While I believe that I need to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling (Php. 2:12), I also believe that it is God who has begun a good work in me and that He will complete it. While I believe that I need to make every effort to add to my faith things pertaining to holiness and godliness (2Peter 1:5), I also believe that I can rest in the finished work of Christ and that, I am already complete in Him (Col. 2:10 NKJV). Such, I believe is the essence of the work of sanctification. What He has declared me to be positionally in Christ, that is, holy and set apart, I am to work at being practically, through the power and transforming agency of His Holy Spirit.
His finished work . . . our work in progress. Two dynamics at play in the Christian life.
And for this reason, as I read this morning, Paul would determine to “press on to make it my own” . . . he would forget what lied behind him and strain forward to what lied ahead . . . he would “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”. He was, as they say, in it to win it. Though the battle had already been fought and the victory already won, he was determined to make it his own “because Christ has made me His own” (Php. 3:12-14).
And I think about what it means for me . . . and the huge responsibility that’s mine to run the race and navigate towards the prize. What if I get it wrong? What if I miss something? What if I don’t quite “rightly divide the Word” in some matter? In Paul’s encouragement this morning, I’m also reminded that God has my back . . .
Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. (Philippians 3:15-16 ESV)
God, through Paul, makes it clear that running the race of faith isn’t just for some, but for all “who are mature.” It’s just right thinking for those born again . . . for those adopted into the family . . . for those brought into the kingdom. But, says Paul, if someone doesn’t quite get it, God will reveal that too. The implication being that in revealing the immature thinking, He will also correct “less than best” thinking. That, having given us the mind of Christ through the Spirit of God, He will bring that mind to bear.
I don’t need to fret about having it all figured out perfectly, because, if I’m sincere about seeking the things of the kingdom, God has my back . . . and my mind . . .
Jesus said that for those who ask, they will receive . . . that for those who seek, they will find . . . that for those who knock, the door will be open. So, for those who desire to work our their salvation, those who are sincere about adding to their faith, God will work our transformation by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2) . . . He will lead us into truth . . . He will reveal right thinking to us.
Mine is to seek . . . by faithfully reading, studying, and meditating on His Word. Mine is to ask . . . prayerfully submitting myself to the illumination and revelation of the Holy Spirit. Mine is to knock . . . believing that God desires to open the portals of heaven itself to His children. And mine is to lean in to the goal . . . to press on for the prize . . . to make it my own . . . to know, experimentally, the fullness of this new life I have in Christ
And I do it by His grace . . . and I do it for His glory.