Cross eye

The Lord isn’t surprised when we blow it. He expects nothing else from our flawed nature. In one sense, His goal isn’t to get us to a place where we never sin again (in this life). But that is often our goal. God’s goal has more to do with Christ and less to do with us (surprise!).

Paul said, “One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus” (Php. 3:13-14). “What is behind” refers to everything of flesh, everything of this ruined, distorted world. “What is behind” is everything God put to an end at the cross (1 Peter 2:24; Gal. 6:14; Col. 2:15). If you or I sin right now, this moment, it is nevertheless “behind” because of the cross. Paul’s counsel is to forget it.

What is ahead? And what are we reaching for? God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. Paul doesn’t mean “going to heaven” as we conceive of it. “Heavenly” relates to spiritual life. Paul describes spiritual life in verses 10 and 11: “My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,  assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.”   This participation with Christ is eternal life now and in the world to come.

Paul concludes verses 3:10 through 14 by saying, “Therefore, all who are mature should think this way” (Php. 3:15). Forget what the cross put behind you. Fix your gaze on knowing Christ in his resurrection, suffering, and death. Focusing on knowing Christ, not on moral perfection, is spiritually mature thinking.