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"Fighting the Good Fight" (posted January 3, 2018)
I have fought the good fight.
- 2 Timothy 4:7
The earth is filled with fightings as the fruit of sin, and perhaps none have been fiercer and worse than those that have been waged in the arena of "the Church." What a tragic misuse of energy there has been all down the ages when brother has drawn the sword against brother over comparatively trivial and oft-times selfish matters, to the great delight and profit of the common foe!
Alive to this and tired of it, we must not slip into the opposite error of thinking that there is really nothing worth fighting about. There is such a thing as a "good fight," as verse 7 makes manifest. The apostle fought a good fight, inasmuch as his contentions were for God and His truth and not of any selfish sort; and further he used spiritual and not carnal (that is, fleshly or natural) weapons in his warfare (see 2 Corinthians 10:3-6). If we go to war for ourselves, or if warring for God we use carnal weapons, our fight is not a good fight.
Paul not only fought a good fight, but he ran his race to the finish and he kept the faith. Having kept it, he could hand it on intact to those who were to follow him. The faith of Christianity is the great object of the adversary's attack. If he attacks us, it is just in order that he may damage the faith.
It would almost seem as if the apostle in these verses had in his mind's eye a relay race. The baton of the faith had been placed in his hands and beating off the attacks of the foe he had raced through to the finish of his section and was now handing it on intact to another, with the assurance that at the day of Christ's appearing the crown of righteousness would be his; and not only awarded to him but also to all others who like him faithfully run their bit of the race with their eye on the goal.
The rewards of faithfulness will be seen at the appearing of Christ, and that moment will be loved by those who diligently seek His pleasure. But to those who seek their own pleasure, His appearing will be an unwelcome thought.
Frank B. Hole