Paul's testimony of seeking spiritual perfection (Phil 3:8-11).
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
- Paul is set forth as the great example of salvation and sanctification in the New Testament, for us to follow (I Cor 11:1).
- His priorities and spirit show us the kind of life we should aim for to be as pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ as he was.
- A passage like this is a great barometer for your soul, for your response will prove your sincere love of Jesus Christ.
- These words show Paul’s willingness to count all his previous attainments as loss for Christ (3:4-7).
- He had already counted those once gainful things a loss, but he was still resolute here later in life.
- These words are equivalent to our “Without a doubt!” “For sure!” “Absolutely!” and “Yes, indeed!”
- It is a strong affirmation of conviction and willingness to cast all aside for the knowledge of Jesus.
- Paul had no reluctance, resentment, or difficulty giving up anything for the Lord Jesus Christ.
And I count all things but loss
- When compared to the knowledge of Christ Jesus His Lord, Paul accounted all other things a waste.
- He has already itemized some of the things that had once been his great goals, but now were a loss.
- We must count and pay the full cost to be His disciple and to secure His fellowship (Luke 14:25-33).
- Paul gladly gave up all things for Christ. There was no thing and no one too dear to distract Paul.
- He adds to the loss he is willing to absorb anything he had accomplished since his conversion, for he is not merely repeating himself redundantly with 3:7. He is adding more to the “all things.”
For the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:
- The treasure that destroyed the value of all other things in his life was the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
- This is no mere head knowledge of Christ; and it is not merely knowledge of the fact of Jesus Christ.
- He loved everything there was to know about His glorious Saviour, High Priest, Brother, and Friend.
- Do you count – esteem, reckon, regard, hold – the knowledge of Jesus Christ to be truly excellent?
- This is to know of Him doctrinally, to know Him personally, and to know His life experimentally.
- We were given eternal life to know God and His Son Jesus Christ (John 17:3; I John 1:1-4; 5:20).
- A theme of Paul’s prayers was to know Jesus Christ better (Eph 1:17-18; 3:8-9; 3:4-19; Col 2:1-2).
- Peter spoke Jesus Christ being precious, for He should be very precious to believers (I Peter 2:7).
- Let men forsake, neglect, or deny Him: they will face coming judgment soon enough (I Cor 16:22).
- The mystery of Godliness in Christ Jesus is glorious indeed (I Tim 3:16; Colossians 2:2; I Pet 1:12).
- What do you love about Jesus Christ? His birth, peace, ascension, victory, presence, salvation, promises, comfort, example, faithfulness, compassion, glory, tenderness?
- There is an excellent glory in knowing Christ, far beyond what most think (II Cor 4:6; Col 1:25-27).
For whom I have suffered the loss of all things,
- There is not a choice following Jesus Christ; you will lose things for His sake, by His wise design.
- Paul had already been through this painful exchange: he had already lost his standing and reputation.
- The suffering of giving up things for Jesus Christ is a wise exchange (Mat 10:39; 18:8-9; Rom 8:18).
- His were not mere words of testimony or profession, for he had already suffering the loss of all.
And do count them but dung,
- All the things that were once important to Paul, he counted them a loss and merely stinking dung!
- Regardless of whether such language is politically or pulpit correct, it is the Spirit’s choice of words!
- His high valuation and intense pursuit of Jesus Christ made anything else like dung in comparison.
That I may win Christ,
- He wanted to win Christ. What does it mean to win Christ? Is it to beat Him? Or get Him as a prize?
- He wanted a close life of fellowship, affection, and approval with Him, as we might seek a lover.
- Fellowship with Christ is the great goal of the Christian life (Eph 3:14-19; I John 1:1-4; Rev 3:20).
- Compare the descriptive phrases in the very context of this chapter (Philippians 3:9,11,12,14,20-21).
And be found in him,
- He taught plainly and powerfully, “Ye are complete in Him” (Col 2:10). He wanted this position.
