The Prize

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Philippians 3:11-12:
-11: If by any means I might obtain unto the resurrection of the dead.
-12: 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.

In verse 11 the Apostle Paul wanted, if possible, to be alive when Christ returns. The word “obtain” literally means to be here on earth (alive), the word “unto” means to reach the destination fully, and the “resurrection” in the Greek text means a rising out from among (the dead). Paul wanted to be alive at the “out resurrection” of the dead. The Christians who have passed away would be those who are raised out and up from among all the dead, but Paul hoped to be alive when Christ returned.

At the return is when Paul, you, and I will be perfected with our new bodies. The hope that Paul followed in his believing was to anticipate, every day, the actual return of Christ. Paul wanted to actually be here physically to see his body change from earthly to heavenly. This is the prize that God will give to the living believers. It is certain that there are many more Christians (through the centuries) that have fallen asleep in Jesus, and in the scope of this bigger picture, the living will be few in comparison with all who will be raised at Christ’s return. The living will have the blessing to experience the actual changing of our old earthly bodies into new heavenly bodies and to have this in our memories for eternity.  We may look forward to this wonderful prize.

Philippians 3:13-14:
-13: Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended {the prize yet}: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind {the past}, and reaching forth unto those things which are before {the return},
-14: I press toward the mark {finish line} for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

What a magnificent lesson we have here. First, Paul teaches that the “one thing” has two aspects: (1) forgetting the past, and (2) reaching forward. The reason for this is that only as we let the past fall by the wayside will we have room for the hope of the future, the hope in Christ’s return, to receive the prize. This is the believer’s “high calling.” We all have been called into God’s grace, but the high point of His calling will be the return of Christ!

With the anticipation of our future hope, the past can be put to rest. Looking forward to the return of Christ, anticipating the joy and excitement of this marvelous prize, to obtain “the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” is the believer’s greatest hope because it will deliver over to you one of the greatest prizes that can be received. It is receiving an eternal treasure even before you arrive into heaven (for you will be transformed as your feet leave this earth), and in heaven is where and when you will receive all the rest of your rewards for believing God’s Word today.