We’re on the winning side!
In Genesis 12, Abram was told that a great nation would descend from him and that the world would be blessed through him. Those promises have been fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ.
All believers are grafted into the spiritual Israel (Romans 11:16-18). We’re part of God’s family (Matthew 12:46-50); a people of his promise and heirs with him of the heavenly glories (Romans 8:17).
Bound together as believers, we share in each other’s sorrows and rejoice with each other on earth. We’re fellow pilgrims on the road to the same ultimate destination of glory.
This sense of belonging together is like being part of the same team — an extension, so to speak, of the original ‘Team Jesus’, or the 12 apostles (11, if you relegate Judas to the bench).
We are God’s team on earth, each with a different part to play. As Paul makes clear in 1 Corinthians 12, even the lowliest individual sporting the heavenly team strip (the robe of Christ’s righteousness) is as much a part of the body of Christ as the head or the hands.
Perhaps too we can learn something from those good examples of teamwork we have witnessed in sport? About passing the ball without hogging the glory? Or looking out for each other’s good? Or picking each other up when we fall down?
That way, we are true team players, working together for God’s kingdom and giving him the glory.
Are you a team player in your local church or an individualist? Indeed, have you thrown in your lot with God’s people and become a member of a gospel church? Cheering from the touchline is not the same as playing on the team!
If we are Christ’s, working with others to proclaim the gospel of salvation, then there is a goal in sight. We daily take up our cross and follow Jesus, confident in the ultimate prize.
As Paul said, ‘If Christ be not raised from the dead, then we are of all men the most miserable’ (1 Corinthians 15:19). But, thank God! Christ is raised from the dead and is even now at the right hand of God, preparing for us a place in heaven (John 14:1-3).
There is a goal which we strive for, both individually and corporately, pressing forward to win this accolade from the risen Lord Jesus Christ: ‘You good and faithful servant, come enter the blessedness which my Father has prepared for you’.
The heavenly rewards are things to be fought for with every nerve and sinew: ‘Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 3:13-14).
In any tournament, whether or not played sportingly, there are winning and losing sides.
When teams evenly matched in talent compete, it’s hard to tell in advance who will win. After very closely fought soccer matches, it’s a shame when a game is decided by penalty shoot-outs and someone has to lose, simply because of one lost chance.
But for the Christian, there are no ‘chances’! It is certain that, in Christ, we will never be on the losing side. God has the victory already.
When we are on the Lord’s side, we are already on the winning team. The battle, victory and glory are all the Lord’s. As 2013 continues to unfold for good or bad, let’s remember whose side we are on, and let’s watch out for our ‘team-mates’!