Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Philippians Week 43-Pressing Onward Toward the Goal, Part 2

-“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.” (Psalm 103:1-5 ESV)

Philippians 3:13-14

-Paul, like the Old Testament prophets of old, often had to directly confront the false teachers of his day. In Philippians 3:13-14, he confronted the false doctrine of perfectionism advocated by Judaizers that had already infiltrated the early church.

Verse 13
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
1. The Consideration of Paul

-“Brothers” (ἀδελφοί) is a form of direct address, used by Paul to gain the attention of his readers and reinforce his relationship with the church at Philippi.
-Paul often used forms of direct address in order to rivet the attention of his readers to the revelation of God. (Philippians 1:12-13; Philippians 3:1)
-The strongest ties we know are the ties of blood in our family, but they often are not very strong in reality. (Proverbs 18:24; Proverbs 27:10)
-The ties of our relationship with believers in Christ are inseparably strong. (Philippians 2:25; 1 Thessalonians 2:19)
-The ties of our relationship with believers in Christ are eternally lasting. (1 Thessalonians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14)
-“I do not consider” (ἐγὼ ἐμαυτὸν οὐ λογίζομαι) refers to Paul’s refusal to credit himself with the full measure of spiritual growth and perfection.
-False doctrine leads men to believe they are perfect before a holy God. (Job 36:4; Ezekiel 27:1-2, 32)
-“that I have made it my own” (κατειληφέναι) refers to reckoning something as one’s own possession.
-Those who believe they have attained perfection are very deceived about their own righteousness. (Ezekiel 28:2; Revelation 18:7)
-Those who believe they have bettered their spiritual condition through their own strength stand upon a flimsy foundation. (1 Corinthians 10:12)
-Those who believe they have surpassed everyone else in spiritual maturity are in reality ignorant of their own spiritual condition. (Luke 18:9-14)
-Those who believe that they have the ability to perfect themselves are very imperfect. (Matthew 23:25-28)
- In Paul’s life, he credited all his hard work and personal effort to the transforming grace of God in his life. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
2. The Focus of Paul
-“But one thing” (ἓν δέ) stipulates that Paul’s mind focused exclusively on one activity in his pursuit of holiness and sanctification.
-In our Christian lives, we cannot be distracted with many things in view. (Luke 10:38-42)
-In our Christian lives, we cannot be glancing about while run straight ahead. (Deuteronomy 18:14; Proverbs 4:27)
-In our Christian lives, we need to focus all our effort and concentration on the one thing we are called to do. (Romans 13:13-14; Galatians 5:16)
-In our Christian lives, we must be of single-minded purpose with our brethren. (Philippians 1:3-4; Philippians 2:2)
-“Forgetting” (ἐπιλανθανόμενος) is a present tense verb, meaning that Paul continuously “forgot” what lay in his past.
-To “forget” in this context means to overlook something. (Deuteronomy 9:27; Isaiah 43:25)
-To “forget” in this context means to ignore past effects. (Romans 6:2; Romans 7:6)
-“what lies behind” (ὀπίσω) is referring to Paul’s view behind him.
-Paul viewed everything in Philippians 3:4-8 as loss, as rubbish, and as that which lay forever in his past.
-We need to consider everything that does not give us eternal gain as that which we do not focus on in front of us. (Matthew 6:31-33)
-In running the race, we must never look behind us, for we will stumble and fall if we do so. (Genesis 19:23-26)
-Christians cannot be apathetic in the present because of the laurels of past victories. (Psalm 60:11; Psalm 108:12)
-Christians cannot be chained by the despair of past defeats. (Galatians 2:20; Romans 8:10)
-Christ has ransomed us from the power of our past (Romans 8:1-4), protects us from the power of the present (2 Samuel 22:1-4), and promises to strengthen us from the power of the future. (2 Timothy 4:18)
3. The Straining of Paul
-“Straining forward” (ἐπεκτεινόμενος) refers to rigorous effort. It is the only time that this Greek verb is found in the New Testament. It was used in Paul’s day to refer to wild animals chasing after prey or an army in hot pursuit of a retreating enemy.
-Christians must put forth effort to run the race. (Deuteronomy 4:29; Philippians 2:12-13)
-Christians won’t naturally look ahead of themselves without conscious focus. (Psalm 141:8; Hebrews 12:2)
-Christians must exercise self-discipline to focus on the race ahead. (1 Corinthians 9:27; 1 Timothy 4:8)
-Christians must exercise self-restraint to keep looking ahead in the race. (Colossians 3:5-6; Romans 6:13)
-“what lies ahead” (ἔμπροσθεν) is referring to Paul’s view in front of him.
-Paul had the opportunity to exalt Christ in his circumstances. (Philippians 1:20; Romans 14:8)
-What lay ahead immediately for the Philippians was to wait with eager expectation to be reunited with Epaphroditus, Timothy, and Paul himself. (Philippians 1:25; Philippians 2:19; Philippians 2:25-30)
-What lies ahead immediately for us is the constant opportunity to exalt Christ as Lord by how we live our lives. (Isaiah 25:1; Psalm 107:32)
-What lies immediately ahead is the opportunity to be joyful in suffering for the sake of Christ’s name. (Acts 5:41)
Verse 14
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

