“Picture a bunch of people who become convinced that they should run and subsequently decide they’re going to run a marathon (or a half-marathon if that’s easier to picture!) They sign up for it and get really excited – they buy shoes, lightweight clothing, all the stuff they’ll need. When the day of the race arrives they get to the starting line early and are really pumped up, brimming with anticipation.Finally the moment comes, and they hear, “Ready, Set, Go!”as the starting gun is fired. They cross the starting line and immediately stop. They begin jumping around excitedly, hugging each other, crying,“We did it! We started the race! We’re in the race!”Finally, after the excitement wears off, a few slowly trudge along while others go home feeling warm inside about having started the race.” (>>)
From p. 88 of “The Race Set Before Us: A Biblical Theology of Perseverance & Assurance“, by Ardel Caneday and Thomas Schreiner:
“The ‘race set before us’ is an uncommon footrace, for the victor’s wreath of life that we pursue is the life that already courses through our mortal bodies by God’s Spirit (Romans 8:11).This is not the rhetoric of a sports commentator reporting on the marathon at the Olympics: ‘The runners are already empowered by the gold.’ It is much more than desire for the gold that invigorates runners in this uncommon race. For we are affirmed that although eternal life is God’s prize of salvation that we pursue with eager hope, eternal life is also the gift of grace that already invigorates us with the resurrection life so that we run the race with perseverance. Eternal life is the reward that we trust God will give to us who faithfully endure to the end of the race. Yet eternal life is also the very breath of heaven that already fills our hearts by God’s Spirit and enlivens our ‘feeble arms and weak knees’ (Hebrews 12:12) to ‘run the race set before us’ (Hebrews 12:1).”
Be diligent to persevere and make your calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10)! Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14)! Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God whoworks in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13)! Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:10)!