“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation offrom dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.” Hebrews 6:1-3.
The life Paul had come to as a zealous Pharisee – a life of righteousness according to the law – had given him knowledge of many things. He understood to apply the law and could pass judgment with insight and understanding, but this had not led him to. Neither had it taught him to know Christ. Instead of radiating God’s nature and being, his life emanated coldness – a righteousness without mercy, love, or anointing.
A totally new race for Paul
When Jesus revealed Himself to Paul on the way to Damascus, Paul began a totally new race. Even though Jesus showed him right from the beginning what sufferings he would have to endure, he neither lost courage nor his presence of mind. He could also see the glory and liberty that God’s children would come to through the gospel, and he discovered that the sufferings he had to endure were not worthy to be compared to the opportunity of laying hold of the everlasting glory that was present in the hope of the gospel.
“… and 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; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” Philippians 3:9-12.
He kept this heavenly vision to the end of his life. He was apprehended of gaining Christ – everything else was loss. Joy over the glory already attained did not hinder him from constantly stretching out the hand ofto invite others also to participate in fellowship and growth. He wrote: “ , I do not count myself to have apprehended …” Then he invited the Philippians and each and every wholehearted to run this race: “… but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14.
Go on to perfection: “One thing I do!”
“One thing I do!” Blessed is every one who can give this same personal testimony! They have received permission from the Almighty God to go on to perfection. They are apprehended of the life of Christ in all its fullness. The life of Christ, which they have attained to so far, does not stop them from further heavenly pursuits. The race of following Christ is not something they have to do, ought to do, or must do; it is something they are permitted to do, something that is “enviable!” They serve in the newness of the Spirit and the result of their work is. Their exit from their life becomes a rich entrance into an eternal life. The powers of an eternal life have already increasingly permeated their mind and life during their time of grace here. Their life is a testimony of love and devotion to their soul’s Bridegroom. They have given each other their “yes,” and their desire is to be united for all eternity. This is also something for which God gives them permission.
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” Revelation 19:7-8.
This article has been translated from Norwegian, and was first published in BCC’s periodical Skjulte Skatter (Hidden Treasures) in May, 2002.
© Copyright Stiftelsen Skjulte Skatters Forlag
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.