Pressing Ahead #2

In my previous post,

https://wordpress.com/post/wordsofencouragementinchrist.com/1217

I encouraged you to press ahead in walking with God. This article will focus on what it means to “know”, “gain” Christ as citizens of His Kingdom. All scripture passages are from the New King James Version online at bible.hub.com

1. To Know Christ is to press ahead in your journey with Him

Knowing Christ is the most important thing we can possibly obtain in our life! Paul uses the Greek word gnosis to explain what knowing Christ means. This term relates to applied knowledge that comes about through a relationship. The same word is used to describe how a husband and wife “know” each other. This isn’t just a body of information, understanding, or theory. It’s knowledge that comes through shared experiences in an intimate relationship. This knowledge comes from close, daily contact and love!

Paul means that he is in a relationship with Christ. Everyone who accepts God’s grace and enters into a “saving” relationship has the same potential. Paul warns in the preceding verses that “false circumcision” is a human way of trying to please God. Paul wants the Philippians (and us) to understand that we are made righteous through faith in Christ. Man made rules and religions can’t save us!

2. To Know Christ is to have faith and depend on His grace

Ephesians 2:8-10

8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

We are saved by grace through faith, not by anything we do! Grace is a gift from God! He created us to do good things. We are saved, and renewed to “walk in them.” God is active and present in His people! The Redeemed are different from the worldly lost!

Paul had it made as a trained Pharisee. He had prestige, power, and respect from the important religious leaders of his day. Yet, when Jesus came to him on the road to Damascus; Paul was forever changed! Later in Acts we see that Paul experiences great trials and sufferings as he works fervently to advance the Gospel.

God comforts Paul with His presence (Acts 27 is a great example). Paul endures the difficulties of serving God because He values “knowing” and “gaining” Christ more than an easy, prosperous life as a pharisee. Are you seeking to know Christ? What holds you back in knowing and obeying Him?

3. To Gain Christ is to forsake all lesser pursuits

8Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Paul uses the word kerdaino which means properly to “profit, exchanging, trading one good thing for another.” According to Strong’s Greek dictionary, this is an ancient mercantile term used to describe when a person trades in something (mediocre/good) for a more valuable object. We would say in modern English that “we are trading up.” Paul gives up his self-righteousness, dependence on his Hebrew heritage to be made right with God through faith.

What are you depending on in your life? What are you seeking in life? It’s the power of Christ’s resurrection and our future transformation in Him that makes the journey of faith worthwhile. All else is vain. The earth and all the things around us will pass away, but God and His Kingdom will endure forever.

4. Remember your true citizenship

In the Roman world, being a Roman citizen was highly prized. Being a citizen gave many benefits. People would pay large amounts of money to become Roman citizens. Paul reminds us that we are citizens of heaven. We have a Risen Savior who will return in glory “21who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”

We will be made like Christ in our resurrected, perfected glorious bodies. This is the hope that can sustain us in our difficult moments. We can rest in God’s Truths knowing that what we face today is just temporary in nature and that we have all eternity to enjoy God’s presence!

Just as athletes train their bodies for competition, so we should train ourselves for this race of faith. Paul encourages us to keep pressing ahead, not focusing on what’s behind. Runners are looking forward as they race ahead. Looking back is a great way to trip yourself up.

May God strengthen and encourage you as you seek to live for His glory and through His grace!

Published by leestanfill@yahoo.com

Just a pilgrim walking each day with Jesus and hoping to encourage others along the path.

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