This is part of the series “What is the Gospel?”
One of the key aspects of the Gospel is that repentance is not a one-time thing. We must commit ourselves to repentance. I mentioned previously that repentance is the turning away from sin. But many times we mistakenly believe that our lives will only require one course correction. Sin is always around us, tempting and tricking us into believing that we have arrived. There is no arriving while we walk this earth. We are on a journey. We are constantly moving towards God’s presence. It is because of this striving that we must commit to turning away from sin. Paul said, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” [Romans 7:15].
Paul was familiar with the Olympic games of his day and used an athletics illustration to help the Corinthians understand that the life of faith should be run as if to win the prize—eternal fellowship with God. Repentance, I believe, is the means by which God adjusts our course in life to run the race of faith well. Look at what Paul says,
25Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” [1 Corinthians 9:25-27]
Paul desires to remain qualified; therefore, he must be constantly evaluating what he does in light of Scripture and God’s character to finish the race well. We should emulate Paul’s example as we live the Gospel out in our lives.