You did run well; who did hinder you that you should not obey the truth?
I. PAST ATTAINMENTS DO NOT DISPENSE WITH THE NECESSITY OF PRESENT PROGRESS. "Ye did run well." So far, so good. That was a matter el thankfulness. But it would count for nothing sgainst the unworthiness of a slackened pace. Old laurels wither. Every day has its new duties. We must not waste to-day in congratulating ourselves on the success of yesterday. The tide is against us; to rest on the oars is to be swept back. No nation can prosper on its past history if the spirit of heroism has forsaken its citizens. As Christians, we never reach the goal till we have crossed the river of death. Till then we must be ever "pressing on and bearing up," or we shall assuredly make shipwreck even after earnestly running over the longest, steepest, roughest course.
II. PAST ATTAINMENTS CONDEMN US FOR NEGLECTING PRESENT PROGRESS. We are judged by our own past selves. Our history is witness against us. The past proves that we could run well. It shows that we admitted the obligation to do so. Those who have never known Christ may plead ignorance. But they who have tasted of his grace and experienced the blessings of it and used it for some work in the Christian life, are without excuse if they turn aside at last.
III. PAST ATTAINMENTS MAKE THE NEGLECT OF PRESENT PROGRESS PECULIARLY SAD. It is melancholy to see a life rendered abortive from the first, but it is much more mournful to witness the failure of a life that began in promise and made good way towards success. All the hopes and toils and sacrifices of the past are wasted. How painful to be so near the goal and yet to give up the race; to sink within sight of the haven! Such a broken life, like a day opening in a cheerful dawn and passing through a bright noon to a dark and stormy night, is of all lives most deplorable. "Ye did run well; who did binder you" - what pathos there is in these words! Christ weft over Jerusalem sadder tears than the ruin of Sodom could call forth.
IV. WE MUST BEWARE OF THE DANGER OF NEGLECTING PRESENT PROGRESS AFTER SUCCEEDING WITH PAST ATTAINMENTS. "Who did hinder you?" There must have been new hindrances and possibly surprises and unexpected checks.
1. We must not rest satisfied with the establishment of good habits. Habits may be broken.
2. We must be prepared for new difficulties. The way that is now so smooth may become suddenly rough and stony.
"We know the anxious strife, the eternal laws,
To which the triumph of all good is given -
High sacrifice, and labour without pause,
Even to the death; else wherefore should the eye
Of man converse with immortality?" But let us not forget that if some may hinder us there is One more mighty than all to help us. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?