Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Note 1 at Php 3:12: Our salvation is a continuing experience. We don't just put our faith in Christ one time when we are born again (see note 2 at Joh 3:3) and then forget it. It has to be a continual trust and dependence on Jesus for our right relationship with the Father. Until we are resurrected with our glorified bodies, we have to hold fast the profession of our faith in Christ (Heb 4:14 and 10:23). Paul was saying, "I haven't arrived, but I've left."
Note 2 at Php 3:12: The word "perfect" was used in Scripture to describe spiritual maturity as well as "being without defect or blemish" (American Heritage Dictionary). However, in this case, Paul certainly was spiritually mature, so that is not the meaning here. He was saying that he wasn't without defect yet. That wouldn't happen until the resurrection.
Note 3 at Php 3:12: Was Paul saying that his salvation wasn't secure and that he wasn't sure he would be among the saints? Definitely not! It is true that saving faith isn't just a one-time experience but rather a continual trust and reliance on Jesus for our right standing with God (see note 1 at this verse). There is a perseverance that is necessary in the Christian life. Paul was committed to Christ, and he expressed confidence on a number of occasions that he knew he would continue to walk in righteousness with God (Ro 15:29).
Paul did not just want to attain to the resurrection of the just. Although he hadn't experienced that resurrection yet, it was purchased for him by our Lord Jesus, and Paul was in possession of that salvation. There are varying degrees of resurrection, however, even for the just. Paul was pursuing the highest resurrection, and that was not "in the bag."
Heb 11:35 says, "Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection." This "better resurrection" apparently is referring to the varying rewards that will be given to believers. Martyrs will certainly be rewarded in a special way, making theirs a "better resurrection." All saints will be in the resurrection of the just, but some will have greater rewards than others.
In Php 3:13-14, Paul spoke of pursuing the "prize of the high calling of God." Paul wasn't trying to just finish the race--he was planning on winning first place. He wanted this better resurrection; that is, he wanted to bring more honor and glory to God than anyone else. He had not attained that yet and he wouldn't know until the resurrection morning if he had made it. But that's the goal that the Lord had placed in his heart, and that was the one thing he pursued.
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