I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain the resurrection of the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Jesus Christ.
All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
What have we already attained? Salvation is supposed to be both a one time deal, and something you explore over a lifetime, you get married in less than an hour, but working out how to be married, and what marriage is about, takes a lifetime. Longer than our seven-years-next-week. Work out your salvation.
"Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is their shame. Their mind is on earthly things." Ever run into an aerobics android fresh from the gym? Their bodies will age like everyone's will, eventually die and rot, and all that glory will fade. It strikes me that the weight-obsessed, have-to-be-thinner-than-a-pencil crowd may be making their stomachs their god.
On earth, we are all legal aliens. It's a bit harder for someone who's not lived outside their country to understand what it feels like to be in a country, but belonging to another. I have a British passport, and an American Social Security Number, live in America, but came from England. My stay here is temporary, until the date marked on my latest INS paperwork. Legal aliens have citizenship elsewhere, we have no say in how our adopted country is run, and must comply with all its laws and regulations. The key word is temporary. If we're spending infinity in heaven with God, anything happening here is very temporary.
Jesus had a resurrected body that could eat, talk, touch and be touched, and appear and disappear at will when and where he chose. I want one of those.