What is heavenly prize apostle Paul talks about in his Letter to the Philippians? And to what high calling is God calling us through Jesus Christ? The high calling is the complete restoration and functioning of God’s original, initial design for each person, mankind and the creation as a whole.
The death and resurrection of Christ open the way to the restoration of this design. When a person accepts by faith righteousness and reconciliation with God through Christ, this opens the way to accept and live according to the high calling.
„Dear brothers I have not yet achieved it (that perfection) but I focus on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:13-14).
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The high calling – the restoration of our true identity
First of all, the high calling points to the restoration of our true identity as God’s children created for eternity. Everything we do in the physical world has repercussions in the spiritual world and for eternity. God gives us the opportunity to return to Him as God’s children, born of God’s Spirit.
„See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! “ (1 John 3:1-2)
The high calling – establishing God’s order
Secondly, the high calling is connected with God’s irrevocable goals and intentions of restoring the whole creation. God’s children have a fundamental, leading role in this plan both individually and as a whole. Every child of God is called to grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to reign in life through Christ. (Romans 5:17)
The ruling (reigning) in life is the establishment and maintenance of God’s order. This order rests on righteousness, truth, justice and graceful love. And it is at the center of the high, heavenly calling. The Bible calls God’s children kings-priests or royal priesthood. „But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9).
God has a specific plan and part to play in the restoration for each of His children. When we submit our lives to the high calling, we become fellow workers of God in the restoration of creation. We play a part in the establishment of His kingdom on earth.
The high calling and our inheritance in Christ
Thirdly, the high calling is inextricably linked to the incorruptible inheritance in Christ. This is directly related to the question of the reward. “God has revived us for a living hope, for an inheritance can never perish, spoil or fade, kept in heaven for us.” (1 Peter 1: 3-4). We also have access now and here on this earth to this vast heritage. The life of God in us and through us, as well as His nature and character, wrought in us, and His glory, reflected in us.
This is also the great mystery: Christ in us – the hope of glory! This is the essence of our inheritance and reward – sharing in God’s glory, in all that God is and has. God makes us co-heirs with Christ! „To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)
The high calling is superb and great, it is the meaning and ultimate value of every human life. Let us accept this calling and the One who calls us for much more! For things that surpass our ideas and expectations! Let’s follow it and decide to give it a place and a priority in our lives. Let us separate the precious from the trivial, and let us fulfill our true destiny.
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