however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.Philippians 3:16(NASB)
Paul was an example of a mature man of God who was prepared to consider the privileges of this world as insignificant and inconsequential, by comparison with the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus as his Lord. He was prepared to suffer the loss of all things, and regard everything that the world holds dear, as rubbish - in order to gain the closest, possible communion with his God and Saviour.
Paul was acutely aware that nothing in this world can endear us to God. There is nothing we can do that can earn our salvation or trigger His approval, other than being covered by the blood of the Lamb and clothed in the righteousness of Christ - which can only be ours by God's grace through faith in Christ.
But his urgent message to the Christians in Philippi, was to press on to the end for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. He knew that our new life in Christ is the one and only thing for which we should constantly strive, in this sin-sick, fallen world - which, for the time being, is lying in the arms of Satan. Paul also knew how easy it is to stray from the path of righteousness and fall from the godly standard to which we attained.
Perhaps, because of his spiritual maturity, Paul had been able to recognise the deep, spiritual poverty that had hindered his own life journey. He knew the necessity of maintaining godly standards of living. He understood the utter hopelessness of life outside of Christ and throughout all his epistles we see Paul urging all God's children to live a godly life and to strive to keep on living according to the Christian principles and practices already attained. Paul wanted to stress the importance of righteousness and warn of the dangers of regressing into spiritual infancy.
He knew that there is much in this fallen world that can tempt us to sin or allow our devotion to wane. But he also warned that self-confidence and religious legalism can cause our Christian walk to falter. And so he urged us to maintain utter devotion and a willingness to suffer and die for His name's sake. He also warned us never to forget that the trinkets and treasures of this life are as nothing by comparison with the immensity of what Christ has done for us.
There is nothing that can compare with our justification, the forgiveness of sin, eternal life, and our home in heaven. It is only by grace through faith that we are being conformed into the likeness of God's beloved Son... and by His grace, we have been promised an immortal body and innumerable, additional spiritual blessings by simply trusting Him for our salvation - by believing in the sacrificial death, burial, and Resurrection of Christ.
Paul knew that there was nothing we could do to save ourselves, keep ourselves saved or do anything to endear us to God.. but he does encourage us to be faithful to our calling, by saying: "Let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained." Having been positioned in Christ and identified with His own righteousness, we should live in a manner that honours that privileged position we have reached.
God is just, and He rewards the faithful saint. He honours the one who honours Him. He acknowledges the person who puts Christ at the centre of their life and is prepared to give up all.. for the excellency of knowing Him. Whether in the kitchen or at the workbench, teaching in a school, caring for the sick, digging an allotment, typing on a computer, playing a guitar, or the sitting in a boardroom - we are all exhorted to maintain a heavenly perspective and walk in spirit and truth, as exemplified by the apostle Paul.
Let us, therefore, keep living by that same standard to which we have attained, and press on to the finishing line, for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus - for His name's sake and for His greater glory.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the godly example of the apostle Paul. I pray that I too may live my life to the standard of holiness to which I have attained, in Christ. But more than that I thank You for Jesus, and for sending Him to be my sacrifice for sin. Lord, I want to offer my life as a living sacrifice that is honouring to Your name. Help me to live... and if necessary to die to Your praise and glory. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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