In Philippians 3, Paul contrasts the lifestyle of the mature Christian with the lifestyle suggested by the heretical teachers that were presently dominating the Church. The primary heresy he concentrates on is that of legalism.
There are legalists in abundance today; those who teach that righteousness is attainable through our effort. They confuse believers into thinking that if they fail to live up to Christ’s standard that they forfeit their salvation. But Paul reminds the Philippians that our righteousness is through Christ alone, and that our work is to enjoy greater reward in Heaven.
Paul calls on the Philippians to adopt his heart attitude and approach to life. He adds, rather boldly, that, if there is disagreement in their thinking from his, that God will show them the way over time. This is called “Progressive Revelation.” It suggests that we never reach a point here we stop being learners of Him and of His will for our lives.
As Paul encourages his readers to join him in pressing on in our faith walk, he concludes with a word of exhortation: “Let us live up to what we have already reached.” We have yet to finish the race, but we must fix our eyes on the goal and strive in God’s strength to reach that for which we were called. The one thing we must never consider is turning back. There is no level of attainment that is high enough—we must press on. There is no excuse for quitting.
Paul is not suggesting that we all are at the same place, but he is insisting upon two things: 1) Live up to the place of maturity that you presently occupy, and 2) Keep trying to get better. These things we must do as well.