The Keys of the Kingdom
Wade E Taylor
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:
but this one thing I do, FORGETTING those things
which are behind, and REACHING FORTH unto those
things which are before, I press toward the mark
for the prize of the high calling of God in
Christ Jesus" Phil 3:13-14.
Paul is expressing two diverse attitudes which affect his
spiritual walk with the Lord. The first is "forgetting,"
and the second, "reaching forth." Each of these
are of tremendous importance to those desiring to spiritually
Paul said he has forgotten "those things which are behind."
This includes his standing over the cloaks of those who stoned
Stephen. Also, there was much in Paul's life that might be
counted as being of great value, which he also set aside,
"Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel,
of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching
the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the Church;
touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless"
Rather, he is "reaching forth." That is, there
was something specific that Paul had in mind - "I press
toward the mark for the prize ..." Phil 3:14. There is
something to be gained which is of far greater value than
those things he has given up.
Paul sees a "present reality" that is attainable.
Some might say this is "Heaven." This that Paul
is seeing certainly includes heaven, but it is much more than
that. There was before him (and us), that which is available
to us as a present spiritual possession.
There is another goal which some Christians express; they
have a certain amount of motivation through which they reflect
a Christian life and witness to salvation. Beyond this, their
hope is heaven. As these, we can be content to rest in our
"judicial" position in Christ, in all that was fully
accomplished in our behalf on the cross, and seek no further
change. Or, we can become a futurist, and look toward all
that will take place when the Lord returns, and again seek
no further spiritual growth.
But there is something more. The Lord is raising up those
who see a present reality of spiritual purpose and function.
It is true that we are saved to demonstrate our salvation,
and we are to look for His return, but there is far more.
There is a present purpose for each of us who know the Lord,
and have unconditionally submitted our lives to Him.
It is this present reality that Paul sought to be resurrected
into, that he might press towards the mark for the prize of
the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
"If by any means I might attain unto the
resurrection of the dead" Phil 3:11.
Paul is not expressing a concern about his salvation, but
rather, he is seeking a present out-resurrection from among
the living dead, into something far better. He is seeking
to be lifted into the present expression and work of the Kingdom.
"The eyes of your understanding being
enlightened; that ye may know what is
the hope of His calling" Eph 1:18a.
There is an experiential "knowing" this hope of
His calling, wherein it becomes a part of our present spiritual
There are three groups of Christians listed in Scripture
that relate to our present spiritual experience. We can be
found within one of these.
"And unto the angel of the Church in Sardis,
write ... I know thy works, that thou hast
a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be
watchful, and strengthen the things which
remain" Rev 3:1-2a.
These are satisfied and resting in the completed work which
was accomplished for them by Jesus upon the cross, but they
have not submitted their lives to the power of redemption,
and are still spiritual babies.
Jesus said, "The Kingdom is at hand." We are to
rejoice in the finished work of Calvary, but there is something
more, a present attainment which is yet to be accomplished.
But all too many Christians are satisfied to rest in positional
truth, or in a future hope.
There is a second group.
"Because thou sayest ..." Rev 3:17a.
There is a vast difference between saying, and possessing.
When Jesus ministered, men marvelled and said,
"Never man spake like this man" John 7:46
"For he taught them as one having authority,
and not as the scribes" Matt 7:29.
Jesus had this authority because the "Word had become
flesh" through His life experience.
Some time ago, I was asked, "Do you remember when you
prayed for my wife?" He then told me that his wife had
chronic back pain, and had been to the best specialist in
the country, but had not received help.
He said, "You prayed for her, and she has never had
a back problem since." Some time before, I had received
a profound healing of my back, and therefore had a confidence
in this area of healing. Thus, there was an authority through
experience which I could not have otherwise had.
"Because thou sayest, I am rich and increased with
goods, and have need of nothing" Rev 3:17a.
These had been exposed to much privilege in ministry and
provision, but had remained satisfied and were seeking nothing
Those in the first group were satisfied with their salvation
and the fact they were going to heaven. The second group rejoiced
in all that had been provided for them, but they were not
appropriating these into their experience.
The Lord is raising up a people for a present purpose and
function. The enemy is not concerned with those who are satisfied
with their judicial position, or those who are waiting for
something in the future.
Once we become active in a present resurrection, we become
a threat to the kingdom of darkness. There is a third group
of whom this is true.
"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia
write ... behold, I have set before thee an
open door, and no man can shut it: for thou
hast a little strength, and hast kept my
word ... I will make them of the synagogue
of Satan ... to come and worship before thy
feet, and to know that I have loved
thee" Rev 3:7-9.
This speaks of a present experience in which we enter a cooperative
relationship with the Lord, and a victory is won over the
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but
against principalities, against powers, against
the rulers of the darkness of this world, against
spiritual wickedness in high places" Eph 6:12.
This wrestling is a present spiritual function.
"In whom ye also are builded together for an
habitation of God through the Spirit ... and
to make all men see what is the fellowship of
the mystery ... to the intent that now unto
the principalities and powers in heavenly
places might be known by the Church the
manifold wisdom of God" Eph 2:22,3:9-10.
There is a two-fold present purpose for those who are redeemed.
To witness to all men the inexpressible joy of fellowship
with Him, and to wrestle, or displace the enemy.
Thus, there is a present warfare, in which we are to displace
Satan and the powers of darkness in the heavenlies with the
present expression of the Kingdom operative within us; righteousness,
peace, and joy.
When the Church arises into a present overcoming experience
and becomes seated with Christ, far above all principality
and power, there will come a present day witness of the Lord
in power and authority, of which this world has little dreamed.
The Lord is knocking on the door. To those who hear and respond,
He is saying,
"After this I looked, and, behold, a door
was opened in heaven: and the first voice
which I heard was as it were of a trumpet
talking with me; which said, Come up hither,
and I will shew thee things which must be
hereafter. And immediately I was in the
spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in
heaven, and One sat on the throne" Rev 4:1-2.
Paul saw this, and sought an out-resurrection into this realm
of spiritual life and experience.