Friday, January 18, 2013

Gaining in Jesus Christ

Paul continues to write, in Philippians 3:7-11, about his thought of being in Christ Jesus.   He believes that none of the achievements accomplished here on this earth compare to the value of knowing Jesus Christ.   In verse 5, Paul mentioned his credentials (read 2 Corinthians 11:22-33, also), his high level of achievement according to society, however it was only in Jesus Christ, Paul found the true meaning of what it means to live and have value (Micah 6:5-8).

In our study today, Paul compares his past with the present, speaking in financial terms (gains/losses).  His experience of the Damascus Road removed him from everything he previously held dear.  Even his status among the Pharisee as a highly learned student of the scripture was considered rubbish.  All because his conversion experience in the past continues to affect the present.   Although Paul’s life and ministry in Christ had not been easy, he had no regrets, because what he had gained outweighed everything he had lost.  He was thankful that he knew Jesus Christ in a deep and personal way and was filled with His will.  Jesus was his Lord.

In verse 9, Paul distinguishes between self-made righteousness and the righteousness which is of God by faith.  His aim was to be found righteous before God in judgment, which meant he wanted a righteousness that was not of his own making. This righteousness comes from having faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, meaning that we cannot make ourselves righteous in God’s eyes.  A reference to Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boost.  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  It is, therefore, by the finished work of Jesus Christ at Calvary that we stand in right relationship with God.

Paul wanted to fully understand the power of his resurrection and sufferings.  He accepted the realization that being apprehended by Jesus Christ brings about change (gains, not losses).  Each believer experiences the power of the Resurrection when he or she dies to sin and self.  The Holy Spirit transforms you to a life of holiness.   He removes bitterness and replaces it with sweetness, but it does not mean exemption from trials.  Remember, it is the power of the Resurrection that transforms you!

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