Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 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 for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:8-14
As I read through the above text today, I saw a breakout to the text which I hadn't seen before. I am sharing it below, not to redefine how you see the text, but to outline what I saw in case it benefits your own studies.
There seemed to be a relationship to the words that I hadn't previously noticed. Paul expresses several goals in this text, as well as what is needed to reach each goal. His goals are to:
|Suffer the loss of all things by counting them all as loss and considering them all as dung in exchange for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus.|
Be Found in Christ
|Made right with God and being imparted His righteousness through faith in Christ, not pursuing my own righteousness (self-righteousness) by attempting to follow the law (or any other self-effort).|
|Experience the power of His resurrection, share in His sufferings, and be made conformable to Christ's death.|
Attain the Resurrection of the Dead
|All of the above: win Christ, be found in Christ, and know Christ.|
Knowing Christ is not the same thing as knowing about Christ. Paul equates knowing God with knowing His resurrection power (Greek word dynamis), which means:
strength power, ability;There is a power associated with knowing Jesus Christ which comes through resurrection life, (Mark 16:17-18). Yet this power of resurrection life is only made possible by sharing in Jesus' sufferings and death (Romans 6:4-6; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 2:11-14).
- inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth
- power for performing miracles
- moral power and excellence of soul
- the power and influence which belong to riches and wealth
- power and resources arising from numbers
- power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts
In reaching all of these goals, Paul knows that he will attain to the resurrection of the dead. YET, he doesn't put forth that he has already attained this or even was already perfect, but he follows after the goal. What goal? The goal of being perfected.
Then Paul makes an amazing statement. He wants to apprehend or lay hold of that for which Jesus Christ has apprehended him! In other words, Jesus has laid hold of Paul specifically for the purpose of perfecting him...and this is also why Christ has laid hold of us. How do we obtain that purpose? We follow Paul's example: "...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 for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
This is something we have to do. We have to forget those things behind us. We have to reach toward those things before us. We have to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
There is nothing new under the sun. If my life is anything like yours, you have likely experienced all kinds of misery, pain, disappointments, and hurts in life. Perhaps as well you have some accomplishments, some triumphs, some joys, some things you have overcome. Forget all that. Reach forward to what God has before you and press in toward the mark for the prize, who is Christ. Win Christ at the expense of all.
So I just want to encourage you all to "follow after". Don't look behind, don't dwell on the past. Don't get discouraged or puffed up by those things, but keep your eye on Christ, who is faithful to complete the work He has started in you by His Spirit.