1. The Goal of Paul

-“I press on” (διώκω) is a present tense verb in the active voice, signifying that Paul put forth conscious and continuous effort.
-Christians must give all their efforts to running the race. (Romans 12:11)
-Christians must run the race with patience, knowing they will reach the finish line if they persevere. (Hebrews 12:1; James 1:12)
-Christians must run with determination in order to reach the finish line. (Romans 15:4)
-There is no progress in our lives without manifest purpose and resolute action. (Acts 4:20; 1 John 1:3)
-God’s redemption causes us to run with conviction and with courage. (Psalm 28:7; Psalm 112:7)
-We press on in life because Jesus Christ pressed on in His earthly life. (Luke 9:51; Acts 20:24)
-Christians must keep Christ front and center as they run their race. (Psalm 16:8; Psalm 119:10)
-“toward” (κατὰ) is the inevitable direction of the race of life.
-Living for Christ will always cause us to experience forward progress in spiritual growth. (Ephesians 5:18; Hebrews 10:14)
-“the goal” (σκοπὸν) is the finish line Paul had in sight. Here, it refers to the marker indicating where the finish line was located.
-The “goal” here refers to the “goal line”, not the “objective.” We will arrive at the finish line at the return of our Lord and Savior. (Philippians 3:20; 1 Corinthians 1:7)
2. The Prize of Paul
-“prize” (βραβεῖον) refers to the reward Paul had in sight.
-Without running for a prize, we will have no reason or motivation to run at all. (1 Corinthians 9:26)
-On earth, we will be blessed by seeing the fruits of God’s grace work in and through our lives. (1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 Corinthians 6:11)
-On earth, we will be blessed by seeing how Christ is building His church. (Matthew 16:18; 1 Peter 2:5)
-On earth, we will be blessed by seeing the fruits of God’s grace work in our lives. (2 Chronicles 30:9; Psalm 111:4)
-Paul’s reward here focuses primarily on the reward given to him in Heaven, for it cannot come completely or perfectly in this life.
-One day, we will reign with Christ on earth as a glorious prize. (Revelation 5:9-10; Revelation 11:15)
-Our prize in Heaven will be the opportunity to see our God face to face. (Revelation 21:3-7)
-Our prize in Heaven will be our eternal and everlasting reward. (Matthew 25:21; Luke 6:23)
-Our prize in Heaven will be worshipping our God and our Lord for all eternity. (Psalm 29:2; Psalm 99:5)
-In Heaven, we will be filled with everlasting joy. (Psalm 32:11; Isaiah 25:9)
-In Heaven, our suffering will cease forever and ever. (Psalm 11:7; Isaiah 25:8)
-In Heaven, we will reign with Christ and with God forever. (Revelation 3:21)
3. The Calling of Paul
-“upward” (ἄνω) signifies the direction of Paul’s call. In the KJV, it is translated as “high,” but ano refers not to transcendence but to elevation and direction.
-The Christian race will ultimately be one of forward progress. (2 Corinthians 4:6; 1 John 3:2)
-The Christian race will lead us further up and further in to becoming like Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 8:29)
-The Christian race will lead us up to greater heights of knowing Christ. (Philippians 3:8; Philippians 3:10)
-“call of God” (κλήσεως θεοῦ) is the call which the God gave Paul.
-God clearly and repeatedly called Old Testament prophets into the ministry. (Jeremiah 1:4-9)
-God clearly and repeatedly calls all believers into obedience to His will. (Ephesians 4:1; Colossians 1:9-12)
-God’s call on our lives is irreversible and irrevocable. (Romans 11:28-29)
-God’s call on our lives transcends any persecution or roadblocks we may encounter. (Jeremiah 20:9; Amos 3:8; 1 Corinthians 9:16)
-“Christ Jesus” (Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ)
-Christ Himself called Paul into the apostolic ministry. (Acts 9:3-6, 15-16)
-Christ called Paul because God called Paul through Christ. (Galatians 1:15-17)
-Christ Himself calls us to be victorious runners in the race. (1 Timothy 1:18-19; 1 Timothy 6:12)

