Sometimes the smallest word can hold the largest things. In this case, four little letters--just one common word, “that,”-- hold all of our future days on earth, and perhaps beyond. Do you see it?
“Not that I have already obtained [resurrection from death], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12)
Paul understood that Jesus paid the price for his sin and that Jesus had secured a place for him in heaven. But wait, there’s more: Paul understood that Jesus had laid hold of him for some purpose in this life as well. Jesus had a grand mission for this world, and wanted to partner with Paul to achieve that mission. Further, Jesus used a guy named Barnabas to make sure Paul found a home in the church (Acts 11: 22 - 26).
John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard movement, used to teach that there were actually three conversions needed for every Christian: conversions to Christ, to his cause, and to his church. Wimber wasn’t inventing some new doctrine, he was pointing out that our relationship with Jesus begins with the new birth and that the Lord himself has purposes in mind for us. He’s not only saved us from something, he’s also saved us toward something, something so grand it takes a community of believers united under the Lordship of Jesus to accomplish. In our day, if our gospel does not ask the question, “what’s next?” then our gospel is too small.
Here’s a week’s worth of meditation: in my life, what is the that for which Jesus has saved me?