June 13, 2019 by directorfsm
Reaching Forward to God’s Goal
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Philippians 3:12-16 (ESV)
Paul begins Chapter 3 of Philippians reminding them to rejoice in the Lord, beware of evil workers and to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. Then we find the above, Paul humbly admits that even he has not obtained that which he seeks and it is an ongoing process (Sanctification).
The key verse in this section, for me at least is verse 13, Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. Paul is seeking perfection, that is spiritual maturity, not earthly faultlessness as only Christ had. He uses what many consider a race analogy in verse 14; I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
I am not so fast to dismiss this as just an analogy. I for one hold that the bible is inerrant (without any errors) inspired (God wrote it using man) and therefore we need to not add or take away from it original meaning. Paul has made very clear and no one seems to dispute the goal is in fact “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection” (v.10). Also not in controversy is the fact that prizes or rewards are biblical (Matthew 5:12; Luke 6:23, 35; 1 Corinthians 3:14; 9:18) especially those promise the faithful in heaven. Can you think of a great prize this side of heaven than spiritual maturity in our Lord and Savior? Paul says no, and in our main verse he makes it clear no one looking back, sitting on the sidelines, waiting to be told what to do will ever obtain it.
One of my favorite authors, preachers, men of the past century Dr. Martian Lloyd Jones has a quote that is think is appropriate to this:
I have always found it depressing to listen to the kind of people who, whenever you meet them, will always for sure tell you the story of their conversion many years ago. They tell you that story every time. I have known people do exactly the same thing with revival. There is always something about an initial experience that is remarkable and outstanding. And a time of revival is so amazing and wonderful that it is not surprising that people go on talking about it. But, if they give the impression that they have had nothing since that wonderful experience, that ever after they have been walking through a wilderness, and travelling through a desert, then it is absolutely wrong. Their idea of the Christian life is of a dramatic experience, perhaps at the outset, after which they just trudge along, living on the strength of that and partly keeping their eye turned backwards as they go forward.