From the sermon Sunday:
STRAINING TOWARDS THE FINISH LINE OF GOD’S HIGH CALLING IN CHRIST
“I (Paul), straining with all my effort toward the goal, in order to obtain it I sprint to the finish line of God’s high calling in Christ Jesus” (Phi 3:13c-14). (my translation)
NOT: ‘upward’ or ‘perfect’ as in many popular books and sermons (that’s perfectionism, or neo-platonism, not biblical).
INSTEAD: Our interpretation needs to be tempered by the actual language and context in which Paul was writing as well as his actual background as a Jew.
SO: ‘high calling’ rather than ‘upward’ (as in towards a higher place) and ‘finish line’ when God will ‘complete’ us, rather than ‘perfect’.
NOT: as in most popular books and sermons, either self effort / moralism or only God’s work.
INSTEAD: The Bible teaches two realities in covenant (God AND all that he created). Yes, two. They can’t be the same thing. Therefore, two things are always happening at the same time.
SO: God’s Spirit fills and empowers us so we strain for his glory with all our might (see also Col 1:29), rather than either/or.