-“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8 ESV)



Monday, March 02, 2015

The Lord's Wrath and Restoration

Darkness, death, and destruction grips the land of Israel. Jerusalem, once the bustling city of God’s people, the city that God once called the “city of the great King,” now lies desolate and destroyed. The former glory of the Davidic dynasty has been removed from the land, and the godliness of the nation has long ago vanished. Therefore, where do we find ourselves in human history? In the year 586 B.C in the book of Lamentations, written by the prophet Jeremiah.

Jeremiah declares himself in Lamentations 3:1 as, “I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath; he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light; surely against me he turns his hand again and again the whole day long.” Jeremiah, while not being guilty of apostasy himself, nevertheless experiences the devastating effects of the Lord’s righteous wrath directed against the southern kingdom of Judah. Jeremiah feels as one beaten with a rod, as one groping about in darkness, and one who is marked as God’s enemy. Over a millennia earlier, the patriarch Job expressed the same thoughts in his deepest moments of suffering and grief.

Jeremiah describes that his physical condition had deteriorated badly, and that God had made him dwell in darkness. Jeremiah bemoans that he cannot escape the effects of God’s judgment on Judah in verses 7-9, so that he feels like a prisoner inside a containment cell where not even his own prayers can escape. But his deepest expressions of lament reveal themselves in verses 10-12, where he describes the wrath of God as a bear or lion in ambush, or as an archer that sent His arrows into the kidneys of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah declares that he is now no more than an object of ridicule to the people, and that God had filled with gall, fed him with wormwood, given him gravel to eat, and caused him to cower in ashes in verses 14-16. Jeremiah’s lament reaches pitiable expressions in verses 17 and 18, where he declares that he forgot what happiness even was, and that his hope and endurance had died in the face of intense suffering. Jeremiah, while not suffering for his own sin, suffered greatly because of the sin of the Jewish people as a whole, and the grievous effects ransacked his entire being on every level. Hence why he cries out to the Lord in verses 19-20 to remember his affliction and his loneliness, as he could not escape the constant, crushing effects of national judgment and desolation.

But a glimmer of light now pierces the darkness of Jeremiah’s woe: he calls to mind a truth that kindles the spark of hope in his heart once more. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” And in classic fashion in line with the laments of old in the psalms, Jeremiah encourages his heart with the fact that “’The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” (Lamentations 3:22-25) Just like the psalms of lament of old, Jeremiah declares that it is good that God’s suffering people, who are righteous themselves but suffering the effects of the sins in others’ lives, “wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” And even though Jeremiah now bears the yoke of suffering in his old age, and even though his head was rubbed into the dust, yet he states that “there may yet be hope.” As a result, Jeremiah could suffer the taunts of mockers with patience and humility, rather than being consumed with rage and grief.

Why could Jeremiah say this? “For the Lord will not cast forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.” In other words, the Lord does not sadistically inflict judgment—He has no pleasure or joy in judging His people as they justly deserve. For God is a God of justice, and He has no approval for those who deny men justice or crush those imprisoned in darkness.

Jeremiah’s response progresses; not only will the Lord heal and restore, but that those still in the land after the exile need to return to the Lord and examine their ways. For everyone is a transgressor and a sinner, and God cannot merely ignore sin. God’s righteous anger pursues those who do not repent. He often does this by raising up enemies against the sinful. This realization brought a fresh wave of grieve to Jeremiah, causing him to burst into tears over the righteous fate that befell the sinful people of Jerusalem. He reminisces about his persecutions prior to the exile, and brings to mind the Lord’s faithfulness to deliver him in the past.

