The Rules of the Game
The Olympic games continue to excite me through the years. My favorite competition is cross-country skiing. Allow me to pose some rhetorical questions to you for the sake of making a point. Can one compete in cross-country skiing using the rules of hockey? Will the USA hockey team win over China playing by the rules of archery? Would it be fair for the judges to preside over a figure skating competition by the rules of speed skating? Of course, the answer to all these silly questions is no. Similarly, it is ridiculous for you or me to think that we can win a victory over the Devil competing by worldly rules or human creeds.
The very fact that the Christian life entails a struggle over selfishness implies that we are not worthy to write our own rulebooks on religious issues (James 1:14-17; 1:23-27). Jeremiah captured this concept when he said in chapter 10 of his prophetic book, "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." Doesn't it just make sense that if we want to win over death we must walk according to the Book of life? To gain this victory Paul said that he was "holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain" (Phil. 2:16).
An enormous problem has been caused by the doctrines of men (Mat. 15:9; Col. 2:22). The solution is clear. To win the victorious crown of eternal life we must determine to defeat our spiritual competitor according to God's rules. It is He who will judge us; therefore, it is by His rules that we race. The Judge did say, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). Only those who compete fairly will finish the course. "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Heb. 12:1b). Only those who compete according to the right standard will taste victory. "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain it" (1 Cor. 9:24).
Christians who live according to God's Word are already winners. "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 15:57).
Published in The Old Paths Archive