In the following text, Paul focuses on three things that are the perfection of Christ that he will give him all to obtain:
- Perfect relationship
- Perfect progress
- Perfect inheritance
“Not as a thought I had already, either were already perfect, but I follow after it that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. I count not myself to have apprehended but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 3:12-14.
Paul says he knows that he is not what God wants him to be. He has not reached that goal [succeeded, achieved, or fulfilled]. But he continues trying to reach it and to make it his ambition.
We are looking, searching, and seeking for the perfection of it. I have suffered the loss of all things that I may win Christ and to belong to Him. The ‘it’ is Christ. For we are seeking the perfection of Him, to be right with God. Now I am right with God, not because I follow the law, but because I believe in Christ—not having my own righteousness of the law, but that which is through my faith of Christ; not self-faith or self-righteousness, but the faith and the righteousness of Christ that reaches the perfection, the goodness, and the grace that is required of God. It’s not me, but faith and the righteousness of God in Christ. I have come to the truth that it is in Christ, not the law. If I have to sacrifice to know it and to enjoy it fully, I will. If I have to gave up family, friendship, job, and this world in order to know Christ and His resurrection power, I will. This is what God spoke into my consciousness and my awareness. God will dismantle you to release His mantle in you.
What are we willing to lose to know Christ? What will we let go of to be one with Him? Paul says I want to know Him, I want to know the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His suffering, to be made conformable [in His nature] unto His death. So whatever it takes to be in or one with Him, let it be. Whatever it takes to be united with Christ and experience the power that gives life, spiritual renewal, and regeneration in Him, let it be. As we move in Him He will perfect these three things in our lives.
1) Perfect relationship with Him—my eternal union with the infinity perfection Christ gives me a perfect relationship with Him. It is an absolute, unchangeable, and intimate relationship that is close and cannot be separated.
“I follow after Christ, that I my apprehend [discern, and perceive] that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus, that I will know Him, be like Him, and be all He [Christ] wants me to be. This is the goal of my perfect relationship,” Philippians, 12.
2) Perfect progress – I will trust Christ. In order to grow and mature spiritually, I will trust Him. I must continue to trust and learn more about Him, draw closer to Him, and obey His word in order for their to be progress in Him for me. Our progress is changeable in contrast [to be different] in close association with Him in our daily walk. You will not have perfect progress if you are not willing to do different things and have a close association with Him. A closer relationship/association with Him is God working to perfect us to do His will.
I count not myself to have apprehended but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I know that I have not reached the goal, but there is one thing I always do—forgetting the past and straining towards what is ahead. I have great sorrow about my past, but now I’m working on my perfect progress in Christ without my past hanging over my head (Philippians 13).
I press towards the mark [the different life] for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 14).
3) Perfect inheritance – My perfect inheritance is grounded in my faith in Christ and what He has done, not me. I cannot perfect myself, only God can by working in and through me. When Christ returns to take His eternal kingdom, we will be glorified and walk in our total perfection. We are working on that perfection now. I press towards the mark [the different life] for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.