Keep On Keeping On

KEY VERSE: “I press toward the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 3:14

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Philippians 3:1-16

PAUL’S USE OF the term, “high calling,” is revealing. It indicates that those to whom the promise of a heavenly reward has been offered are invited to a very special place in the divine arrangements. It is not, as tradition would have, a matter merely of being saved, but an invitation to participate in the divine plan for the blessing of all the families of the earth.

Paul also said: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”—Rom. 8:16-19

The expression ‘earnest expectation of the creature’, is more properly translated in the Revised Standard Version, “earnest expectation of the creation”—the reference being to the whole world of mankind. When these sons of God are revealed together with Christ, in power and great glory, then the promised kingdom work of blessing all the families of the earth will begin. The ‘sons of God’ will occupy a heavenly position, being exalted to “glory and honor and immortality.” (Rom. 2:7) In this position of authority and power, they will be the instruments of God in extending blessings of health and life on the human plane to all who, when they are enlightened, accept the gift of life through Christ, and obey the laws of the kingdom which will then be in force.

Jesus said to his disciples, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2,3) We could properly think of the ‘Father’s house’ as the universe, and the ‘many mansions’ as the numerous places of abode, or spheres of life, which had already been created when Jesus made this promise to his disciples, including the various orders of angels.

From this we learn that the hope of the Christian outlined in this promise by Jesus is not realized until the time of our Lord’s return. They remain asleep in death, and are resurrected and exalted to their heavenly home at the return of the Lord.

And it is fitting that these should receive a heavenly inheritance, for they gave up all earthly honor and advantage in order that they might devote their lives wholly to following in the footsteps of their Master, Christ Jesus.

The ‘high calling of God’ mentioned in our Key Verse, is the calling to joint-heirship with Christ in his kingdom, and to glory, and honor, and immortality. (Rom. 2:7; 8:17; Rev. 20:6) The attaining of this prize calls for suffering and death, walking in the footsteps of Jesus. Paul wanted to know Christ by experiencing his sufferings. He refers to this as “the fellowship of his sufferings,” and to being “made conformable unto his death.” Jesus died a sacrificial death, and we are invited to be planted together in the likeness of his death.—Rom. 6:3-5

Abraham was promised by God that through his “seed” all the families of the earth would be blessed. (Gen. 12:3; 22:18) Galatians 3:29 explains that Jesus and his true followers are this foretold ‘seed’ of Abraham. Concerning this glorious hope John said, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”—I John 3:13

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