What was the Apostle Paul talking about when he wrote near the end of his life that he did not consider that he had yet attained? Attained what — eternal life? Of course not. He attained eternal life the day he first believed. He was talking about “the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
So what is this “high calling” which the Apostle Paul considered he had not yet attained, even after accomplishing so much? Let’s consider this from Philippians 3:7-14, which is certainly one of the most challenging texts in Scripture:
“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Does this mean we are not all going to be equal in heaven? That is certainly one thing it means. This is an offense to many, especially those who have been privileged to grow up in democracies where all supposedly have an equal vote on matters.
However, the Scriptures are quite clear that there is rank in God’s kingdom, and we will not all be equal in it. We are right now determining where we will stand, whether we will rule over one city, five, or ten. It is being determined in this life how close we will sit to Him, who is on His right hand and left. There is an eternal reward that is based on our devotion and service in this life.”
Many stumble over this truth and many carry it too far. There is a ditch on either side of the path of life. Nevertheless, the truth that there is a high calling in Christ Jesus that is much more than attaining salvation, is overwhelmingly verified in Scripture. What that calling is and how it is attained is debatable. It is also safe to say that if the Apostle Paul did not consider himself to have attained it when writing near the end of his life, possibly the most fruitful life ever lived for the Kingdom of God, it is probable that we cannot know in this life if we have attained to this high calling or not. However, we should all be pressing on toward it for as long as we remain on the earth.
Many are repelled by this truth and cannot accept it even though the Scriptures are so clear about it. Rank on earth is usually the result of the ability to selfishly dominate others and climb above them. However, we cannot relate heaven or the age to come on earth to the present way of things on earth. The way that authority and rule is presently established on earth is contrary to the way it is gained in heaven — through sacrifice and selflessness.
True Christianity was founded upon a sacrifice, and the power of God is released through the cross (see 1 Corinthians 1:18). As the Lord declared in Matthew 16:25, “For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.”
This is contrary to human wisdom and seems like the ultimate foolishness to those whose hope is in this present world. Even so, the true path to life is death to our selfish ambitions, and death to anything that would rival our obedience to the Lord. Even so, it is the best deal we can ever make on this earth. When we lose our life to Him, we will find true lives that eclipses anything this earth can offer.
~ Pastor Rick Joyner
|Pastor Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church.|