Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #65
Posted: November 4, 2005

IN CHRIST
A Study of Positional Truths

Let us 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, Brethren, I 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.”

As we 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.

Paul 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’

Paul 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. 

This ‘counting’, ‘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 Him.

 

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