Scripture: Philippians 3:12-16
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.
Paul, formerly Saul, wrote the letter to the Philippians after he learned that some among them required that followers of Christ be circumcised in order to be saved. Paul explains to the Philippians that if anyone was made Holy through adherence to the law, it was he. He was a Pharisee with all the proper credentials and a life lived zealously for the Law as set forth in the Old Testament.
When Paul was confronted by the resurrected Jesus on the Road to Damascus, he had just condoned the stoning of Steven and was on his way to purge other Christians from the land. However, after this supernatural experience, Paul’s life was changed forever based solely on the grace of God and Paul’s faith in Jesus. See Acts 9.
And so he writes to these people warning them to forget the past – forget the old way – forget the requirements that determined status – forget the requirements that implied being saved based on human effort – forget what was in the past and press forward to grasp the prize of eternal life with Christ . . .
That is where we should be in this moment. Focused on what is before us (eternity with Christ) not on who we once were. The New Way is by God’s grace alone – no other requirements except faith in Jesus. Let the human requirements of religion fall away and focus on faith. Seek Jesus in faith.
My prayer for us this week is that we set the past behind us and recognize that we are not saved by human hands based on human traditions or requirements but by the grace of God alone through belief in His Son, Jesus Christ.