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.
The first call that God makes to every human being is the call to salvation. God did not create man to be separated from Him but to have intimate communion between the Creator and His creation. Sadly, sin formed a barrier, an abyss between God and us. When we accept the call of the gospel to repent and convert to Jesus Christ, we have taken the first step. Now comes the second call, what Paul calls the supreme calling, which is the call to sanctification.
Sanctification is neither instantaneous nor automatic but a process that will not end until we stand before our Lord and King Jesus Christ. Paul recognizes him in himself when he said: I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. If Paul himself had not reached that supreme call, none of us have reached it either. But we must have the same attitude of the apostle: But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal. Let us continue, then, towards the goal.
The call to be holy is seen in 1 Peter 1:13-16, Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” Grace is not license to sin but the motive of seeking sanctification.
Once we are saved by grace, the fruit that God expects of us is sanctification. From this the Word testifies in Romans 6:22, But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. That is our supreme calling, saved by the blood of the Lamb, our goal is to be holy. It is true that we do not do it for ourselves, but 2 Corinthians 7:1 tells us how we can do it, Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
If we want to do the will of God, seeking our sanctification should be a priority. In 1 Thessalonians 4:3 it says, For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality. And later in 1 Thessalonians 4:7 it says, For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. This is a confirmation of the supreme call that God has made to us, we are called to sanctification, to holiness, to be holy and to leave behind the filth in which we lived before.
As saved by Christ Jesus, we are born again. That is why we must act as the new creature we are. Ephesians 4:22-24 says, that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Let us be like Paul and win the prize of the supreme calling. God bless you.