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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
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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

17.1.2022

Kiit­tä­kää Her­raa, huu­ta­kaa avuk­si hä­nen ni­me­ään, ker­to­kaa kan­soil­le hä­nen suu­ris­ta te­ois­taan! Ps. 105:1

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