Focal point – 3:7-8 “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 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.”
Paul had a great love for the Philippians. He sent Timothy there to teach them after he left them. Paul sent Epaphroditus to the Philippian Christians when he was sick and they worried about him. Now, in this brief passage, Paul came to one of the main points of this letter. Impure men, the “dogs” Paul mentioned in verse two, told the Gentile Christians they had to be circumcised to become Christians. In essence, they had to follow the Law of God to become a Christian. Paul commanded the Philippian Christians to “beware of the evil workers.” He wanted them to understand about these impure men and to know something without doubt.
What did Paul want them to know? He told them works of the flesh, anything they did or could do, would not give them salvation. Those “dogs” taught a false circumcision because it was not needed for believers to receive salvation and become children of God. Paul said if anyone had worked and earned that right, it was he. In verses five and six. Paul had been a Jew among Jews. He was high-ranking and yet, his works did not give him salvation from his sins and the penalty of sins. His righteousness according the the Law was blameless. If anyone could have acquired salvation through the Law of God, Paul would have received it. He encountered Christ on the road to Damascus and learned his actions did and would not give him salvation(Acts 9) .
Paul learned he could not have confidence in the flesh to bring him salvation. He said in verse nine righteousness comes through faith in Christ and comes from God on the basis of faith. This means nothing we do can give us salvation from our sins and eternal life with God. When Paul heard and realized this, he counted everything he had ever done as loss. Nothing he owned, no status he acquired, no zealous legal act he did would make him pure and righteousness. Paul counted all these things before his encounter with Christ as loss – worth nothing. These actions could not make him righteous.
What then is valuable? Paul answered this in verse eight. He said, “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.” He learned a relationship with Jesus Christ is more valuable than anything he could earn, attain, or do because none of them gave him righteousness – a right being, not just a status. Paul said he gave up all earthly things and ambitions for the sake of “knowing Him (Christ) and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death in order that I (he) may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Phil 3:10-11 [NASB]) All he had was of no value when compared to who Jesus Christ is and what He gives.
Can we say that? Is everything we have done to earn status in society and acquire value on earth worth nothing? Can we say that like Paul did? So many people live their lives to buy things – a new, flashier car or a bigger, grander house. People pursue more education or they attain to higher job positions to gain recognition in society. The challenge though comes where Christ met Paul.
Will you hear God tell you He has provided salvation for you? Do you let your heart respond to something you cannot give yourself, something that requires you to give up control? Paul in his high status and learned state could not give himself salvation. He could only attain to fulfilling his physical needs. Everything he did could not touch his spiritual need – relationship with God and salvation (saving) from his misdeeds/sin. When Christ confronted him, Paul recognized his spiritual need, a part of himself for which he could not provide. He recognized Jesus as the Messiah foretold and his spiritual void in the midst of his physical attainments. Paul realized his sinfulness and need to be made righteous. Only God could give him that. This Messiah, Paul understood, is God’s way of providing permanent redemption and cleansing from sin.
Will you recognize your sinfulness?
Will you recognize Jesus Christ as God’s way to redemption, purity, and relationship with Himself?
Will you count all your things and status in society as loss compared to knowing Jesus Christ as Paul did?
Today is your chance to learn about Jesus Christ,
hear from His heart, and
choose to be His disciple.
What will you choose?