Let us Say Like Paul …
That great divine, John Owen, the Dean of Christ Church, used to say, more than two hundred years ago, that there were people whose whole religion seemed to consist in going about complaining of their own corruptions and telling everyone that they could do nothing of themselves. I am afraid that after two centuries, the same thing might be said with truth of some of Christ’s professing people in this day. I know there are texts in Scripture which seem to validate such complaints. I do not object to them, when they come from men who walk in the steps of the apostle Paul and fight a good fight, as he did, against sin, the devil and the world. But I never like such complaints when I see grounds for suspecting, as I often do — that they are only a cloak to cover spiritual laziness, and an excuse for spiritual sloth.
If we say with Paul, “O wretched man that I am!” let us also be able to say with him, “I press toward the mark!” Let us not quote his example in one thing, while we do not follow him in another (Romans 7:24; Philippians 3:14).
The above extract was taken from JC Ryle’s book on ‘Holiness”, and how true it is indeed. Paul was no different than you and I. Why should we not say with Paul, as he said at the end of his course…’I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness’
Did he receive the crown because he says…’Jesus ran the race…Jesus fought the fight’ like the modern day Christian who often says or sings such things, expecting to receive a crown like a freebie. Yes, there is a crown, but there is no crown without the cross. There is no life unless one dies. As clearly demonstrated in our example and pioneer Jesus Christ. Let’s not hope to gain anything unless we consider it loss. Let’s not hope to find anything until we lose everything for Christ. Most Christians who say, ‘we need not do anything, after all, Jesus did everything’, and indulge in fleshly desires and sin, will be sadly surprised and grievously mistaken, for the scripture is clear…it is they that endure and resists temptation that receive the crown that the Lord has promised to them that love Him.
Let’s continue to pray that God may open our eyes to His word, for in it is life. May the grace of God fill your hearts with love and peace.