Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10 That ye may approve things that are excellent (DISTINGUISH THE THINGS THAT DIFFER); that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; 11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
One of the most edifying illuminations a believer can receive is an understanding of the difference between his position in Christ and his every day practice, or his standing in Christ by the grace of God versus his state, his walk, or his condition. Our STANDING is what we are in Christ before God; our STATE is what we are in experience, in our walk, in the world, before others. The difference reflects two different realms we exist in: the spiritual realm and the natural realm; two different aspects of truth: positional truth versus temporal truth. The believer that is able to DISTINGUISH THE THINGS THAT DIFFER will be a very happy Christian filled with joy.
Here are some examples:
We are accepted in the beloved Eph. 1:6 but we are to labor to be accepted of Him 2 Cor. 5:9.
We have peace with God Rm. 5:1 but need to experience the peace of God Phil. 4:6, 7.
We are perfected forever Heb. 10:12 but are not already perfect Phil. 3:12.
Jesus is made unto us sanctification 1 Cor. 1:30 yet the will of God is our sanctification by abstaining from fornication 1 Thess. 4:3.
No works for salvation Eph. 2:7-9 yet works from salvation Eph. 2:10.
We are in Christ Eph. 2:6 yet Christ is in us Col. 1:27.
We are seated in heavenly places far above all principalities and powers in Christ Eph. 1:21-23, 2:6 yet we have to put on armor as we wrestle with principalities and powers Eph. 6:10-12.
We have forgiveness of sins Eph. 1:7 yet if we confess our sins He is faithful to forgive us 1 Jn. 1:9.
We are called saints 1 Cor. 1:2 by His grace not our merits yet we must walk worthy of our calling Eph. 4:1.
We have forgiveness of sins Eph. 1:7 yet we confess our sins to be forgiven 1 Jn. 1:9.