The Gift, The Hope and The Prize

Posted in: 2007
By Tom L. Ballinger
Mar 8, 2008 - 5:14:58 PM

May 8, 2007



There has ever been a constant battle between two opposing forces; the one contending for the TRUTH and the other, for the LIE. We learn from 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 that the Truth is “hid” from the unbeliever by the father of the Lie (John. 8:44), and he is ever confusing the unbeliever with “modern thought” and the social issues of the day. The Lie deals with “doing good;” the Truth deals with believing there is none that is good but ONE; that is God (Matt. 19:17). The mind is the target and battleground of the forces working under the leadership of the “god of this world.” These spiritual forces “blind the minds” of them that “believe not.” While men are unsaved, they remain in the camp of Satan; believing the Lie and the “father of it.” They are bound by the Lie which seems to be truth to them. They are under the power and authority of Satan and his evil, supernatural forces. The unbeliever is in “darkness,” bound and fettered by Satan (Acts 26:18), “lest the light of the Glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:4). Those that are blinded and remain in darkness “received not the love of the TRUTH, that they might be saved …” so God has allowed them to believe the Lie (2 Thess. 2:10-11).

The Lord Jesus Christ stated that He is "THE TRUTH" (John. 14:6), and therefore; TRUTH is unknown apart from Him. The battle waged between these two opposing forces; THE TRUTH and the LIE; between Jesus Christ and Satan, is carried on in the hearts and minds of men. The initial issue is ETERNAL LIFE. Those who believe received the love of the TRUTH, and those that believe not “received NOT the love of the TRUTH.” When the ungodly come to the knowledge of the TRUTH (The Lord Jesus Christ) and are saved and receive “the gift of God (which) is eternal life” (Rom. 6:23), this battle between the TRUTH and the LIE is not over. The ISSUES simply change. The issue of the conflict is not that of eternal life, as it was, but the issue proceeds on to another level.


The believer now moves into the wrestling arena, contending with evil, supernatural forces which are arrayed against him. The contest is still between the two opposing forces, THE TRUTH and the LIE. This time; however, the adversary’s attack is designed to keep the believer from understanding “what is the HOPE of His calling” (Eph. 1:18). Thereby, the believer can never “walk worthy” of his calling (Eph. 4:1) since he has not had the “eyes of (his) understanding enlightened” (Eph. 1:18). The purpose of Satan would be to confuse the saint so he does not fully realize his position in Christ. He would have the saint misunderstand PRESENT TRUTH regarding the fact that the members of the Church, which is His Body (Eph. 1:22-23) have a fixed inheritance that can neither be won, nor lost. This fixed inheritance is related to our position in Christ and is unalterable. It is entirely of Grace. It has nothing to do with merit, or works, but rather, with grace and relationship. This fixed inheritance finds its basis on the finished and completed work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

All members of the Church, which is His Body are predestinated to obtain an “inheritance” (Eph.1:11), and no condition is attached to it. Our glorious position in Christ, as members of His Body, is a result of Him making “us ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED” (Eph.1:6). Our acceptance “in the Beloved” is entirely of grace; absolutely, no merit on our part is attached to this. The adversary would have the believer striving to make himself accepted. The LIE would have the saint believe “carnal ordinances” (Heb. 9:10) are essential to “holy” living.

The LIAR would have the believer become occupied with his salvation, his holiness, his witness, his testimony, his “gifts,” or his unworthiness, or his worthlessness, or his sins, or his failures; anything to keep him occupied with himself instead of what Christ Jesus has already accomplished on behalf of the believer.

When a believer goes and grows “from faith to faith” (Rom. 1:17), he “sees what is the fellowship of the Mystery” (Eph. 3:9) and begins to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge (Eph. 3:18-19). Of course, the Devil and his minions would have the believer “do service unto them which by nature are no gods” (Gal. 4:8), or he would have a believer turn, again, “to the weak and beggarly elements” (Gal. 4:9). He would have us “observe days, and months, and times, and years” (Gal. 4:10), or be concerned with what we eat or drink, or holydays we observe, or new moons, or sabbath days (Col. 2:16).

The mind of the believer is attacked since it is subject to reasonings (2 Cor. 10:5) and “vanity” (Rom. 8:20), and “every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God" (2 Cor. 10:5). The Devil clouds the issues so the saved never understand God’s PRESENT PURPOSE.

In order to understand God's present purpose, “right division” of the word of Truth (2 Tim. 2:17) is essential. Rightly dividing the word of Truth is slanderously called names such as: “hard-core-dispensationalism,” “the extreme view,” “Bullingerism,” “Sellersism,” and etc. This is a tried and proven technique of the Devil. The name-calling technique has frightened many Christians from seeing “what is the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe” (Eph. 1:18-19). It has frightened many from acknowledging the “testimony of our Lord” and the testimony of the Lord's prisoner (2 Tim. 1:8).

