The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"His Role, Our Role"
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" (II Timothy 4:7).
On the surface, a novice reader might think Paul affirmed his own faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ as he neared the end of his earthly journey. Another statement by the Apostle, however, puts such a notion to rest:
"By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me" (I Corinthians 15:10).
Clearly, Paul knew himself to have been motivated, guided, and enabled by a power beyond Himself, the power of God's grace in the Lord Jesus. However, he did not suggest himself to be a merely programmed robot by giving all glory to God for his abundant labors. The Apostle responded to the Holy Spirit's movings in leading to a life of faith and faithfulness. In the terms mentioned in his epistle to the Philippians, Paul "worked out" that which God "worked in" (Philippians 2:12-13). Like all believers, he played a role in the relationship that was real and freely chosen. At the end of the day, however, the Lord alone received all honor for the Apostle's faithful service because Paul's response in the matter involved the receiving of God's grace that led to his Lord's mighty working in his heart and life. "We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead" (II Corinthians 1:9).
Paul well knew the truth expressed by the Lord Jesus to His disciples: "Without Me, ye can do nothing." He also knew the wonder of "Christ in you, the hope of glory" and "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (John 15:5; Colossians 1:27; Philippians 4:13). At the end of his life, he could legitimately affirm his faithfulness and the finishing of his course. The confession, however, must be taken in the context of Paul's many affirmations that God alone must be glorified for all faithfulness manifested in His trusting children in Christ. Such is the wonder and mystery of God united with human hearts in Christ, so enabling them as to be rightly praised for all. We nevertheless bring something to the table in our relationship with the Lord, something real and free and vital as we receive His grace and walk thereby. "What is Your role, Father? What is my role?" We do well to keep the questions on the table throughout our lifetime so that we may one day affirm, to the glory of God alone, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."
"Let us have grace, that we may serve God acceptably, whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear."
Weekly Memory Verse
Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.