Re:Verse passage – Philippians 3:12-16(day five)

“I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.”  No getting around Paul’s clear teaching that  BOTH the Lord and humans are active participants in spiritual growth. In chapter 2, “work out your salvation” (man) “because God is at work in you” (God).  There is a responsibility and accountability for each of us in our spiritual growth. There is a dependency on the Lord required for spiritual growth.

I am reminded of the helpful illustration that Jerry Bridges shares in his book, The Pursuit of Holiness.

A farmer plows his field, sows the seed and fertilizes and cultivates—all the while knowing that in the final analysis he is utterly dependent on forces outside of himself. He knows he cannot cause the seed to germinate, nor can he produce the rain and sunshine for growing and harvesting the crop. For a successful harvest, he is dependent on these things from God.

Yet the farmer knows that unless he diligently pursues his responsibilities to plow, plant, fertilize, and cultivate, he cannot expect a harvest at the end of the season. In a sense he is in partnership with God, and he will reap it benefits only when he has fulfilled his own responsibilities.

Farming is a joint venture between God and the farmer. The farmer cannot do what God must do, and God will not do what the farmer should do.

We can say just as accurately that the pursuit of holiness is a joint venture between God and the Christian. No one can attain any degree of holiness without God working in his life, but just as surely no one will attain it without effort on his own part.

Author: Scott Lane

Scott Lane is the Executive Pastor of Ministry at FBCSA.

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