The one true gospel is the Mashiach, Yeshua of Nazareth, died for our sins according to the Old Testament, He was buried and He rose again the third day according to the Old Testament. (Luke 24, 1 Cor 15:1-6)
“Know ye not that they which run in a “race” (Greek word, stadion, Strongs 4712, literally “a distance” of 600 feet; a course of said distance.) run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that you may obtain.” (1 Cor 9:24)
“Wherefore seeing we are compassed about with such a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the “race” (Greek word, agon, Strongs 73, derived from “ago”, “to lead” or “to bring”, as in a contest that brings the people to an assembly for games, a contest, a battle or action of law.) that is set before us, looking unto Yeshua the author and the finisher of the faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand throne of God.“ (Heb 12 :1)
“Stadion” is found one time in the Greek for the NT and the LXX in 1 Cor 9:24. “Agon” is found 6 times in the NT, translated conflict 2; fight 2; contention 1, race 1. It is found two times in the LXX in a single verse, Is 7:13, literally translated from the Greek as, “Hear ye now, O house of David, is it a little thing for you to contend with me? And how do you contend against the Lord?” “Contend” as in a contest.
Of the chosen ones, the children of grace, there are some whose race is longer than others as in time, but whether long or short, all contests or struggles are according to the will of God. For some races are as Stephen, short but glorious, and some are as Peter and then Paul, longer and glorious just the same. All races are first purposed by God.
“He hath chosen us in Him before the foundations of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him in love.” (Eph 1:4)
“For the children being not yet born, neither having done any evil or good, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth.” (Rom 9:11)
And all races begin at a place and a time appointed by God. The conversion of all the children of grace are the same in the beginning. All conversions begin as God brings into completion his choice of a person, the saints of the most high God, which He made before the world began.
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the children of God, even to them who believe on His name, which were born not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a person be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Marvel not that I said you must be born from above. The wind bloweth where is desireth, and thou heareth the sound thereof, but cannot tell where it came from, and where it goes, so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.” (John 5:5-8)
Conversion by the will of God is the beginning of the race, the struggle, the conflict, the contest. For Stephen his death was only a few short years after conversion. For Peter and Paul many years, but within that first generation after the death, the burial and the resurrection the third day of the Mashiach, Yeshua, that generation that ended with the judgment of God – the not one stone left upon another stone judgment of God upon Yerushaliym. The following passage is a most important word of understanding concerning God’s eternal purpose in the Mashiach:
“But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.” (Mat 24:13)
By the grace and Spirit of God look at Yeshua the Mashiach in this verse of the understanding of God. He, Yeshua ha Mashiach, endured through the death, the burial and the resurrection the third day. The saints of God are crucified with Him, buried with Him, raised to newness of life, and partake of His tasting of death for all people. Though He died for all, not all are saved, but all shall live in the end. The saints of God who endure to the end do not die, but put off the mortal body, for to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. And as we endure, judged by the one true gospel, the words of Paul are true:
“Yes, doubtless, and I count all thing but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of the Mashiach, Yeshua my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them dung, that I may win the Mashaich, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of the Mashiach, the righteousness of God by the faith, that I might know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made comformable to His death, if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead, not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that which also I am apprehended of the Mashiach, Yeshua. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark from the prize of the high calling of God in the Mashiach, Yeshua.”(Phil 3:8-14)…”For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, raised from the dead, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover who He did predestinate, them He also called. And whom He called, who He also justified, and whom He justified, them He also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is the Mashiach that died, yes, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of the Mashiach? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor messengers, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor heights, nor depth, nor any creature, shall be able to separate is from the love of the God, which is in the Mashiach Yeshua our Lord.” (Rom 8:29-39)