Posted: November 4, 2005
A Study of Positional Truths
look at another of the precious IN CHRIST phrases in the writings of
Paul. This one is found in Philippians 3:13-16 which says,
count not my self 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. Let us therefore, as many as be
perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God
shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already
attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”
step into this great text we are confronted with the title of those to
whom Paul was writing. He addressed them as ‘brethren’ (Vs.
13). The word means those of the same womb. It is not those of the
same Mother but to those with the same eternal Father. The Bible
addresses its contents to those who are walking in the light not to
those who are walking in the dark.
uses the phrase ‘count not’ in verse 10. The phrase means to
look back upon the process of a situation and calmly draw a conclusion.
Paul is concluding from the apprehending work that Christ has
apprehended him for. The word ‘apprehend’ means to overtake one
for a purpose. The purpose for which Paul has been apprehended is
mentioned in Galatians 1:15-16A which says, “But when it pleased God,
who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace; to
reveal his son in me…” The Lord laid hold to Paul and birthed
Christ in him. In Philippians 1:20 we find a furthering work in Paul’s
life when he said, “…so now also Christ shall be magnified in my
body, whether it be by life or by death.” The word ‘magnified’
does not mean to make the little big, but that which is far away to be
brought up close and made clear. Paul’s desire in the apprehending work
of God is to come to complete and full Christ likeness. Having come to
this conclusion Paul says, ‘…but this one thing I do…’ Paul is
joining a very select group of people in the ‘One Thing’ club. David
joined in Psalm 27:4 when he said, ‘that his one thing of desire was
to dwell in the house of the Lord forever and behold the beauty of His
Holiness’. Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, joined in Luke
10 when her one thing of desire was to ‘sit at Jesus’ feet and be
taught His word’.
said the one thing he desired is to ‘forget the things which are
behind’. The word ‘forget’ is a very strong word, which
means to completely forget. It is the term of a racer who forgets those
who are running behind him and looks only to the finish line. The
things he desires to forget are the religious things he depended upon in
Chapter 3, verses 5-6 to find favor with God.
‘forgetting’, and ‘apprehending’ work has caused Paul to
take on the likeness of a runner. He says he is ‘reaching forth’.
The term ‘reaching’ means the eye sees the goal and causes the
hands and feet to stretch out in earnest for that goal. Paul tells us
he is ‘pressing’ toward the goal. The word ‘press’ means
to pursue or pant after. He tells us he is pressing toward a ‘mark’.
The word ‘mark’ is used to describe the bull’s eye of a target.
Paul says ‘he is pressing toward this mark’. The word ‘toward’
means to bear down upon with all the might. The mark he presses toward
is entitled ‘the high calling of God in Christ Jesus’. This is a
divine call to the redeemed to be like Christ. Paul desires to be like
Christ in every area of his life.
In verses 15-16 Paul tells us the ‘secret’ of arriving at this
mark in the race. In verse 15 Paul speaks of being ‘perfect’ but
in verse 12 he says ‘he is not yet perfect’. Is there a
contradiction? No. Paul speaks in verse 15 of his perfect position IN
CHRIST. In verse 12 he speaks of his practice, which has much room for
growth and maturity. To become like Christ we must let our eternal
position of perfect holiness overtake our earthly practice. When the
pull from our eternal position overtakes our daily practice they shall
become one. Let us walk on until that day when we see Him face to face
and be reminded of John’s words when he said, “Beloved, now are we
the sons of God and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know
that, when He shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see Him
as He is.” Have you felt a pull from your position on your practice
lately? The overtaking work may soon be completed and we shall be like