The Olympic Games is probably the world’s major international event of summer and winter sports, when thousands of athletes from more than two hundred countries, compete in various activities. The person who is considered to be the main driving force of the modern Olympic Games was the Frenchman Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin (1.1.1863 – 2.9.1937). Coubertin contributed much to forming the International Olympics Committee (IOC) in 1894 and became its second President from 1896–1924. The first modern Olympic Games was held, during 1896, in Athens and the second, during 1900, in Paris.
Coubertin had some sports ideals. For the Olympics he valued amateur rather than professional athletes. He also thought that the athletic competition encouraged understanding across cultures and so lessened the possibility of war. Coubertin further saw the Olympics as fulfilling his spoken ideal: “The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle, the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.” But how much have these ideals worked?
The IOC has had to change its views over time as can be seen with the current participation of professional athletes. However God has not changed and neither has His offer of free salvation. He says in the Bible, “For I am the LORD, I change not,” (Malachi chapter (c) 3 verse (v) 6).
Has athletic competition encouraged understanding across cultures and so lessened the possibility of war? The only years when the Olympics were cancelled were in 1916, 1940 and 1944 due to the world wars. We might reasonably conclude then that the Olympics have done little to restrict war but why is this? The heart of the world’s problems is the problem of the human heart and while athletic competition does not change the heart for the better … God can. God’s diagnosis is, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah c17v9). However when speaking to those who had become Christians, 1 John c3v7 says, “Let no man deceive you: he that does righteousness (right things) is righteous, even as He (Jesus Christ) is righteous.” So people trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour will have a heart change and know His help in life.
“The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.” While that is a good ideal for this life, there is a better one for the life that is to come. God also says in Romans c3v22b-23, “There is no difference; for all have sinned and come short of the glory (or character/standards) of God”. So “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah c64v6) and therefore we are unacceptable in God’s sight. However 1 Corinthians c15v57 says, “But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans c6v23 further says “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” So the victory over death and the receiving of eternal life does not come from struggling and fighting well but by believing in, that is completely relying on, another and totally reliable person, the Lord Jesus Christ Who completely triumphed over sin. “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians c15v3-4). “Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just (Jesus Christ) for the unjust (us), that He might bring us to God.” (1 Peter c3v18). So by trusting in Christ we can have all our sins forgiven by God, be given the power to forgive others, and receive eternal life and so be sure of being in heaven.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.” (Acts c16v31)