A devotional thought from Afshin Ziafat for “One Among Many?”
Philippians 3:12-14: “Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”
In Philippians 3, the apostle Paul detailed the dramatic paradigm shift that took place in his life. He was transformed from a zealous Pharisee who pursued the works of Judaism with religious fervor into a passionate follower of Christ. For Paul, the entire goal of life was altered—his ultimate desire was to know Christ and to be transformed into His likeness. He pressed on toward this goal throughout his life.
The radical transformation from religion to relationship is what makes Christianity distinctive from all other faith movements. Most religions offer a set of moral codes with the goal of obedience and submission to their rules. In Christ, you have the offer of a relationship with God through Jesus and the goal of conformity to Christ-likeness. God has come to humankind in Jesus to reconcile humankind back to Himself.
Eternal life is knowing God (John 17:3), and the essence of heaven is to be in His presence forever. Jesus secures both for those who believe in Him through His death and resurrection.
Pause and Reflect
• In what ways does a relationship with Christ differ from a religion of works?
• Are you looking forward to eternity in heaven? What excites you about it?