Philippiansby David Sanford
It's not enough for Paul to warn against false teachers and evildoers. It's not even enough for him to confess his own pretentious-spirituality and bloodthirstiness (before he became a follower of Jesus). At one time, Paul greatly valued his impeccable religious pedigree (Philippians 3:7), but now, ″I consider everything a loss″ (v. 8).
After considering everything ″garbage″ (v. 8), Paul exchanges his confidence in his religious pedigree and the law for a confidence in Jesus Christ on the basis of faith (v. 9). This ultimate exchange began the day he put his trust in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour (v. 9)-and it continues as Paul's life in Christ is worked out on a daily basis.
What does each new day in Christ offer Paul? It is this: ″The surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord″ (v. 8). It's not enough to meet the Saviour; Paul also wants to fall more and more in love with Him.
How does Paul want to know Christ better? He lists three ways:
First, Paul wants to know ″the power of [Christ's] resurrection″ (v. 10). In Romans 1:4, the apostle identifies that power with ″the Spirit of holiness″ through whom the Son of God was appointed ″in power by his resurrection from the dead″. He also identifies that power with the life-transforming gospel of salvation (1:16). God's power alone helps us grasp Jesus Christ's infinite love for us. And God's power alone will raise us from the dead and clothe us in new, immortal bodies forever.
Second, Paul wants to participate in Christ's sufferings, ″becoming like him in his death″ (Philippians 3:10). He connects suffering for the gospel with God's power (2 Timothy 1:8), which made it possible for the twelve apostles to rejoice ″because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name″ of Jesus (Acts 5:41). Instead of instilling shame or despair, suffering offers the promise of future glory (Romans 8:17).
Third, Paul wants to ″[attain] to the resurrection from the dead″ (Philippians 3:11). With courage, he repeatedly declares that he stands on trial because of the hope of ″the resurrection of the dead″ (Acts 23:6; 24:21). Paul looks forward to a physical resurrection like that of Jesus, in a glorified human body (Romans 6:5). As we finish today's devotion, let's take a moment to reflect: Do we long to know Christ Jesus in the three ways Paul did?
God's power enables us to grasp Jesus' love for us and to remain fearless in the face of opposition. What do you need God's power for today?
Are you willing to suffer for Jesus Christ? If so, for what reasons?
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