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Press towards the Prize

Pressing towards the Prize Phil 3:14

This text has an evident elusion to the Greek Olympic Games, in which rival candidates fought, wrestled, or ran to obtain a prize, in its-self of little value, but anxiously sought as an honorable distinction bestowed upon the successful candidate. Paul here alludes to those exercises. "press towards the mark"

1 Here we are called upon to consider eternal life, and future glory under the figure of a prize.
(a) This prize is an honourable and valuable object -crown- 2Tim4:8 "laid up for me a crown of righteousness" 1Peter5:4 "crown of glory that fadeth not away" 1Cor9;25 to obtain a corruptable crown" Not like the perishable garlands bestowed in those races, but a crown that fadeth not away It is figured as a throne, but not an earthly transitory throne: a throne in heaven - the throne of God and of the Lamb. "to him that overcometh I will grant to sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my Father in His throne"

(b) This prize is held up to excite an animate us. The world subsists by hope. It is natural for the mind of man to turn to the future. To hope for good things. Not only had Moses "respect to the recompense of reward" but Jesus Himself was animated by hope when "for the joy that was set before Him he endured the cross, and despised the shame"

(c) This prize shall be publicly and honourable given, and the bible indicates that it will relate to our activity and exertions for the Lord here. Romans, "one star differeth from another star in glory" "and so shall it be in the resurrection of the just" "Every man shall be rewarded according to his works" and this reward will be given by Jesus. " henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the lord the righteous judge shall give unto me in that day, and not to me only, but unto all them that love His appearing"

(d) It is the prize of God's high calling; we are not called by an earthly prince, neither to earthly honours, but to "glory and honour, and immortality" It is in Christ Jesus. The Apostle drew all his motives from the cross, there the strongest motives spring, - not from pagan philosophy, neither from moral persuasion, but from the gospel.
We with eager eye and outstretched hands, press towards the mark. - the highest we can be in holy living. Just as those in the Olympic games contended in the presence of father, brothers, wive, sisters, magistrates, nobility and all the rest, so the bible says "we are encompassed with a great cloud of witnesses" Heb 12:1 * Men of faith, patriarchs and prophets, apostles and evengelists, saints and martyrs.
Pressing toward the mark implies.

(a) An eye toward the prize: " we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are unseen are eternal"

(b) Confidence in the Judge: " I know in whom I have believed, and that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him"

(c) Perseverance in the path pointed out by the scriptures, and the example of Jesus. Reliance upon Divine strength

Man by the generous vine, supported lives: the strength he gains, is from the embrace he gives.

It is our duty to exert ourselves as if everthing depended upon our exertions, and at the same time to trust in Divine support, as klnowing we can do nothing of ourselves.


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