The mass of Christians, unfortunately, have never come to the knowledge of God's Secret Purpose that He purposed in Christ Jesus BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN (2 Tim. 1:9). A knowledge of this “Mystery” (Eph. 3:3) leads to maturity of the believer and, consequently, “unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). A knowledge of this breaks the believer loose from the tradition of the “elders” and the “doctrines of men” that make the “word of God of none effect” (Mark 7:13).

The believer who is concerned with the TRUTH and desires to move on “from faith to faith” (Rom. 1:17), and go from the ABC's of salvation on “to perfection” (Heb. 6:1), finds himself engaged in a tremendous, spiritual warfare.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12).

This warfare is conducted against those who would know TRUTH FOR TODAY. That is, TRUTH for the PRESENT DISPENSATION, as found in a “form of sound words, which thou hast heard OF ME (Paul, the prisoner)” (2 Tim. 1:13). But, when the believer recognizes WHAT IS THE HOPE OF HIS CALLING (Eph. 1:18), the battle between the TRUTH and the LIE continues; the issue changes.


The issue is no longer that of the believer’s position in Christ which is fixed. The issue changes from that of the believer seeing that he stands “complete in Him [Christ]” (Col. 2:10), having been made “meet” to be “partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col. 1:12), to that of something to be GAINED, or LOST. A member of the Church cannot make his place more secure since his security rests in the finished work of Christ; he cannot make the attainment of the “Blessed Hope” (Titus 2:13) more sure. Membership and Hope, alike, are ours completely, fully, and irrevocably in Christ. What the Devil would do is to obscure the fact that there is something to be obtained. There is something to be won, or lost.

The revelation of the Mystery is not just simply grace, and grace alone. For this dispensation, as all others, knows nothing of privilege without responsibility. Truth in the “form of sound words” is balanced Truth. In PLAINER WORDS, Truth is presented, or expressed, in two sides of the Christian life. Notice:

POSITION                    STATE
Salvation                     Service
Free gift                      Reward
Not of works                Unto good works
If we be dead with       If we suffer
Him we shall also         We shall
Live with Him              Reign with Him

The position of the believer in the Church, which is His Body, is fixed and unchangeable. Positional truth has to do with an inheritance that is predestinated. The Devil does not waste his energy in attempting to deprive us of our inheritance “in the Beloved,” but rather, he attacks that which can be GAINED. As in other “callings,” there is a prize to be won, a crown to be gained, but no man is crowned except he strive lawfully. If Satan can turn the saint aside, or away, from the “fullness” of Christ, he has opened the door. Then, he can get the saint occupied with other things. Busy with things, such as, “election,” “predestination,” “ordinances,” “false humility,” or the “neglect of the body.” Or, having the saint become distracted with unscriptural mediators, thus, losing his connection with his Source of spiritual life [to wit, the Person of Christ] (Col. 2:19). Thus, the PRIZE will be DENIED, the saint will stand ashamed, and above all, the Lord Jesus Christ will be robbed, for what is a crown to us is but an added one to Him.
Very little is said, today, concerning the REWARD which is attached to the inheritance. When have you last heard, or read, about a PRIZE or a CROWN? In the high-calling of the Church, which is His Body, there is a ─ Race to Run─ a PRIZE to WIN; a REWARD to EARN; a CROWN to GAIN.
“I press toward the mark for THE PRIZE of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).

”Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive THE REWARD of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:24).

“And if a man also strive for masteries, yet he is not CROWNED, except he strive lawfully. . . If we SUFFER, we shall also REIGN with Him:” (2 Tim. 2:5, 12).

It is here that the issue gets real rough for the saint who has moved “from faith to faith.” It is here that the “warfare” between evil principalities and powers mount their attack. They desire to deprive the saint, not of the “Hope of his calling,” but of the “Prize of his calling.” The Prize that would be presented, the Crown that would be worn, and the Reward that would be awarded “at that day” by “the Lord, the Righteous Judge” (2 Tim.4:8). For there will be a place of reward and forfeiture; it is there that Paul has reference to, in Colossians 3:25, when he speaks of those that shall receive “for the wrong which he hath done.” In Colossians, Paul uses words like “Beware” (2:8), or, “Let no man BEGUILE you of your REWARD” (2:18), clearly indicating that the REWARD can be forfeited. Satan would have us believe that we all will receive rewards. The word of God is contrary to this line of thought. We are told that all may run in the race, but all do not win the prize; so the exhortation, “So run that ye may OBTAIN” (1 Cor. 9:24-10:13).

These extras are to be obtained, and they are connected with striving, suffering, and death. In order to REIGN with Christ, we must suffer with Him in order to receive the PRIZE. Paul exhorted his son in the faith, Timothy, to be a partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God (2 Tim. 1:8), knowing that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the GLORY that shall be revealed in Him at “that day” (2 Tim. 4:8). Paul would have us to be as Moses, “esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the RECOMPENSE of the REWARD (Heb.11:26). We should have respect to the REWARD, or the PRIZE of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus and count them as greater riches than the riches of this world and its applause.

The LIE would have us value the riches and respect of this world more than the value of that which is unseen, BUT ETERNAL (2 Cor. 4:18).
Tom L. Ballinger