“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3.7-11
Paul’s statement in v.7 is perhaps one of his most formative statements in my life and walk with Christ. Right after he’s completed a status/position dump on all his qualifications on why he’s a worthy Jew, he turns around and says this — “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” Paul tells us everything important about him ”worldly speaking” so as to now tell us that all of this doesn’t matter worth a darn. What matters is knowing Christ as Lord, v.8.
Paul was a big deal in society. He was a leader among his people, Jew of the Jews, well educated, wealthy, important, popular. He was even righteous according to the Law of Moses. But none of this matters. What does matter to Paul, and should matter to us, is knowing the God of the Universe through the Person of Jesus Christ. ”But whatever were gains to me,” Paul says, ”I now consider them loss,” or ”garbage,” that I may gain Christ.
The righteousness that ”comes from God” is based not on all our good deeds or accomplishments but on faith. I am proven worthy by God not because of who I am or what I do but because of who He is and what He has done. My believing in the works of Christ, my trusting in his sacrifice to save me, this is what makes me righteous. His substitution for my sin redeems my soul.
Paul simply wants to know Christ, v.10. As well as the ”power of his resurrection” and also to ”participate in his sufferings, becoming like him in death.” So that, Paul might ”attain the resurrection of the dead.” In other words, Paul is willing to give up everything in order to be with Jesus in this life and in the life to come.
Isn’t this the good news of the Gospel? To know God and to be known by him? To realize that our lives matter so much to God that he might provide a way for us to live with him for eternity in Eternity? Christ died so we might be with him and to be like him. Our righteousness comes not from self-works but self-denial. It comes from sacrificing my life to the cause of Christ and by believing upon his name.
Have you believed? Have you tried to gain significance in what you do? How much money you make? Your level of popularity? Your proliferation of titles? Let Christ reign in you. Consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing Greatness of knowing Christ. This is when and where we will find true and meaningful happiness.
“O Lord God, you are good…to live in the world but not of the world is such a challenge. It is difficult to not find significance in what others think of us or of what we accomplish in this life. But our truth comes comes from you. Come down to us once again. Return to us O Lord. Help us return to our first love and find fulfillment in your power and presence. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen