What must all Christians do? Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Professor Thomas Schreiner bases his answer on the first admonitions given to new Christians in the New Testament Epistles: persevere in the faith. Without losing any depth or urgency, Run To Win The Prize manages to put this profound doctrine into simple, layman-understandable language. Wanting his reader’s to clearly understand where he stands on this doctrine, Schreiner gives this Scripture-based explanation:
Believers are not exhorted to trust in themselves or to continue in the faith by virtue of their own efforts. They are to continue the Christian life in the same manner they began it: by the faith given to them by God’s grace. . . . the perseverance called for here should not be understood as works-righteousness . . . . it is nothing other than a continual reliance upon the Grace of God” (pg. 17).
Knowing that we are mortal and fallible, Schreiner uses each chapter to make further clarification: keys to understanding these Scripture warnings; not confusing perseverance with perfection or works-righteousness; and, standing firm in faith and assurance but heeding the Bible’s counsels. A fitting closure, tying up loose ends and firmly nailing down the ideas contained in this book, the Epilogue closes with an important statement, “Perseverance, then, does not lead to pride but to humility, for it is nothing other than clinging to Christ and his righteousness” (pg. 114). As if that weren’t enough, Schreiner then goes on to provide an appendix: A Meditation On Galatians 5:2-6 (righteous by faith alone).
Run To Win The Prize is on the same subject as Schriener’s earlier volume, a more thorough examination of this doctrine, The Race Set Before Us: A Biblical Theology of Perseverance and Assurance (IVP, 2001). Happily for those of us who are not scholars but want desperately to learn ever more about Biblical doctrine, Schreiner decided to write an “accessible to all” (pg. 11) book on the same subject. This book achieves his accessibility aim. It will be appreciated by many: new and more mature lay Christians; busy pastors; teachers; and students. Don’t expect to get through it in one sitting. While simply presented, it is jam-packed with information, requires a Bible for referencing, and presents spiritual challenges at every turn of a page. – Donna Eggett, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
This important work on the doctrine of perseverance examines Scripture's warnings and exhortations and their purpose in salvation.
Scripture's commands to persevere, and warnings of the consequences if we fail, have been met with apathy by some, and led others to doubt the state of their salvation. The fearful and eternal nature of these issues warrants careful examination of what the Bible says about perseverance. Thomas Schreiner once again tackles this difficult topic in Run to Win the Prize. Clarifying misunderstandings stemming from his more detailed treatment in The Race Set Before Us (IVP 2001), Schreiner draws together an illuminating overview of biblical teaching on the doctrine of perseverance.
Schreiner details how God directs the collective warnings and exhortations of Scripture toward believers as a means of preservation. We are to think of the call to persevere in light of the initial call to faith, both agents by which God leads us to final salvation. Those looking for a general treatment of the doctrine of perseverance will profit from the challenges and assurances in Run to Win the Prize.