1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
1 Corinthians 9:24
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
Why are we continually told to run a race and have endurance (patience) if we are guaranteed salvation no matter what we do? Why are we told to endure until the end (physical death) if we cannot depart from God? God is faithful, so does that automatically mean that we will be? God said I will never leave thee nor forsake thee does that mean that I cannot forsake him? The belief of once saved always saved or as some call it eternal security, is causing many to live life in a back slidden, lukewarm state. They have quit the race and have given up on the prize that Jesus died for us for. That position is an extremely dangerous position to be in. Remember what was said about the lukewarm church of the Laodiceans.
Revelation 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
So they were part of the church (those that belong to Jesus Christ), but they were not right with God so if they didn’t shape up and repent, God was going to punish them with the rest of the sinners. Are we not to expect the same judgement, are we some special group of people that this doesn’t pertain to?
The race is our life in Christ, it is telling us how we ought to act in our christian lives. It’s not a went down to the front, go to church on Sundays quick sprint. Those things don’t make you a christian. It’s a marathon, a life long race that we are running as if only ONE gets the prize. Now we know that more than one will receive salvation, but that’s not how we are supposed to run it.
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.
Paul knew the truth that he had to continue in the Lord because he had not yet attained that salvation that we are all looking for. He tells us in verse 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. That prize is our reward for finishing that race. You can not finish a race if your not even running in it.
Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
2 Thessalonians 1:4
So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
These few verses are just a few of the many verses that encourages us to continue running that race from day to day. We are also warned in Mark 4 what will happen if we don’t endure.
16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
We have another example of what happens when you don’t endure in 2 Peter 2:20-22
20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
These verses are not talking about the lost soul that doesn’t know Jesus Christ, these are talking about those that have escaped the pollutions (sin) of this world and chose to quit the race. We need to keep our endurance up to receive that prize, that goal, that salvation or we will end up being like that seed in the parable of the sower. Dead.