By: Waylon Bailey ~
When the apostle Paul described his life, he described it in terms of what he had lost and what he had gained. Philippians 3:1-11 describes this as he wrote to the church at Philippi.
Because of people who were trying to steal the freedom of these new believers, Paul exhorted the church at Philippi to go forward and to stay strong in their commitment to Christ.
Those who would take advantage of the Philippian believers described themselves as people of power and authority and described Paul as not having that. In Philippians 3:1–6, the apostle described his former life. His former life had been one of reputation and power.
We can see this in the account of Saul having been sent to Damascus with letters from the high priest to take into captivity any Jew who professed faith in Christ. The high priest would not have given such authority to just anyone. Paul described how he had been born into Judaism and taught by the great Rabbi Gamaliel.
Paul had a great heritage. He gave all of that up in order to gain Christ. Though his losses had been substantial, he counted them as worthless compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ.
What did he gain?
First, he gained a new way of looking at life. In Paul’s former life, he looked at the world through the eyes of narrow Judaism.
When Paul became a Christian he started seeing that he had been called to take the gospel to the larger Gentile world. Instead of looking at the world through his own eyes, he began to see the world through the eyes of God. He began to see a world hungry and needy for the gospel of Christ.
Second, he started living according to the righteousness of God. For all of his life Paul had tried to establish his own righteousness. This was the way of Judaism in Paul’s day. But Paul came to learn that he could never be righteous apart from God. When Christ died for Paul and revealed Himself on the road to Damascus, Paul discovered the righteousness of God provided by the cross of Christ.
Third, Paul gained an intimate life with Christ. In fact, that’s what he said he wanted in life – – he wanted to know Christ personally.
Finally, Paul gained the power of Christ’s resurrection. As Paul said to the church at Corinth, without the resurrection of Christ our faith is in vain. Paul, James, and Simon Peter all acknowledged the life-giving power of the resurrection.
It is the resurrection that gives us living hope.
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