However, in Lamentations 3:58-66, we see Jeremiah resolutely declare that the Lord will vindicate his cause, just as He had done before. God will do this by redeeming his life, judging his case, repaying Jeremiah’s foes. God will in fact obliterate Jeremiah’s foes from under heaven. Therefore, in conclusion, we as followers of Christ often live in the midst of apostasy that brought such terrible judgments from a righteous God. We may cry out to our culture to repent, only to experience the effects of God’s wrath upon sinners, while being innocent ourselves. But even though the Lord’s wrath is real and frightening, He will restore His people and vindicate those who suffer for the sake of His name.

“Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.” (2 Thessalonians 1:4-10 ESV)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Christians and Culture, Part 2

In Christians and Culture, Part 1, I closed that post with this question: how do we biblically interact with the surrounding culture? Therefore, what then is the answer to this question? How much should Christians focus on changing the culture? The answer is simple: to the degree necessary to further the work of the Gospel and the presentation of the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. God’s sovereignty over cultures and societies never falters despite the attempts of man to build a kingdom that defies His.

Also, we should never fall into the trap that culture is religiously neutral. While not entirely orthodox, Henry Van Til aptly stated that “culture is religion externalized”. In light of this, Christians should focus on exercising discernment of the pressing societal influences in their lives. Blind acceptance of the culture is deadly. Blind ignorance even more so (Ephesians 5:15-16). We need to exercise biblical discernment over those aspects of society which greatly influence us.

Our focus should never be consumed with the culture of evil that has existed since the Fall. Neither is it our goal to become cultural experts. Culture changes so rapidly that, aside from the sheer difficulty in tracking all aspects of culture, it becomes incongruous to devote all of one’s time and attention to it. Rather, our consuming focus should be on the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:2) and the eternality of the truth of Scripture. Governments and nations will pass away. Policies will be made and amended. Political woes will come and go. Cultural fads will fade away and be replaced. As impactful as these things are, they have little bearing in light of eternity.

However, the Lordship of Christ and the truth of His Word will never fade away. From Old Testament to New, we read that the Word of the Lord stands forever, as a direct manifestation of His eternal Lordship. In the Psalms, we read, “Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.” (Psalm 119:89) In the prophets, we read, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Isaiah 40:8) In the Gospels, we read, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Luke 21:33) And in the epistles, we
read, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,
 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.’” (1 Peter 1:22-25)

The Areas of Observation

Having understood this, there are specific areas of culture that we would be wise to pay attention to, in order to exercise worldview discernment and engage the culture with the full measure of biblical truth. These areas are ranked by order of importance: the church community locally, nationally, and globally, the family community, the educational worldview in the teaching institutions of our day, and the political culture of our lands. As believers, we need to be able to correctly hear the heartbeat of cultural change in these areas—but our stethoscope must be the inerrant and inspired Scriptures, for we first need to know the truth in order to determine what is true and what is false.

The Bride of Christ is the only institution given among men that stands forever. From the assembly of God in the Old Testament, to the birth of the church at Pentecost in Acts 2, to the people assembled before the throne of God from every tribe and tongue and nation, the church of Christ will stand forever. Indeed, all bastions of evil and darkness cannot stand against it. (Matthew 16:18) Christ considered His church so important that He willingly laid down His life for it. Paul devoted the entirety of his believing life to the service of building up the body of Christ through the preaching of the Gospel, the defense of the faith, and the proclamation of the whole counsel of God. John endured exile to bring us the final triumphant revelation of how the people of God endure through the end of human history. The health of the evangelical community will determine critical cultural factors, such as the state of the upcoming generation, the nature of the church’s prophetic voice to the secular culture, and the spiritual vitality of Christian discipleship on communal and individual levels.

The family unit, instituted by God all the way back in the Garden of Eden, stands as God’s means to fulfill the Creation mandate of Genesis 1. God worked at crucial moments to redeem families from whom the Messiah would eventually come into the world. For example, had Abraham’s family, Isaac’s family, and especially Jacob’s family not been brought out of paganism to serve the God of Israel, the Messianic line would have been extinguished. Today, as illustrated in Paul and Peter’s writings to Christian families, God still works His normative pattern of human history through the propagation of families. In a culture where the basic family unit has fallen into grave disrepair, Christians need to know the cultural factors and indicators that affect the health and stability of family units.

