Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Knowing Christ

In contrast to Paul's pre-Chritian confidence in the flesh (verses 4-6), verses 7-14 show Paul's confidence in Christ. Compared to the surpassing greatness (infinite value) of knowing Christ Jesus, Paul considered everything else a loss (no use). "All true Christians know Christ--not with a mere theoretical knowledge, which may be obtained from books; but with a knowledge which the Holy Spirit works in the heart. We know Christ...in the glory of His person, in the perfection of His work, and in the riches of His wondrous grace. We so know Christ, that He stands out before us, as the chief among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely One. And the more we know Him--the more intimate we wish to become with Him!" (James Smith)

Nothing can compare to our union with Christ. Compared to Christ, all things of this world are worthless. "A holy soul, whose eyes are divinely opened, so sees that superlative goodness, beauty, and excellency in Christ--that all other things, which are good with an inferior goodness, seem to him as dross and dung!" (Thomas Dolittle) 

For Christ's sake, Paul had lost all things, including the comforts of life. He suffered afflictions and persecutions for preaching Christ. He had been beaten, lied about, and imprisoned. But he didn't mind because he gained Christ. When we have Christ, we have everything we need. Christ is mine; all is well. And when Jesus is your joy, no one and nothing can take away your joy because Jesus cannot be taken away from you. Paul proved that. Let us be thankful and joyful for all the precious promises we have in Christ, all the graces, blessings, and comforts we receive from Him, and the glory we will enjoy with Him for eternity.

"All that Christ has--is mine!
Christ's love is mine to pity me! 
Christ's mercy is mine to save me! 
Christ's graces are mine to beautify me! 
Christ's power is mine to protect me! 
Christ's wisdom is mine to counsel me! 
Christ's Spirit is mine to comfort me! 
Christ's Word is mine to teach me!
Christ's glory is mine to crown me!" (William Dyer)

Through faith in Christ, we, like Paul, have Christ's righteousness imputed upon us. This righteousness comes from God, not from the law (not from us keeping the law). "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags." (Isaiah 64:6a)

"He (Paul) says, 'that I may KNOW Him!' (Philippians 3:10.) Christ had appeared to Paul, he was revealed in him, and was constantly preached by him. Christ was . . .
  the object of his trust, 
  the subject of his ministry,
  and the joy of his heart! 

But he knew that there was much in Christ with which he was unacquainted. He knew but in part. He desired, therefore, to know more of . . .
  the glory of His person, 
  the riches of His grace, 
  the magnificence of His work, 
  the excellency of His natures, 
  the majesty of His kingdom! 

Everything in Christ interested Paul. Creation was good--and grace was better; but Christ was best of all. He was never wearied . . . 
  of thinking of Christ,
  of speaking of Christ, 
  of learning of Christ. 

He went on with his work, he went on his way--with the desire constantly rising in his heart, 'That I may know Him!'" (James Smith)

I Know Christ (by Margaret E. Clarkson)

I do not know tomorrow’s way,
If dark or gladsome it may be;
But I know Christ, and come what may,
I know that He abides with me.

I do not know what may befall
Of grief or gladness, peace or pain;
But I know Christ, and through it all
I know His presence will sustain.

To Ponder: Is it your daily heart's desire and constant aim to know Christ more and more...and to make Him known? Is Christ your Joy and Delight? Do you prefer the trifling vanities, fading riches, empty honors, fleeting pleasures of this world to the glorious treasures and endless pleasures found in Christ?

Prayer: Abba Father, thank You for Christ's blood that washed away my sin and for Christ's righteousness that's imputed to me! Thank You for all that I have in Christ! Please help me know Christ more and better each day. May my mind dwell on Christ and my heart treasure Christ above all else! In Christ's Name, I pray. Amen.

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