Philippians 4 vs 7 - 11
The surpassing worth of knowing Christ
“If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in. Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Is it worth it? Is knowing Jesus worth it? It’s a question any of us can answer only for ourselves but this is true that until we are prepared to forsake everything else to know him, as we’ve been reading this week, we can’t know him and if we do not know him and trust him we cannot have eternal life.
Paul was a big gun in Judaism in the early days of the church, a man entrusted by the High Priest with the persecution of the church and the arrest of Christians. It was a job he loved because he was zealous about Judaism. He was wholly committed to it and proud of his roots and accomplishments in it. He went so far as to say that he was faultless as far as the law was concerned. He was fastidious in keeping all the rules. That though was exactly the problem he was committed to a system of religious observance. It depended on him and how well he performed, but no matter how well he performed in the law and he really did perform, it couldn’t secure eternal life for him. The law just wasn’t capable of doing it.
When Paul encountered the risen Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus, a city in which he hoped to round up a few more Christians, he was transformed by the meeting. If the Philippian Christians had asked him was it all worthwhile leaving behind Judaism, had he any regrets about doing it, his answer is above. All his good works, all that he had done so well he counted garbage so that he could gain Christ and know the righteousness he only can give. Any Christian I know who really knows Jesus would say the same.