Paul talks about “pressing on” in Christ. He wants to know Jesus better. Knowing Jesus in an intimate personal relationship will build his faith and confidence in God’s promises and deepen his assurance of his eternal 05 one thingdestiny. He wants to “take hold” of Christ since Christ has “taken hold” of Him. Then Paul talks about “pressing on” towards Christ. As he grows to know Christ better, his assurance increases and thus his life is changed. He becomes more and more like Christ. As Christ has “taken hold” of Paul, he was justified in Christ. Christ paid the penalty for his sin and he is completely forgiven and assured of his place in heaven. The certainty of his justification moved him along in the progressive process of actually becoming like Christ in his own life. Justification is the positional truth for every believer. We are forgiven and assured of our place in heaven based, not on our own efforts, but on what Christ accomplished for us on the Cross. Sanctification is the process by which the truth of Christ works its way into every nook and cranny of our lives and we become more like Christ.

Paul then argues in Philippians 3:14, that he will press on in his growth in knowing Christ, thus in his growth in becoming like Christ, until the Lord actually calls him home. He says, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” The word prize might be translated “wreath” or “crown.” A garland like wreath was placed on the head of the winner of the public games in Greece much like a medal is awarded at the Olympics today. This wreath didn’t look like much the rewards that went along with it were what really mattered. The victor was welcomed home with a parade, he no longer had to pay taxes, and they made a statue of him in his home town.

The “upward call” is the time when the believer is called “home” to heaven. He is welcomed by those who have gone on before him. There are no taxes in heaven, but I’m also pretty sure there aren’t any statues either. This event is often referred to as the “glorification” of the believer. Since he’s been justified and all sin forgiven. He’s lived a life growing in his knowledge of Christ and in his becoming like Christ; he is now rewarded with the fulfillment of God’s plan of actually making us like Christ in Glory. This is how it works in our lives as well: In regeneration we are freed from the penalty of sin; in sanctification, becoming like Christ, we are freed from the power of sin; in glorification (reward and glory in heaven) we are freed from the presence of sin. In all of its pain and misery fostered on the human race, Christ has conquered sin once and for all on the cross, and through his resurrection has conquered death for us all – once and for all!