Saturday, January 26, 2013

Gaining the Prize

A study of Philippians 3:12-16 teaches us that sanctification is both an instantaneous and a progressive work of God’s grace.  Paul recognized that Christians think differently about spiritual issues, because of their level of maturity or immaturity.  He reminded us that no matter how long we are on this earthly journey, we will never reach total maturity, but we are challenged to “stay on the battlefield” until we meet Jesus Christ face-to-face.  Therefore, he teaches the Philippians and us what it means to be a follower of Christ.

Paul’s flashback of his conversion experience on the road to Damascus sees paradoxes in the Christian life.  On one hand, he had already attained salvation through faith, yet at the same time he was far from perfect/completeness. On that day he became a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17) and after years of teaching, preaching and working (Galatians 1:11-24); and the punishment he withstood (2 Corinthians 11:23-33); he still had not fully attained the height of spiritual growth that comes from God through faith in Jesus Christ.  Paul wanted to live a life worthy of that calling.

Paul addresses the Philippians as brothers to identifies himself as one who shares the journey of faith with them, not just as their apostolic father and leader (Philippians 3:13).  He shares with them his inability to grasp the full purpose as to why Christ Jesus took hold of his life.  However, his plan is to forget the things of the past and to keep pressing toward the prize.  Paul was chosen by Christ to be the apostle of the Gentiles (Acts 9:15; 22:21; Galatians 1:16, 2:7; Ephesians 3:8).  And, he was determined not to allow the things of the past to control his actions (attitude and conduct). With Christ Jesus every day (every moment) is a new opportunity to start over with a clean slate.  

Paul wanted the people to have the mind of Christ.   He knew there would be differences even among the mature Christians.  However, an agreement could be attained if they were open to the revelation of the Holy Spirit (Philippians 3:15). 

Have you put the things of the past out of your mine and are you focus on seeing Jesus face-to-face?

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