The Race

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The Race
Text: Philippians 3:8-16
Occasion: General
Audience: General
Theological Tradition: General
Topic: Grace, Transformation
Author: Jeff Mammen


Sin breaks us, but God's grace steadily restores us to true humanity.

How to Get There

  • Sin fractures everything in our lives. It breaks our relationships and everything else.
  • Sin steals our humanity from us, it lets us see others as less than human, as something not worth our time and love. We have become far less than we were meant to be, almost dead even.
  • Paul knew that he needed his humanity restored, and that could only come from the throne of God.
  • Paul saw that nothing else mattered other than God's opinion through Jesus' sacrifice.
  • That's what God did. He gave us His perfect son to bring us life, love, grace, everything sin has taken from us. And like a transplant patient getting new organs, we get back our humanity with what Christ has given us.
  • Paul is seeing things in a completely different light as his humanity is restored through Jesus. All Paul wants is more of Jesus, more humanity restored.
  • Paul is finding that the more he knows Christ, the more alive Paul becomes.
  • And Paul (verse 12) is promising that he will keep at it, keep pressing on to perfection because not even Paul had everything down yet.
  • Paul had grace. He could say that he had the good and the bad within him.
    • But he was a complete person with God. Paul didn't have to cover up the bad because Jesus was covering him.
    • Grace starts with where we're at and leaves behind where we were.
  • This is a steady progress, a race. Not wallowing in the good or the bad in the past, and facing what is yet to come that is even better. It's allowing God's grace to transform our entire lives and steadily make us whole.

Things to Watch For

There are two images running through this message, running and transplants. Salvation and restoration comes in both aspects. A transplant of righteousness from Jesus and a steady stream of grace changing us from there. We need both of them.

The main point here, however, is that Christianity is not losing ourselves, it is finding ourselves more and more as we find Jesus.

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