Thursday, October 22, 2009


How To Win!

Milt Stanley quotes at great length Arminian Today. The opening sentence of the pullquote is one for the ages:
What we don't need is to try to win the world using the world, but we need to be Christ to the world and allow His glory to shine through us (Matthew 5:13-16; 1 Peter 2:11-12).
I love the use of the word "win." That is an important word in our world. We win games; we win market share for our businesses; we win readers for our blogs; we win members for our churches and we win converts for Jesus. And each time we use the word it invokes images of standing on the top step at the Olympics, spiking the ball in the end zone, or cutting down the nets.

And yet, what are the images of Christ's big win? -- An instrument of death and a barely noticed empty tomb. These images do not conjure the adrenaline "high" we typically associate with winning. The Apostle Paul wrote about winning:
1 Cor 9:19-27 - For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more. And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law, though not being myself under the Law, that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. And I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but {only} one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
That's a very different sort of winning - it's about others, or a fear of the consequences of losing. No glory, no celebration, just self-sacrifice.

That's how Christians win. What would a church that wanted to win that way look like? Somehow I cannot help but think that it would be quite a bit differently than it looks now.

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