- When examination is made in the great day of Judgment, we want to be found in Him and His Book.
- We were chosen and freed from condemnation in Him, which is known by holiness (Romans 8:1).
Not having mine own righteousness,
- Our own righteousnesses are as filthy rags, which cannot justify us before God at all (Isaiah 64:6).
- Jesus will reject all men claiming their righteousness, even in His name (Matt 7:21-23; 22:11-14).
- We prove our position in Him by righteousness (Jas 2:24-26; II Pet 1:1-11; I John 2:29; 3:7).
Which is of the law,
- There is no righteousness to be had by the law (Rom 3:19-20; Gal 3:1-14,22-24; Acts 13:38-39).
- The purpose of the law was designed to show the exceeding sinfulness of sin (Romans 7:13).
But that which is through the faith of Christ,
- We believe His faith and obedience is the legal, meritorious, essential, conditional, and procuring means of justification and righteousness (Rom 5:16-19; I Pet 1:2; II Pet 1:1; I Cor 1:30; II Cor 5:21).
- Our faith in Him, to which we must add works to give it any validity, is only our personal evidence, perception, and confidence of righteousness (James 2:14-26; II Pet 1:1,10; Acts 10:34-35; 13:39).
- Our Lord Jesus Christ had great faith, and He used it in fulfilling all righteousness for us and taking our sins to the cross and death (Ps 22:1-5,8-11,12-21; Is 53:12; Matt 26:39; 27:43; Luke 22:42-44; 23:46; Heb 2:13; 3:1-2; 5:7-9; 11:6; 12:1-3; I Pet 1:2).
- It is His faith by which we are justified before God (Romans 3:22; 5:16-19; Galatians 2:16).
The righteousness which is of God by faith:
- God has faith in Himself and in Christ (Rom 3:24-26; Ps 89:30-33; II Tim 2:13; I Thess 5:23-24).
- And we apprehend and lay hold of this righteousness for our consolation by faith, which He gives.
That I may know him,
- Paul wanted to “know Christ,” though he knew him better than most (I Cor 15:8; Gal 1:11-17).
- He had met Him, heard Him, knew more of Him than any man, and preached Him; but he yet wanted to know Him. What did Paul seek? This must be an intimate, personal, experimental, applied relationship of fellowship with Him. This is not the easy-believism of today or anything close.
And the power of his resurrection,
- He wanted the mighty Spirit power in His life that resurrected Jesus (Eph 1:19-20; Romans 6:36).
- If a man has been resurrected once, he shall be resurrected again (John 5:25-29; Revelation 20:6).
And the fellowship of his sufferings,
- He wanted to learn to suffer as meekly and willingly as had His Lord (John 15:18-25; Rom 8:17-18; Heb 12:1-4; I Pet 2:21-25; 4:1-2,13-14).
- When suffering and grace were explained to Paul, he chose to rejoice in the matter (II Cor 12:7-10).
- He was willing to fulfill that eternal purpose God had for him to suffer for Christ (Acts 9:13-16).
Being made conformable unto his death;
- He wanted to crucify self and have that ultimate willingness for obedience our Lord had in Gethsemane (Acts 20:24; Col 3:1-8).
- Paul was willing to die to sin, as did His Lord; and he was willing also to die for His Lord (II Cor 4:11; Acts 20:24; 21:13).
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
- Though Paul knew Whom he had believed and was confident of his salvation (II Tim 1:12), he yet sought for greater assurance, confidence, and evidence of being in the resurrection of the just, as Peter exhorted his readers to be diligent (II Pet 1:5-11; Acts 24:15).
- There is only one resurrection here, including both the just and unjust (John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15).
- Though Paul knew there are no means to redeem himself or others from the grave (Ps 49:7), yet he did know he could assure his own heart of the matter (I John 3:18-24).
- Paul still knew the danger of his flesh to cause him to be a castaway (I Cor 9:27; I Thess 3:5).