Are you looking forward to the Olympics? There will be much to enjoy and to marvel at. The goodness of God’s creation will be on display as human beings, creatures made in God’s image, achieve the most extraordinary things. Sadly, there will also be much to be shocked and ashamed over, because the fallenness of the human world will also be on display. It may be possible to keep most brand names out of the Olympics, but nobody is going to keep sin out. So, let’s enjoy them, but not expect too much of them.
The apostle Paul frequently turns to the world of athletics for an appropriate image for living the Christian life. One of those is in Philippians 3:12-14, where he says, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me … I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.”
There are few certainties in the world of sport. Favourites are injured and cannot compete, or they perform poorly on the day or, in the case of the 4x100m relay, they drop the baton and are disqualified. But Paul speaks of his salvation, “the prize”, as a ‘nailed-on’ certainty. There is no doubt that his salvation will be there when he gets to the end of the race. Does that mean he slackens off and coasts to the line? Far from it. No, precisely because it’s certain, he presses on. Those who belong to Christ are ‘going for gold’, a prize that is surely theirs and which will be theirs forever.
Senior Minister (Vicar)