But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
This past week we have been focused on the cross and Jesus' death. Rightfully so, but we must remember:
NO CROSS - NO RESURRECTION! NO RESURRECTION - NO LIFE!
Paul expresses his faith in the finished work of the cross and the power of the resurrection in this text. He is saying that the privileges he had as a Jew are worthless in comparison to the knowledge and experience of the Lord Jesus Christ that he gained through the intimate companionship and communion with Him. He says, "I count them as rubbish (KJV says 'dung') -- worth nothing except to be thrown away, so that he can gain Christ. Because next to Christ, everything else is nothing!!!!
Paul is not denigrating himself here when he recognizes that he has no righteousness that can be called his own -- especially in things that pertain to law-keeping. He is not saying that het is willfully disobedient. He is simply saying that he is seeing himself in the light of the cross of Christ and in the righteousness of Christ and Paul wants to be like Jesus! You see, righteousness comes only when Christ abides in us and we abide in Christ, as Jesus said in John 15:4, "Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me." Then and only then, can we secure the spotless righteousness made possible by Jesus death on the cross. Then and only then, it is not a matter of ethics, of whether it is right or wrong, but it becomes a matter of "is it like Christ?"
Paul is saying that to be united with Christ by a living faith and with its focus on the cross of Christ I must know Him. But how do you really get to know someone? By living with them! By doing what they do! Paul, I believe, is saying here, "I finally know what it is to be raised with Jesus in newness of life.
Romans 6:3-5 (NKJV)
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead aby the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.
Paul continues in Phil. 3:10, Okay, not only should we know Him and His finished work on the cross and in the power of the resurrection, we have to know Him in the fellowship of His suffering. Paul is offering to go above and beyond "imitating" Christ. He is offering to actually "participate" in His suffering. He is renouncing his own life and "living IN CHRIST" and finding a new Life!
In Phil. 3:11, Paul wants to "attain" unto the resurrection of the dead. So how does he "arrive" at his goal, or how does he "get" to his goal? Simply by dying at the cross of Christ, going to the grave and being baptized unto the death of Christ, and then attaining unto the resurrection of the dead, being resurrected into newness of life. This is being "in Christ," and means victory over all sin.
Let's look at Romans 6:3-5 again. (NKJV)
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.
Now read Romans 6:11, Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is dead to sin and you are IN CHRIST JESUS and HE IS IN YOU and now you are free from sin. You are free from sin, free from the bondage of sin, from the suffering of sin, from the heartache of sin, from the moral corruption of sin. YOU ARE FREE FROM SIN!
Oh, yes, you are still in the flesh, but now you are dead to sin, alive in Christ, and you are an overcomer over the flesh and its passions and desires.
Romans 6:7 For he who as died has been freed from sin.
Romans 8:13 - For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Galatians 5:17 - For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
Galatians 5:24-25 - And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
1 John 2:16--17 For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
1 Peter 1:11-12 -- Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having you conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by yours good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. (the day of Grace, when God deals with the Gentiles).
How are you going to do this? YOU ARE FREE FROM SIN!!!
Jesus died on the cross to set us free from the curse of sin, and all of its consequences -- even the wrath of God, whom the Bible says hates sin.
SO WE ARE FREE FROM SIN AND HAVE NEW LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS --
John 10:10 -- The this does not come except to steal, and kill, and destroy.
Satan will try to steal your victory, kill your joy, and destroy your faith. Don't let him!
The rest of that verse is "I HAVE COME THAT THEY MAY HAVE LIFE, AND THAT THEY MAY HAVE IT MORE ABUNDANTLY.
Just before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he said to Martha in John 11:25, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live."
Jesus gives life to those who believe -- truly believe -- in Him!
He gives us abundant life -- a life that the world cannot know -- a life all men desire -- a life of freedom here and now. He also offers life after death and promises to come to all who believe and take us to where He is.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Today, I want to comfort you. We have LIFE. We have JOY. We have PEACE.
BECAUSE HE LIVES, WE CAN LIVE ALSO.
WE LIVE IN CHRIST AND OVERCOME BY THE POWER OF THE RESURRECTION!