I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. My friends, I don't feel I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. I run toward the goal, so I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done.
There is a sobering reality of living on this earth as a follower of Jesus Christ. Those who want to teach against a theology of "works salvation" speak about the grace of God and the peace that we should have in knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and those things are true but we must take heed of a serious warning.
Indeed our salvation is based solely on the Blood of Jesus and not on our own works, but why would the Apostle Paul say that he had "not yet reached" his goal?" And why would he say that he had not yet "arrived" and that the prize was "being called to heaven?"
The parallel is not perfect but consider this: If you were planning a vacation to Florida this summer would you pretend that you are already in Florida as you live your life in Ohio during a rather harsh winter? It certainly is wonderful to look forward to and even dream about the wonderful time you will have in Florida, but if you pretend you are there as you sit in Ohio in the middle of winter you are only deluding yourself.
Paul recognized that he was not yet in heaven and that living here is still very much a struggle as he "ran toward the goal" which is heaven!
Never forget that Jesus came not only to forgive your sins, but He also came to empower you to resist the Devil and flee from him! If you glory in forgiveness and grace and ignore your need to daily struggle against sin, then of all people you are most deceived. Remember if you are reading this, like Paul the Apostle you have not yet arrived!
"Lord Jesus, help me to remember today that until I arrive in Heaven I have not yet reached the goal You set for me when You died on the Cross. Help me to resist the Devil today. And may You be praised forever. Amen."