Pursuing the Prize
When we think about salvation, we spend most of our time focusing on how it is accomplished and received and we spend much less time focusing on where it leads. When we focus on how it is accomplished and received, we are right to embrace the â€œgrace alone, faith aloneâ€ label. Christ lived the perfect life and credits our account with his obedience. Christ died the death we should have died, thus paying the penalty we owed to God.
When we focus on where salvation is leading, we must bring the law back into the picture. Jesus saves Godâ€™s people in order to remake them in his image. He didnâ€™t live the perfect life and die the sinners death to forgive us and leave us. He did those things to forgive us and forge us anew. That forging us anew is what this passage focuses on. The prize of the upward call of God in Christ is to know Christ intimately, i.e. to think and live like Christ.