Verse 16 adds an exhortation not to slip from what has already been attained. Our aim in life is to so know Christ—to be so united with Him—that day by day we share the life He lived, walk as He walked, even suffer as He did. We grow in His faith and come to share His hopes, joys, sorrows, and disappointments. We bear the stake and perhaps, as some have, die the death He died. In this way, we are sharing life with Christ, and through this process, we are perfected.
We are not complete yet, so we must press on. God has grasped us as well, not in the same abrupt manner He demonstrated with Paul, but He undoubtedly has laid hold on us. It is comforting to know that in Philippians 1:6 He tells us He is able to finish what He has begun. He will finish His creative work if we give Him the chance.
Because of Jesus Christ, God accepts us, and we have access to Him. As we are being perfected, we should see ever more clearly the standard of conduct God requires of us. It is indeed a high standard, but at the same time, our acceptance should give us peace to live confidently. The death penalty is no longer hanging over us; we do not have to feel guilty. Since the standard is to come "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13), we are given goals that will always be higher than we can reach. We will always have something to strive for, so we cannot honestly say we are "rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," as the Laodicean so proudly proclaims (Revelation 3:17).
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Nine): Conclusion (Part Two)