“Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:3).
“Let us run”. It is not so much the running or the race that is in view but the goal, the prize. What is the objective of our running? Ideas about this vary greatly, and much evangelism limits it to the fact of being forgiven and going to heaven. When, however, we come to the New Testament, which is our final authority on the matter, we find that although blessings and heaven and glory are included, the real objective is a Person. The prize turns out to be a person, and that person, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The beginning of Hebrews’ epistle gives us one of the two or three classical presentations of the person of the Lord Jesus. The first five verses provide us with a superlatively beautiful presentation of God’s Son. It is to this Son Jesus that we are to look as we run. He is the goal; He is the prize. The letter has as its supreme object the setting forth of Divine fullness and finality in God’s Son, presented to faith for faith’s apprehension and appropriation. Fullness in Christ is the gathering up of all into Him. Finality in Christ is the completion and realization of all in Him. It goes on to consider in greater detail what He is and what He has done, His manifold capacity and ministry as God’s Son, turning then to an exhortation that we should keep this well in view and pursue our race with fullness and finality in Christ as our objective. Our lifetime will not be sufficient for us to attain to this: eternity will be required for us to discover what fullness really is.
If the goal and prize is Christ, then the race will resolve itself into overcoming everything that is not Christ. The Christian life is a course, and a very strenuous course, calling for our utmost concentration, consecration and abandon. After all, progress can never be made unless there is something to work against, and strange as it may seem, friction seems almost essential to progress. One cannot run on ice, and one can only make slow and unsatisfactory progress on deep sand. There must be something against which one can press and push, something that provides resistance and which has to be resisted and overcome. So our race is a matter of overcoming, and supremely of overcoming the natural by the spiritual.