Phil. 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as dung, in order that I may gain Christ.
This is the very heartbeat of our Christian faith, that I might know Him. It is in knowing Him that I am changed. It is in knowing Him that I am satisfied. Everything else seems to end up in some sort of self help maneuver or, as Paul called it, the mutilation or the false circumcision. Every new teaching has some sort of angle. Somehow it turns in to me doing something and at the same time justifying my carnality. The message of the cross annihilates both. Our darkest sins are covered by His blood and at the same time calls us to and holds us to a higher standard of holiness. Here are some thoughts from Adam Clarke on today’s verse.
“That superior light, information, and blessedness which come through the Gospel of Jesus Christ; justification through his blood, sanctification by his Spirit, and eternal glory through his merits and intercession. These are the blessings held out to us by the Gospel, of which, and the law, Jesus Christ is the sum and substance.”
Clarke nails it. He says the cross justifies, makes us holy by faith. It also sanctifies, changes the way we live our lives. Then he reminds us that it calls us to a holy life focused on the glory to come. Then Clarke compares this new life to the one we left. Check this out.
“And do count them but dung. The word dung means the vilest dross or refuse of any thing; the worst excrement. The word shows how utterly insignificant and unavailing, in point of salvation, the apostle esteemed every thing but the Gospel of Jesus. With his best things he freely parted, judging them all loss while put in the place of Christ crucified; and Christ crucified he esteemed infinite gain, when compared with all the rest. Of the utter unavailableness of any thing but Christ to save the soul the Apostle Paul stands as an incontrovertible proof.”
Everything we used to have, even the greatest of our accomplishments, turns into filth in comparison to the new life purchased for us in Christ. Have you seen the value of this life for yourself? If so, you too are pressing on to know Him in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering.