More than fifty years ago one of my professors in Bible college warned: “Many start well, but few finish well.” Both the Bible and observation prove that he was right in what he said. Surely it must be that God works a desire – a will – to finish well. Paul wrote, “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure,” (Philippians 2:12-13 ).

The first phrase in our quote is an exhortation to earnest and faithful effort towards apprehending that for which God apprehended us. Indeed, if you are saved it is because God laid hold upon you just as He did Saul of Tarsus. Further along in his same letter Paul wrote: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 3:12-14). Notice especially two words: “apprehend” and “apprehended.” All those whom God predestinated, He “did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren,” (Romans 8:25). That is why God apprehended you if He did. If He did not, you are not yet saved!

The second phrase in the quotation in the first paragraph above is an explanation as to how the child of God is enabled to “apprehend” that for which he was “apprehended of [by] Christ Jesus.” The explanation is this: “it is God that worketh in you.” And He works both causing you “to will” and enabling you “to do” what He has determined that shall be done. While the Bible teaches that God has His will accomplished by every man, the lost do His will apart from their conscious cooperation and without any desire on their part to serve God. But it is completely different for the child of God. His Bible tells him that God continues to deal with him and to work in him motivating him and enabling him to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” as Paul has written.

Those of us who are seeking to be good finishers – to finish well – find ourselves today in the final or finishing days of this age of Christ’s congregations upon the earth. There is no evidence that the Lord’s churches will be on the earth from Revelation chapter four onward in time. And so as God wraps up this present age – as it is brought to a finish – we are to finish our course well and do so according to the rules of the racetrack. Forward!

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