The True Ground of a Sinner's Hope
Philippians 3:8-11
Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…

The apostle then sets forth, in very impressive terms, the familiar way of salvation: "That I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith." Consider -

I. CHRIST THE PRESENT GAIN AND THE PRESENT SHELTER OF THE SINNER. The subject is presented under two aspects.

1. Christ the present Gain of the sinner. "That I may gain Christ." Consider:

(1) The person to be gained. "Christ." The Lord of heaven and earth, who has all treasures of happiness in his keeping, who is the supreme object of angelic worship and saintly adoration. It is the Lord, not man, even the highest man on earth, whose favor can prosper or save us.

(2) How is Christ to be gained?

(a) Not by tears;

(b) nor by confession to a priest;

(c) not by good works;

(d) nor even by our "suffering the loss of all things."

We gain Christ simply in the act of our believing; but, in accepting the righteousness of God in him by faith, we throw overboard all our righteousness and all our unrighteousness, just as the shipwrecked sailor, to save his life and his ship, throws his precious cargo into the sea.

(3) The peculiar characteristics of this gain.

(a) A man may gain much in this life and yet lose it again. This cannot be the case of the sinner who gains Christ.

(b) A man may gain much and be disappointed after all. The world is full of such disillusionments. But the sinner who gains Christ obtains bliss without end.

(c) If a sinner does not gain Christ he loses his immortal soul. Christ is the one star of hope in the sky of heaven.

2. Christ the present Shelter of the sinner. "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith."

(1) The apostle repudiates all dependence on his own personal righteousness, even upon that righteousness which is of the Law, touching which he considered himself "blameless" from the Pharisaic standpoint.

(a) It is in keeping with his doctrine everywhere (Romans 2:20; Galatians 2:16.

(b) Human experience confirms the statement of the prophet that "all our righteous-nesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6).

(c) Salvation is everywhere in Scripture represented, not as of debt, but as of flee grace (Romans 4:4, 5).

(2) His entire dependence is on another's righteousness, which is described in two forms.

(a) "That which is through the faith of Christ;" that is, a righteousness which becomes ours through our believing in Christ, faith being in this case merely the receptive organ or instrumental cause.

(b) "The righteousness of God by faith;" that is, the righteousness which God provides for man's salvation as received by faith. The whole phaseology is thoroughly Pauline (see homiletical hints on Galatians 2:16).

II. THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST AS CONNECTED WITH THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS. "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death." The saving knowledge of Christ must take in the fact of his resurrection as well as the fact of his death, because his resurrection was but the seal and crown of his redeeming sacrifice. Therefore the believer's aspiration is always to know Christ in the power of his resurrection.

1. "The power of his resurrection.

(1) There is a polemic aspect of this power; for he is declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:3, 4).

(2) Where is an apologetic aspect of it, as attesting his Divine mission (1 Corinthians 15:15).

(3) There is a dogmatic aspect of it, as indicating the acceptance of his sacrifice, and as it is the pledge of our justification (Romans 4:24, 25).

(4) There is an ethical aspect of it, presented by its relation to our pursuit of holiness.

(a) It is the resurrection-power of Christ which gives the new life. "Because I live ye shall live also" (John 14:19).

(b) It is by virtue of the resurrection that the Holy Ghost comes to abide in the Church, as a Spirit of truth, grace, and consolation.

(c) It is By the same power we are enabled to subdue sin (Ephesians 1:19, 20; Romans 6.; Galatians 2:20).

(d) It is the same power which inspires here (1 Peter 1:3; 1 Corinthians 15.; Colossians 1:5).

(5) It has a prophetic aspect; for it is the pledge of our future resurrection (Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 4:14).

2. "The fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death. We are to share in the sufferings he suffered, and to drink of the cup which he drank, not in relation merely to the suffering of persecution, but all suffering that arises out of our conflict with sin. We can thus understand such passages as 2 Corinthians 1:5; 1 Peter 4:13; Romans 6:5; Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:11, 12.

III. THE ULTIMATE OBJECT CONTEMPLATED BY THE APOSTLE. If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection from the dead."

1. What he desired in, the future.

(1) Not a part in the general resurrection.

(2) Not spiritual resurrection, for that was already past.

(3) But a part in the resurrection of the just (Luke 20:35; Acts 4:2; 1 Peter 1:3). It is the resurrection of life.

2. Why he desired it.

(1) It would be final escape from evil.

(2) It would be the occasion of his final and blessed recognition by his Savior-Judge.

(3) It would be a pledge of his eternal happiness in heaven.

3. What his desire implies.

(1) A high appreciation of the value of this resurrection from the dead.

(2) A sense of its difficulty, as regarded from the human side.

(3) The persuasion of it may be attained in various degrees. There is a touch of hypothetic humility in his language.

(4) A disposition to submit to all providential arrangements that lead to it. - T.C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

WEB: Yes most certainly, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and count them nothing but refuse, that I may gain Christ

The Superiority of the Knowledge of Christ
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