“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.”
There are many pursuits in life. Some people pursue fame. Others chase after sex. Yet others strive for money and success. Paul’s pursuit was straightforward. He wanted to represent his Lord wonderfully in time.
“But I press on”
The words “press on” mean pursue. What was Paul pursuing? He was after the “prize” of verse 14. Some of us do not seem to realize that there is a prize at the end of the day. Heaven is not that prize. We do not earn or deserve heaven. Heaven was given to us by what Christ earned and deserved. Paul was after the smile of Christ on his life at the end of his days.
Paul had not completed his stint in time. God still had a purpose for him. Nothing could remove him, hurt him, or kill him until his purpose on earth was complete. He had confidence that God had a plan for him as long as he was alive.
“That I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me”
Paul wanted to grasp hold of his life’s pursuit. He wanted to latch on to it. He tried to get such a good grip on it that he would not let go. He did not want to disappoint Jesus. If you marry a husband, he may turn out to be a disappointment. “Well, I dated him for four weeks!” We cannot even tell if he brushes his teeth after dating him for a month! If we lay hold of pleasing Jesus with our lives, we will not receive His frown but His smile when we meet Him.
Not only did Paul take hold of something, but Jesus does as well. Paul said, “In my flight toward hell, Jesus took out after me and held me in his grip.” Christ laid hold of Paul for a purpose. Jesus wanted Paul to represent him in time on earth. He represents us in heaven, and we represent Him on earth. Paul wanted to accomplish all for which Christ had saved him. He did not want to disappoint the Lord.
The first “laying hold” was done by Paul. He needed to lay hold of the purpose for his life on earth. The second “laying hold” is done by Christ Jesus. At the point of salvation, Christ laid hold of Paul for a purpose. That purpose was to represent Jesus Christ in time. Our purpose here is to represent the Lord Jesus. He represents us in heaven; we represent Him in time. Since we are here to glorify Him, we need to lay hold or latch onto that purpose.
God has a purpose for our lives.
God wants us to represent Him on earth in time. He has a track for the locomotive of your life to run upon. Has your train jumped the track? Has your life come crashing down in one serious accident? You are no longer in the will of God. You are not in regular fellowship with God. As long as you are alive, God has a plan for you. Whether you have had a major accident, a massive crash—as long as you are alive, God has a purpose for you. No matter what you sin, if you are alive, God has a purpose for you. If your finger is out of joint, put it back in place. If you are out of fellowship, confess your sin. Get back on track.
The only place where we can become free from the slavery of malice, hatred, and grudges is in fellowship with our Lord. By being in the center of God’s will, we can have a life of freedom. If we allow sin to control us, we are in slavery. Sin eats the soul. Someone has said, “It is not what you eat that kills you; it is what eats you.” Are you devoured by malice? What is eating you? Life is too short. We cannot afford to bear grudges. Time is too short. The stakes are too high. If we hold ill will long enough, it might secure such a hold upon us that we will take it right into the casket with us. Are we ready to get squared away?
Again,,, did Christ lay hold of you so you could be Perfect “in Him” by faith? or did He lay hold of you so you could run a race to try and attain perfection so that you qualify somehow before you die for salvation or resurrection.
either you are running out of your identity in Christ (already perfected in HIS perfection through your Faith in him) or you are trying through works to be perfected. YOU can not control the Holy Spirit. YOU can not keep the law. YOU are helpless unless Christ Helps you and if Christ HELPS you then you are HELPED!
This whole section is like Paul threw his brain out the window and reverted to Judaism in practice.
Confused, the word “perfect” in the Greek is telos. The word telos means “goal,” or “maturity.” It has nothing to do with perfectionism as conveyed by the English. We do indeed have identity with Christ from the point of salvation. We hold the same status as He holds before the Father forever. That is a truth of salvation. Salvation and maturity in the Christian life are two different things. We need to deal with anger, bitterness, resentment, and many other issues in our lives.
I think Paul meant by this is Christ took hold of Him, so it was through Christ in which He entrusted His life with because Christ took Him out of the worldly life. However the response to faith is works, they go hand in hand, but it is good to remember that works does not bring salvation. To say that Paul threw out his brain would be to say that the Scriptures are not God-breathed/inspired. I think it’s important to base this verse upon other verses in the Bible to see what could possibly be the meaning before forming a conclusion.
Eman, it is important to look at the Greek grammar. The word “obtained” is aorist active indicative–Paul has not obtained maturity in Christ. “perfect” is perfect passive indicative–God has not yet done something in the past with the result resting in his maturity (“perfect” means maturity, not sinless perfection). “press” is present active indicative–going on to maturity is a current action of the apostle’s life. “Make it” is an intense verb form of “obtained” earlier in the verse and it is aorist active subjunctive–maturity in Christ is a goal not yet accomplished by Paul in his personal life. “Made” is again a compound of “obtained” earlier in the verse and is aorist active indicative–Christ did something for us at one point in the past–He saved our souls eternally. We do what we do because He did what He did.
Thanks Grant! 🙂
What I get out of this passage is …. we are running a race to get the prize which is becoming perfect like Christ. And we can’t do it alone, we do our part and Christ does His part.
Am I interpreting this correctly?
Gloz, I think you are fairly close. The idea of “perfect” in the Greek is mature.