Friday, June 04, 2021

2021.06.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ Philippians 3:8–11

Read Philippians 3:8–11

Questions from the Scripture text: As what does the apostle count all things (Philippians 3:8)? In exchange for what more excellent thing? What has he actually done for Jesus? And how does he count those things he lost? In order to gain what? In what is he found, when he gains Christ (Philippians 3:9)? What does he not have of his own? From what couldn’t he get it? Through what could he get righteousness? From Whom is this righteousness? By what? What three things does he know, having gained Christ (Philippians 3:10)? To what is the apostle conformed by the fellowship that he has in Christ’s sufferings? What is this the means of attaining (Philippians 3:11)?

The apostle has counted as dung all that he previously thought was to his credit (Philippians 3:8). And he’s right. They are as valuable as dung for obtaining the wonderful things in Philippians 3:9-11. Justification (Philippians 3:9), sanctification (Philippians 3:10), and glorification (Philippians 3:11) can only come one way: the excellent knowledge of Christ Jesus—gaining Christ.

Justification, Philippians 3:9. If you have gained Christ, you are found to be righteous in Him (verse 9). The law can’t give you righteousness, because you don’t have any righteousness from yourself for it to bring out. We can only have righteousness that is from God, by faith. And Jesus Himself is that righteousness from God. We must be found in Him.

Sanctification, Philippians 3:10. Being found in Jesus begins a life-long journey of discovery as we know Him, more and more. Believers begin with knowing the power of His resurrection, in that He has made them new. And the more they grow, the more their sufferings take on a marvelous, new aspect: fellowship with Jesus’s sufferings and being pressed into the shape of His death. 

The apostle already preached this mindset in the first half of chapter two. In obedience to the Father and out of love for the church, Jesus was willing to be lowly and to suffer. And the more we grow in knowing Him, the more willing we are to be lowly and to suffer for the glory of God and the good of His people. Our suffering does not atone, but in it we have this likeness to Jesus and His mindset.

Glorification, Philippians 3:11. This knowledge of Jesus that led to our being right with God, and this knowledge of Christ that increases our like-mindedness to Himself, is the same knowledge of Jesus that is the only way of our coming into our own resurrection. On that day, our bodies will be like Jesus’s, just as our mindset will have become like Jesus’s.

Now, what could Paul’s previous spiritual “attainments” have done to produce any of that for him? Indeed, they were useful as dung for justification, sanctification, or glorification. So also is any imagined spiritual strength or goodness from yourself, dear believer. The only thing that can avail for these is the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus your Lord.

When do you feel most spiritually needy? Who can meet that need? When do you feel least spiritually needy? How will you go about reminding yourself that that’s when you’re neediest? 

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH508 “Jesus, Priceless Treasure”

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