THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS
"In Order that I may Attain to the Resurrection from the Dead"
J. Deering, AncientPath.net
BUT NOW, BUT INSTEAD
3:7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
Upon Paul's conversion to Christianity on the road to Damascus, and the vision of Christ encountered there, Paul's life was completely turned around. It was there that Jesus gave him his commission to go to the Gentiles and bring them the Gospel. All that Paul had been, all his importance and heritage, was but loss now in his accounting - for the sake of gaining Christ.
3:8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,
This verse is often lost in the discussions of "Paul, the great Jew, who found Christ." For this verse points to Paul the man, late in years near the end of his ministry, counts ALL THINGS LOSS "in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ." Paul states that he has "forfeited everything" (alt. "often suffered the loss of all things," Gk. panta exaemiwthaen; ) and counted it all "excrement!" (Literally! excrement, dung, etc.). Paul's intention was to shock his readers.
If it's not IN-CHRIST, it's excrement as far as Paul was concerned (Holy Spirit's words). If he had to loose everything - it would be worth it to gain Christ!
Paul's Desire to be Found In Christ
3:9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,
Not to forget... "That I may gain Christ," (3:8) and may be found in Him. We'll put a pause in there so that we can separate the next thought, for gaining Christ and being found in Him are the same things. The next phrase "not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ" also says the same thing, as is, "which comes from God on the basis of faith."
Looks like this...
That I may gain Christ
That I may be found in Christ
That I have righteousness through faith in Christ
That I have righteousness from God on the basis of faith (in Christ).
Paul is saying it over and over again with different words that we would see the importance of his thought. NOTHING HAS ANY VALUE THAT DOES NOT COME TO YOU IN-CHRIST!
He also stresses that any kind of righteousness (seemingly real / perceived) is completely without value if it is not imputed (declared or assigned) directly by God on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ. Paul's audience was struggling with the concept of righteousness. On the one hand their flesh, the world, and the devil, was making demands upon them to accept that by following a law, or rule of life, one could achieve a righteousness of their own based upon their works or struggles to be followers of those laws or rules. This is the manner in which we all wrongly struggle for acceptance (righteousness) before others and ultimately before God.
Paul says that he desires to be found (by God and all others) to possess that true righteousness which is based upon FAITH through Christ, and not be found (by God and all others) to possess that false righteousness which is based upon law or works, which is based upon performance (law, works, etc.).
3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul goes on to say "that" or "with the result that" (on the basis of the fact that Paul is found to have the righteousness that is based upon Faith in God through Jesus Christ) he then has certain rights in-Christ in three special ways that ultimately result in his participation in the resurrection from the dead.
Special Relationship #1
"That I may know Him"
The Greek word here is one of our favorites. Ginowsko, to know, which has that special meaning of knowing something as you would know your mother or father. It is an experiential knowledge that comes with relationship.
Once Paul had received, by grace, the gift of righteousness from God he was placed into a relationship with Christ whereby he could experience Him and know Him, and know Him in ways never possible without that gift of righteousness through faith. It is rather like being invited into the inner circle of the presidency. Being in the inner circle gives you immediate contact with the very president himself - which you could never do outside that inner circle. Paul is saying that, based on faith, we are granted the privilege of being in the inner circle with the Christ. Now you have the opportunity to know Him in ways never available to you outside the inner circle.
Special Relationship #2
"and the power of His resurrection"
Have you ever seen pictures of one of those enormous earth movers they use in strip mining? Half a mile long, 20 stories high, how very imposing and powerful. Yet, as big and powerful as it looks... imagine someone invites you to sit in the operator's seat and run it. Dig in the dirt and watch "train-cars-per-second" fill up. Yes, once in the inner circle you can experience power as you have never dreamed of before.
So it is when you enter into the inner circle of Jesus Christ. Power around you, and power at your command, that is only possible through Christ.
But this earth digger is nothing compared to the awesome power of God as expressed through the resurrection of Christ. The earth digger is a mere machine; a collection of little parts that make an enormous whole. But no match compared to the power of God. The Father brought His dead son back to life. Paul says you can experience (know it like you know you mother) the very power of God as expressed in that resurrection.
Special Relationship #3
"and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death"
Chapter two told us that the Christian life was a complex combination of events "conforming to the image of Christ." God conforms us to the image of Christ by molding us through our knowledge and experience. Whatever we lack in conformity He gives to us through experience. If we lack empathy with others, He works in our lives to produce that empathy. For some it may be sickness or loss and God uses it to model and conform. Whatever it is that we need to make the transition - He provides in order that we would be like Jesus.
Be prepared in your Christian life to join into the "fellowship of His sufferings," for you can't be like Him without them. Being conformed to His death will mean that you may be taken to places in your Christian experience that will require you to submit to God and give up everything that is "self" in order to become conformed to the image of His Son.
The end result: "in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead." This is where every Christian is heading (with the exception of those who are alive at His return to the air when He takes His church into heaven for the Marriage Feast of the Lamb). What a great blessing and honor, to be amongst those who are resurrected from the dead, in Christ, to newness of life, as He did.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
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