“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; 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
The context of this passage is our true identity in Christ. It does not come from outward traits, such as circumcision, or zeal for the law. Nor does not come from earthly relationships or accomplishments.
It comes from the “excellency of the knowledge of Christ” and to be “found in Him.” The Greek word for excellency means to hold yourself to what is above. Not surprisingly, Paul goes on to explain that our citizenship is in Heaven. The Greek word for citizenship is politeuma (pol-it’-yoo-mah), which is where we get our English word for politics. It literally means to behave, live, or let your conversation be of Heaven.
In short, our earthly behavior is not to be driven by what we see in this world but what we know of the Kingdom of Heaven. Paul goes so far as to say in verse 20 that our conversation or focus should be our eager expectation of our Lord’s return.
Some in the Church shun this scriptural mandate because they belittle it as escapism. What it actually refers to is the prevailing strength to overcome not only death through resurrection at the rapture, but also to fulfill our calling to bring down the hierarchy of evil spirits influencing this world. In other words, we get to restore the rightful order over the earth as joint-heirs with Christ.
It cannot happen before its time, just as Jesus could not begin His earthly ministry before it was time. The kairos signs are important, but the key is the correct chronos timing.
“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 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.” Philippians 3:14-15
Q: Why is there so much confusion surrounding the end-times in the Church?
A. We have seen in part. Although our citizenship is of Heaven, the Church still exists in this fallen world, where darkness still clouds our understanding through man-made traditions and agendas
A quick study of Church history reveals that as the time for an elemental truth of our faith to be restored is upon us, as listed in Hebrews 6:1-2, the Spirit of Truth enlightens the eyes of our understanding. That is what the Apostle Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:15-23, concerning the fullness of His Body.
What is this fullness? Paul tells us in verses 9 and 10—it is the mystery of His will. “Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.”
Many in the Church sense that our Lord’s return is soon. They point to the signs. Yet “soon” has lost its significance for so many because it is so ambiguous and uncertain. That is why the Apostle Peter reminded us not to ignore, overlook, or neglect the one thing we need to know about Christ’s return—the chronos timing (2 Peter 3:8).
In Ephesians 1, Paul’s prays for a spirit of wisdom and knowledge in three areas:
Overlooking the chronos timing of Christ’s return robs the Church of the joy and urgency of walking in the fullness of these three areas while we are still on the earth. Heaven knows there are many who are floundering without hope—both in the world and in the Church.
Q: How then shall we live?
A: “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (John 17:16).
As His disciples, we have been charged with bearing witness of that Light (John 1:8). No worldly system can separate us from His love (Romans 8:31-38).
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4).
Uncertain times do not define us. Nor do man-made labels. Our identity is in Christ alone. The political and religious leaders of Jesus’ time demanded that John the Baptist identify himself in their terms. He answered with his true identity. “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: make straight the way of the Lord” (John 1:23).
The word for straight in this passage means to steer. No matter what earthly situations we find ourselves in, our calling is to steer lost and fallen people into the Ark of Jesus. It’s time to know what we ought to do. God’s heart is for a great 11th hour harvest. Let us be about Father’s business.