Also of critical importance is the academy, whether on the undergraduate level, graduate level, or beyond. What young men and women learn becomes the mindset of the latest adult generation. When looking, for example, to answer the question as to why so many red states produce young blue voters, the answer is that the academic institutions favor a liberal mindset. Education serves as a powerful weapon for the battle of worldviews, and many formerly Christian young people have become inculcated into the mindset of paganism and idolatry. Therefore, we need to know the current state of the academic views and institutions that shape the rising generation.

Finally, we need to know how our governments adhere to Romans 13. All governments, being instituted by God, need to follow God’s Law. All rulers have been given power by God to wield the authority of the state to punish evildoers. However, when the evangelical community, the social structure of families, and the state of the academy’s worldviews will all combine to produce the results found in the political sphere. Therefore, we need to have a clear understanding of redemptive history and Scriptural revelation in order to discern this final component in Christian cultural analysis. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Philippians Week 42-Pressing Onward Toward the Goal, Part 1

-“Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’” When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:5-10 ESV)

Philippians 3:12

-Both Paul and John had to deal with false teaching whereby men claimed to be absolutely without sin in their lives. (Romans 7:24-25; 1 John 1:8)Here in Philippians 3:12, Paul had to counter the claim from Jewish false teachers that sinless perfection in this life was possible, as well as encourage the Philippians in their own struggle against sin. He was a mature believer of over three decades, and yet he still had to run the race as hard as anyone else.
-The “Holiness Movement” originated from 19th century Methodism, and postulated that a “second blessing” brought about the complete removal of sin in our lives during our lifetime, leaving us morally perfect. While John Wesley was not himself a proponent of Christian perfectionism in terms of absolute moral purity in this life, many under the Methodist label adopted this approach to sanctification during the Second Great Awakening. Dr. Walter Palmer and Phoebe Palmer were two early proponents of this movement in the 1830s, claiming to be perfectly sanctified. After the Civil War, the movement grew during the camp-meeting days of revivalism. As it developed in the 20th century, the holiness movement evolved into elements of modern-day Pentecostalism.
-Christian perfectionism today claims that certain Christians obtain complete moral perfection in this life. Some false teachers today claim that they are no longer sinning anymore, producing a distorted view of our own righteousness and a gross underestimation of God’s righteous requirements.

Verse 12
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.

