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Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.  Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  There for let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.  Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.  Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.  (Philippians 3:12-17)

The mark of perfect, as set before us in Paul and all who are thus minded, is the passionate desire to be yet made perfect.  This looks like a paradox.  And yet what we see in our Master proves the truth of what we say: the consciousness of being perfect is in entire harmony with the readiness to sacrifice life itself for the sake of being yet made perfect.  It was thus with Christ.  It was thus with Paul.  It will be thus with us, as we open our hearts fully and give God’s words room and time to do their work…. To count everything loss for perfection in practice, is the surest proof that perfection in principle has possession of the heart…. And so Paul uses expressions which all tell us how what he already had of Christ was but a part.  He did know Christ, he had gained Christ, he was found in Him, he had apprehended in wonderful measure that for which Christ had apprehended him.  And yet all these things – of knowing Christ, of gaining Him, of being found in Him, of apprehending that for which he was apprehended – he speaks as of what he was striving after with all his might: “If by any means I may attain to the resurrection of the dead;” “I press on to the goal, unto the prize.”  It is of all this he says: “Not that I am already made perfect.  Let as many as are perfect be thus minded.”  Paul had known Christ for many years, but he knew there were in Him riches and treasures greater than he had known yet, and nothing could satisfy him but the full and final and eternal possession of what the resurrection would bring him.  For this he counted all things but loss; for this he forgot the things that were behind; for this he pressed on to the goal, unto the prize.  He teaches us the spirit of true perfection.  A man who knows he is perfect with God; a man who knows he must yet be perfected; a man who knows that he has counted all things loss to attain this final perfection; such is the perfect man.  – Andrew Murray

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