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"I have finished the race" is the second clause of three within a passage written by the apostle Paul to Timothy: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 ...
2Timothy 4:7, Paul said he had fought a good fight, he had finished the race, and he had kept the faith. However though, we seek to elaborate on; …I have finished the race..." By using the word "race", Paul was only being metaphorical. The exact meaning though was that if it had been a race, he had successfully reached the finishing line. Paul had sought to liken our Christian journey to someone in a race. In a race, there are rules and regulations but there are also challenges in the course of the race which seek to hinder us to reach the finishing line. The following are some of the hurdles we are likely to face while in a race; Knocking yourself down, You could be pulled down by a fellow contestant or You could slide off the marked route. But despite all the above, what counts is having been able to cross the finishing line. You are counted to have won if having won; you have equally kept the rules and the regulations of the race. How successful you are in managing and overcoming the hurdles you encounter during the race is what will eventually tell the hero in you. It is therefore incumbent on us to know how to go about the challenges. It is never smooth, but it is very important that we cross the finishing line. On this account, we should run carefully bearing in mind that there are hindrances in the way of the race. It is therefore not a matter of how many excuses we could give for having failed to cross the mark; it is only a matter of having crossed the line. Therefore, the question looms; have you crossed the line? No! You are doomed! For the prize is singularly given to the winner not the loser, whatever the excuses may be. The rules and regulations of the race do not provide for excuses. Have you crossed the line? Yes! Everlasting joy and happiness awaits you! This is advice to you and I as Christians, that like how contestants in a race force themselves through to the finishing line so should we learn from them (Matthew 7:13-14). We should be Christians with a purpose and a vision (1Corinthians 9:25-26), well aware of what lies ahead of us. Confession of Christ is one thing, and going all the way is another. We should be proactive while we are continually on our knees praying for God’s grace to sustain the race. The outstanding lesson out of this though should be for us to be wise Christians. For the devil is cunning and seeks to use our naivety to get us into a position when we should feel it is too much on us and therefore not worthy taking. Jesus says we should be wise enough to be able to overcome the devil. For some of us seek to reach there, while others only seek to fail others. This calls for wisdom (Matthew 10:16). For it is not about our physical strength and ability to participate in the race, but the wisdom we apply is equally important. Our detractors do not use any physical strength; they only defeat us (God forbid) on account of our lack of wisdom. Take the parable of the ten girls (Matthew 25:1-13). Five were wise and five were foolish. Mark you, they were all virgins! The five wise ones acted wisely and entered heaven on that account. The five foolish ones acted like so and missed heaven on that account. Not that they had any disbelief in what they did, but one thing lacked; wisdom. You may miss heaven not on account that you have any doubt that Jesus is LORD and that it is only through Him that we will meet the Father, but on account that you lacked in understanding what it is all about. For we should be aware of ourselves but also much aware of whatever surrounds us. Sometimes your enemy is just next to you and their end game is one; to make sure that you fail to cross the finishing line (Matthew 10:36). Lastly, you can only count yourself a winner if you have kept the rules and the regulations of the race. For that is how you are counted outstanding of all of the rest. You must be genuine in your win with the observance of all instructions which have been laid before you.
The words fight and race are euphemisms of Paul's trials and run is analogous to moving to the finish line. He did not say that he won either, but that he did say that did his best. This statement came after he had written to Timothy that he was near the end of his life. What's important is that through all that has happened his faith never waivered. This is a warning to Timothy of what's yet to come. He is writing this to encourage Timothy to whom he was passing the baton. Now back to the fight and the race. He did not write that he won, but in reiterating his statement of faith he writes he will receive a winners crown on that day. I'm sure that Timothy can extrapolate that one does not have to win; just do ones best.
NET I have competed well; 1 I have finished the race; I have kept the faith! NET Notes 1 The expression I have competed well (Grk “I have competed the good competition”) uses words that may refer to a race or to a boxing or wrestling match: “run the good race” or “fight the good fight.” The similar phrase in 1 Tim 1:18 uses a military picture and is more literally “war the good warfare.” You could look at it like this: The Man of God—Four Portraits 1 A Man Fleeing (Illustration—Joseph) 1 Tim.6:11; 2 Tim.2:22; Gen.39:12 2 A Man Following (Illustration—Elisha) 1 Tim.6:11; 2 King 2:6 3 A Man Fighting (Illustration—Paul) 1 Tim.6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7 4 A Man Furnished (Illustration—Timothy) 2 Tim.3:16,17 Or this: The Life Worth Living 2 Tim. 4:6-8 1 An Aspect—Paul’s Reckoning of his life—Surrendered, as a drink offering poured out Phil. 2:17 Selfless because Christ-centred and controlled Phil. 1:21 Spent out, as a ship about to be loosed 2 Tim. 4:6 2 A Retrospect—Paul’s Review of his life—as a soldier, a runner and a steward 2 Timothy 4:7 3 A Prospect—‘Paul’s Reward for his consecrated life—a crown of righteousness 2 Tim. 4:8 Paul had been treated unrighteously by men on earth. The righteous Judge would reward his sufferings with the crown of righteousness in Heaven. Wiersbe cites “Run/Runner/Race” as symbols of “Life/Ministry” in 2 Tim. 4:7 along w/ Acts 20:24 and Philippians 3:12-14. Other cross references to 2 Timothy 4:7 = Pr 23:23; Lu 8:15; Lu 11:28; Joh 4:34; Joh 17:6; Ac 13:25; Ac 20:24; 1Co 9:24-27; Php 3:13,14; 1Ti 6:12; 1Ti 6:20; 2Ti 1:14; Heb 12:1,2; Re 3:8,10 in Treasury of Scripture Knowledge Cross-References are listed here. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) cites a couple of the above verses under the KJV “course.” A career in such a course (dromos): "I have finished my (the Revised Version (British and American) "the") course" (2 Tim 4:7); "as John fulfilled (the Revised Version (British and American) "was fulfilling") his course" (Acts 13:25); "that I might finish (the Revised Version (British and American) "may accomplish") my course" (Acts 20:24). Paul was looking back at his life in 2 Timothy 4:7. He summed up his life and ministry. Two of the images here are athletic: like a determined wrestler or boxer, he had fought a good fight; and, as a runner, he had finished his lifelong race victoriously, He had kept the rules and deserved a prize (see Acts 20:24; Phil. 3:13–14). The third image is that of a steward who had faithfully guarded his boss’s deposit: “I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). Paul used this image often in his pastoral letters. It is heartening to be able to look back and have no regrets. Paul was not always popular, nor was he usually comfortable; but he remained faithful. That is what really counted.
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