Ye did run well; who hath hindered you that you should not obey the truth?” Galatians 5:7
Paul here first remembers the first state of this church when he preached to them the gospel of God’s free grace in Christ and reminds them that they “did run well.” Paul often uses the analogy of running a race to describe the believer’s Christian life. All who are believers in Jesus Christ are running a race, and if we desire to “run well” and not be hindered, we must keep in view three things about this race:
1. The course Every race has a defined or marked course so that the runners are not impeded on their way. The believer’s course is also marked with a clear path, and that is the course of faith. All believers begin this race in the same way, and that is by the narrow gate of faith. (Matt 7:13, Romans 1:17) How we began to run this race is also how we continue to run this race, by faith in Jesus Christ alone. To look to another means of running this race is to be hindered as these Galatians were by looking to law and faith for justification. Therefore, lay aside every weight and care of this life if it is contrary to faith in Christ. (Heb 12:1)
2. The condition of the runner: For a runner to be successful, he must be conditioned to endure the race. So, we as believers, in order for us to stay the course that is set before us; we must have the strength to endure by faith to the end. (Matt 24:13) This strength to run by faith does not come from faith, but rather the object of our faith Jesus Christ. Then “Let us to run the race that is set before us. We do this by “looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” (Heb 12:2) He is the source of our faith and the sustainer of our faith. The moment we look to our faith, or anything we have done, or are doing as evidence of our staying the course; then we become hindered. So, believer let us look to Jesus and we will “run and not be weary.”
3. The prize Every race has a prize for the winner, but all earthly prizes are corruptible. But the prize of the Christian race is one that is incorruptible. (1 Cor. 9:4-26) It is because our prize is “reserved in heaven and fades not away, we may run with confidence for Christ has accomplished all that is necessary for us to win. So we that believe count all things but dung that we way win Christ and be found not in our righteousness, but in His righteousness. We run to know Him as we are known. We run that we might take part in his resurrection. (Phil 3:8-11)
The race of the lost is to obtain the perishing things of this life, but we run by faith, looking to Christ and His redemption, to obtain the prize which will never fade away. Let us therefore run well and not be hindered.