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The Glorious End without the Difficult Means

The Glorious End without the Difficult Means

Just as Olympic athletes cannot realistically expect to win a gold medal unless they strictly discipline themselves toward victory, Christians cannot hope to prevail in the Christian life unless they take a serious, disciplined approach to it. Yet lurking in the background is always the temptation to hope that we can have the result of diligent labor without the labor itself, that we can have the glorious end we desire without the difficult means.

The apostle Paul spoke longingly of “the crown of righteousness” that was awaiting him and all who persevere to the end (2 Timothy 4:8). James told of “the crown of life” that God promised to those who love him and who remain steadfast through trials (James 1:12). J.C. Ryle knew of these crowns and feared that many Christians wanted the glorious reward but without diligence in the means of grace. He feared that many wanted a payday without work, a plentiful harvest without hard labor, a victory parade without a battle. Hence, he warned, “Many, I fear, would like glory, who have no wish for grace. They would fain have the wages, but not the work; the harvest, but not the labor; the reaping, but not the sowing; the reward, but not the battle.”

Yet in the Christian life, as in every other area, the rewards are not dispensed indiscriminately, but are recognitions of effort, of diligence, of achievement.


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