| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 45 - Page 90 of 251 Index | Zoom | |
Lord is not for a part of our lives on earth, it must absorb the all of it, from salvation to
either death or the realization of our hope in glory.
As we are not machines or puppets, but moral creatures who have the inestimable
benefit of being freed from the dominion of sin by redemption, we are thereby
accountable to the Lord for our practical response to Him day-to-day. If this were not so,
the command to `walk worthy' would be empty indeed. The Word of God makes it quite
clear that, while all of His children are His servants, some are good servants and others
are bad ones. Some are faithful, while others are unfaithful. It matters not whether we
are dealing with the O.T., the Gospels or Epistles, this is most clearly taught. Now a God
of righteousness and justice will surely take account of this, and if such justice must be
seen to be done (and this certainly will be so), then there must be a reckoning day for all
the Lord's servants (II Cor. 5: 9, 10; Rom. 14: 10-12).
Paul reminds the Corinthians that every athlete disciplines himself in every way in
rigorous training. This was not a hardship to any keen runner. He regarded it as the
greatest of privileges to do so, and possibly to obtain the wreath of pine with all the
honour attached to it as a symbol of victory. The Corinthians therefore must take stock
of themselves and realize that (1) God's prizes are worth having, and (2) that they are not
The Apostle now transfers the figure to himself and not only alludes to the controlled
effort needed in a race, but the purposeful energy used in a boxing match:
"So, for my part, that is how I run--not as if I did not know where I was going; that
is how I box, not as though I were beating the air. But I buffet my body, and bring it
into slavery, lest, when I have preached to others, I should myself prove to be rejected"
(9: 26, 27 100: K. Barrett).
The successful runner does not wander aimlessly. He keeps his eye on the course and
the tape at the end, and presses straight towards it with all speed. Likewise, the believer
cannot afford to be negligent with regard to his service and witness for the Lord. There
can be no holidays from this, or periods when he can afford to slack. It is useless being a
spasmodic runner. It is only consistent effort that finally wins. Or take a boxer. He does
not waste his strength in dealing ineffectual blows, for this would be just beating the air
and would achieve nothing. Every blow must tell. And the one whom Paul is fighting is
not another person, but himself. He buffets or disciples his body, so that it becomes his
slave. He is in complete control of himself as he takes God's grace and strength so to be.
Too many of us are ruled by our bodies. They can be the most demanding of masters,
and unless we are careful, their whims can turn us this way and that, and so affect our
running in the heavenly race.
To some, verse 27 is a problem, for, on the surface, it seems as though Paul feared lest
he could lose his salvation at the end. The A.V. `castaway' is too strong. "Rejected" or
"disapproved" is better. The word adokimos is the negative of dokimos, approved,
occurring in II Tim. 2: 15, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that
needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth". Here again the context is