Tit. 2:11–12.) Li­ving faith can­not re­main in­vi­sib­le in the life of a child of God.

Pe­op­le may so­me­ti­mes say that God’s child­ren are iso­la­ted out­si­ders. This is not so, ho­we­ver, ac­cor­ding to God’s word and be­lie­vers’ per­so­nal ex­pe­rien­ce. Li­ving faith helps us to live a true life in God’s king­dom of grace. We have been ab­le to see in our own li­ves and in the li­ves of our fa­mi­ly and friends that, if we re­main obe­dient to God’s word, we are spa­red many of the evil things that keep some of our neigh­bors in bon­da­ge.

We know that all life needs nou­rish­ment. This is al­so true of the life of faith. Mar­tin Lut­her wrote like this in his book ’Chris­ti­an’s Free­dom’: ”The soul has not­hing el­se to live by eit­her on earth or in he­a­ven – – ex­cept the holy gos­pel, the word of God. That gi­ves the soul enough nou­rish­ment, joy, pe­a­ce, en­ligh­ten­ment, skill, righ­te­ous­ness, truth, wis­dom, free­dom, and all good things in abun­dan­ce.” The Lut­he­ran Chris­ti­an Doct­ri­ne te­ac­hes us to take care of our faith: ”To re­main in faith and to be strengt­he­ned in it, the Chris­ti­an should make di­li­gent use of God’s word and the Holy Com­mu­ni­on, pra­yer, and Chris­ti­an fel­lows­hip.”

The wri­ter of the let­ter to the Heb­rews inst­ructs God’s child­ren to take care of their faith like this: ”Let us lay asi­de eve­ry weight and the sin which so ea­si­ly ens­na­res us, and let us run with en­du­ran­ce the race that is set be­fo­re us, loo­king un­to Je­sus, the aut­hor and fi­nis­her of our faith.” (Hebr. 12:1–2) We can be re­lie­ved of our sins and bur­dens on­ly by be­lie­ving the gos­pel pre­ac­hed through the Holy Spi­rit, whose core is the for­gi­ve­ness of sins in Je­sus’ name and blood.

The most im­por­tant thing of life

Alt­hough life pre­sents us with many de­mands and du­ties, there is on­ly one thing that is ne­ces­sa­ry. The psalm wri­ter said it like this: ”Uni­te my he­art to fear thy name” (Ps. 86:11).

Je­sus exp­lai­ned that it is not pos­sib­le to ser­ve two mas­ters. He said: ”For where yo­ur tre­a­su­re is, there will yo­ur he­art be al­so.” (Luke 12:34) We the­re­fo­re pray to God for strength to en­de­a­vor full-he­ar­ted­ly in his king­dom.

Where God does his sa­ving work, the po­wers of the Ene­my are of­ten al­so ac­ti­ve. This was true even in Paul’s time. For examp­le, there had been fal­se te­ac­hers tra­ve­ling in Co­los­sae and the neigh­bo­ring towns, who ba­sed their pre­ac­hing on ot­her ele­men­tal spi­ri­tu­al for­ces, not Christ. Their pur­po­se was to con­fu­se Chris­ti­ans with vain phi­lo­sop­hi­cal ramb­lings and draw them away from the simp­le faith in Christ.

When Paul wrote to the Co­los­si­ans, his words gave per­su­a­si­ve tes­ti­mo­ny of the po­wer of the gos­pel and the strong foun­da­ti­on of faith. He ex­hor­ted Co­los­si­an Chris­ti­ans to walk in Christ even at ti­mes of temp­ta­ti­on, roo­ted and built up in him and es­tab­lis­hed in the faith. In Christ the ful­l­ness of the Dei­ty exists in bo­di­ly form. Child­ren of God can pos­sess this through faith. (Col. 2:6–10)

The cont­ro­ver­sy bet­ween God’s proc­la­ma­ti­on and the inst­ruc­ti­on ari­sing from the cor­rupt hu­man mind and bet­ween faith and re­a­son is of­ten vi­sib­le in the li­ves of pe­op­le in the Bib­le. Child­ren of God may ex­pe­rien­ce si­mi­lar cont­ro­ver­sies in our time. Child­ren of God inst­ruc­ted by the Holy Spi­rit, ho­we­ver, can be as­su­red that their faith is strengt­he­ned in the fel­lows­hip of God’s cong­re­ga­ti­on. In that cong­re­ga­ti­on we are as­su­red over and over again that the full di­vi­ni­ty of God was made ma­ni­fest in Je­sus Christ.

Fi­nis­hing a good race

In his fa­re­well let­ter to Ti­mot­hy, Paul wrote: ”I have fought the good fight, I have fi­nis­hed the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righ­te­ous­ness, which the Lord, the righ­te­ous Jud­ge, will award to me on that day—and not on­ly to me, but al­so to all who have lon­ged for his ap­pe­a­ring.” (2 Tim. 4:7–8) A Chris­ti­an can­not win the prize by his own suc­ces­s­ful per­for­man­ce, but on­ly by kee­ping faith in a good and clean cons­cien­ce with po­wer of the gos­pel of Christ. Paul ex­hor­ted Ti­mot­hy: ”Hold on to faith and a good cons­cien­ce!” (1 Tim. 1:19)

Text: Ju­ha­ni Liuk­ko­nen

Pub­lis­hed: SRK Ye­ar­book 2001

Trans­la­ti­on: S.-L. L.

Jul­kais­tu eng­lan­nin­kie­li­ses­sä kie­li­liit­tees­sä 11/2013


Jeesus sanoi: ”Ei jokainen, joka sanoo minulle: ’Herra, Herra’, pääse taivasten valtakuntaan. Sinne pääsee se, joka tekee taivaallisen Isäni tahdon.” Matt. 7:21

Viikon kysymys