We are not held accountable by God for what we do not know or understand, however we should purpose to walk in the light that we do know trusting that the Holy Spirit will lead us into a deeper understanding.
Philippians 3:15-16 “15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.”
Paul is encouraging us to have the same mind as he does. Paul knows that only if we let go of all accomplishments of righteousness in the past and refrain from works of righteousness in the present, then God’s righteousness will prevail in our lives. We must also let go of our past, present, and future failures since we are still in this human form and will be so as long as we live here on earth. The last part of verse 15 should be a comfort to everyone that does not know or understand the difference between working for the Lord in His righteousness verses working for righteousness in the Lord. Even if we think contrary to the truth of God, as long as we continue to grow in knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, God will reveal His truth to us in a way we can understand it. This mind of maturity Paul is referencing to, which he has, is the same mind of Christ; to live for others over self and to spread the good news.
It is obvious that most Christians walk at different levels than others. Even two people coming into the Lord at the same time will progress at different levels. In verse 16 Paul is encouraging us to walk in the knowledge and understanding that we have and not try to walk in another person’s knowledge. Humans in general tend to judge our place in society and ultimately our worth by comparison to the friends we have and the people we cross paths with or work with. Christianity is plagued by the same fleshly mind set. Nowhere in the bible are we told to be like or think like any other person then to have the mind of Christ. We will have examples of Godly men and women to look to, but we will never be them. Paul is not asking us to do anything different than Jesus did while here on earth. He had to learn who He was spiritually since He came into this world as a baby. We even read that at the age of twelve His parents lost track of Him and later found Him in a Temple studding the word of God. As I have mentioned before Jesus’ wilderness experience after He became baptized and filled with the Hole Spirit was just as much for Him to realize who He was as it was the Devil. We are called to make that same spiritual step in learning and allowing the Holy Spirit to bring to revelation who we are in Christ. This is the same rule and the same mind Paul is talking about in the last of verse 16; not learning how to think and act like someone else in the church, but to learn who we are in Christ Jesus. Remember to have the mind of Christ is simply to esteem others above self and desire to spread the gospel.
Paul is stressing growth and winning not just surviving. All too often Christians find themselves hanging on till the Lord comes or they pass away from this life into the next to realize their blessings. That is very sad, they have missed a very large reason Jesus died for us. He is the restorer of our communication with God while here on earth. Jesus Himself said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”, John 10:10.
Paul makes a similar statement at the beginning of verse 13, but then goes to a deeper topic. Reaching forward and letting go. It is so human to either hold on to our past accomplishments or constantly judge ourselves against our past failures. For a Christian both actions are un-Godly and count the blood of Jesus as worthless. 2 Corinthians 5:17, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Revelations 21:5, Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." All is all, and does not have selections. We cannot hold on to the good and hand off the bad to Jesus to take care of, because even our good is as filthy rags in His sight according to Isaiah 64:6. There is just no way can we move forward while looking or holding on to the past. We must constantly look and move forward in our walk with Christ.
There are two very important things in verse 14. First the Greek word DIOKO translated as “press” is a word used figuratively to describe one running in such a way that they will receive the prize. Paul is telling us to keep running for the prize. Secondly, is knowing that the “prize” of salvation cannot be acquired by works of righteousness. According to Titus3:15 Paul must be referencing the rewards in heaven that come from service for the Lord.
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