1. The Position of Paul

-“I have already obtained” (ἤδη ἔλαβον) refers to presently acquiring something through active and continuous effort. But “not that” (Οὐχ ὅτι) indicates that Paul had not presently acquired it.
-Throughout Scripture, we see that men earnestly strive after that which they seek. (Proverbs 2:3-5; Matthew 13:44)
-Men can often be consumed by what they strive after. (Psalm 10:2; 2 Timothy 4:10)
-What men pursue reveals the master of their affections. (Proverbs 21:21; 2 Timothy 4:22)
-What men strive after reveals their thinking of this life and the life to come. (Proverbs 23:4; 1 Timothy 6:9)
-In the secular life, one tries to become what they are not. (Proverbs 26:33; Matthew 23:27-28)
-“This” refers to sharing in Christ’s sufferings, experiencing the power of His resurrection, becoming like Him in His death. The final aim would be to participate in the resurrection of the righteous.
-In the Christian life, we need to become what we already are. (Romans 6:22; Hebrews 12:14)
-In the Christian life, we need to share in the power of Christ’s resurrection, although that won’t be fully known by us here and now. (1 Corinthians 6:4; 2 Timothy 1:7)
-In the Christian life, we need to share in Christ’s sufferings, but we can’t fully share in His suffering perfectly. (Hebrews 12:4)
-In the Christian life, we need to become like Christ in His death, but we won’t become perfectly like Him in this life. (1 Peter 3:15-17)
-Paul here demonstrates his own teaching. (Philippians 2:12-13)
-“am already perfect” (ἤδη τετελείωμαι) is an adverb and present passive indicative in the Greek, indicating a present state of being that Paul did not manufacture by his own efforts.
-Perfection will occur when God glorifies us after our resurrection from the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:51-55; 1 John 4:7)
-Paul also had to deal with the heresy arguing that the resurrection had already occurred. He soundly refuted that idea as false teaching. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4; 2 Timothy 4:17-18)
-Paul also declares here that he is not perfectly sanctified, and neither are we perfectly sanctified. (Romans 7:15-25)
-We do not have the power to perfect ourselves; only God can perfect us. (1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 Corinthians 1:8)
2. The Persistence of Paul
-“Press on” (διώκω) is an athletic metaphor from the world of marathon running.
-In the Greek world, the gymnasium was the place of athletic training, and the stadium was the location of the running track. Wrestling, boxing, and running were very popular sports in the days of Paul. A system of prizes and rules regulated many of the games, and umpires would watch to make sure the contestants competed according to the rules. While gladiatorial sports were also common, running was one of the most popular sports in the days of the early church.
-In the Greek world, there were different running events. To run one stade was to run the length of the stadion—or stadium­, as it would be transferred into Latin. One stade was 192 meters long, or 210 yards. Another common race was 2 stades long, which was approximately a quarter mile. The long-distance running in military training would range from 7 stades (4/5’s of a mile) to 24 stades (2.86 miles), wearing 50-60lbs of armor.
-Paul frequently used the analogy of running when referring to the Christian life. (2 Timothy 4:7)
-To “press on” requires intense training and self-discipline in order to “compete in the games.” (1 Corinthians 9:25-27; 1 Timothy 4:7-10; Romans 13:11-14)
-To “press on” requires knowing the rules of the “games.” (Galatians 3:2; 1 Timothy 6:11-12)
-To “press on” requires knowing the finish line. (Colossians 1:5)
-To “press on” requires concentration and effort. (Hebrews 12:2; Hebrews 10:36)
-To “press on” requires determination and endurance. (Acts 20:24; Hebrews 12:1)
-To “press on” is necessary for every runner in the race. We all are put into the race of life, especially as believers. (1 Corinthians 9:4)
-“To make it my own” (καταλάβω) refers to grasping or laying hold of something.
-Paul refuted the idea that the impossibility of perfection in this life necessitated apathy in sanctification. (1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Peter 3:13)
-Paul affirmed that believers need to be adamantly eager to pursue a holy lifestyle. (Psalm 119:16; Titus 2:11-14)
-Paul affirmed that the things in Philippians 3:10-11 were not yet his own, but his goal was to make them “my own.”
3. The Possession of Christ
-“Christ Jesus” is the One that makes Paul’s pressing on possible.
-Christ Jesus is the One that strengthened the apostle during his race on earth. (2 Timothy 4:17)
-“has made me his own” (κατελήμφθην) is the same concept as Paul making it his own. Here, it is Greek verb in the aorist tense in the indicative mood, stipulating that this had already occurred in Paul’s life.
-God has already worked His salvation in us. (Psalm 107:1-3; Titus 3:4-7)
-The Father has already determined that we will be saved. (Ephesians 1:3-6)
-The Father has already given our futures into the hands of His Son. (John 10:27-30)
-Christ has already made us His own possession. (Deuteronomy 26:18; 1 Peter 2:9)
-Christ has already redeemed us from the curse of the Law. (Deuteronomy 21:23; Galatians 3:13)
-Christ has already paid the penalty of all our sins—past, present, and future—in full. (Psalm 51:2; Ezekiel 36:33)
-God has already rescued us from the Kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of His Son. (Colossians 1:12-14)
-The Father has already conferred on us the promises of Christ’s Kingdom. (Luke 12:32; Matthew 25:34)
-The Spirit has already sealed us for the day of resurrection. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
-The Son has already promised us that He will return for us someday. (Isaiah 62:11; Revelation 22:12)
-Because Christ has made us His own, we place our trust in Him in His sovereign power. (Psalm 115:3; Job 42:2)
-Because Christ has made us His own, He is our example in our God-given suffering. (Luke 9:23; Hebrews 12:3)
-Because Christ has made us His own, we place our hope in Him in this age and the age to come. (Psalm 39:7; Psalm 62:5)
-Because Christ has made us His own, He is the object and producer of our everlasting joy. (1 Chronicles 29:11-12)

-“And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:11-14 ESV)