Exploring the Six Great Blessings in Christ

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In Philippians 3:7-8, Paul willingly denounced the things which defined him as a Pharisee. His position as a Jewish leader could not avail the exceptional benefits which are in Christ Jesus, for the things which Paul discovered in the Lord are far greater than what was his in Judaism. Herein we will notice six things the apostle found in Jesus (Philippians 3:8-11).

The Excellence of the Knowledge of Christ Jesus

Knowledge is important. There are many things we can learn in this world, yet all the knowledge this world offers cannot affect the redemption of our souls. Only the knowledge of our Lord can impact salvation, thus the excellence of the knowledge of Christ. The word for “excellence” (NKJV) is rendered “surpassing value” (NASB) or “infinite value” (NLT). Writing to the brethren in Rome, Paul esteemed

“…the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out” (Romans 11:33).

The apostle Peter also expressed the tremendous value of the knowledge of Christ, saying,

“…His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue…” (2 Peter 1:3).

His Righteousness, Not My Own

Paul sought to

“…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…” (Philippians 3:9)

Righteousness is about justification; about being found right, innocent, or holy before God. As a Pharisee, Paul found great satisfaction in his own righteousness achieved through the Law of Moses. In fact, he identified himself as “blameless” so far as righteousness pertaining to the law (v 6). However, Paul’s best efforts at keeping Moses’ law were inadequate. Of national Israel, Paul concluded:

…Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. … For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. (Romans 9:31; 10:3)

How could he make such a broad-sweeping assessment of the nation? Because he’d already come to the same conclusion for himself. Formerly, he pursued righteousness by the law and failed. He came to realize his need for the Saviour and for the righteousness which comes by faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:21; 3:21-24). Jesus alone can provide true forgiveness from sin and thus Jesus alone can make us righteous and blameless before God.

To Know Him

Philippians 3:10 begins, “…that I may know Him…”  What a beautiful and crucial consideration. Why did Paul pursue the knowledge of Jesus and yield to the righteousness which can be found in Him alone? So that he might know Christ. Not to just know about Him – not some intellectual or theoretical or theological knowledge about the Messiah – but to know Him.

Describing this phrase, Robertson’s NT Word Pictures states, “to have personal acquaintance or experience with.” We do not want a peripheral or superficial relationship to our Lord. Peter recognized the genuine faith and confidence in the Lord in people who never had an opportunity to walk or talk with Jesus (1 Peter 1:7). Of their relationship to Jesus, he acknowledged,

…whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory… (1 Peter 1:8)

Jesus is far more than a historical figure to learn trivial matters about; He is our living and abiding Saviour who has promised to be with us to the end (Matthew 28:20; Galatians 2:20; Revelation 3:20).

To know the power of His resurrection

There are many great and wonderful things to know about our Saviour. Perhaps the most monumental is the power of His resurrection. Of Jesus’ resurrection, Peter said,

…God raised him up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. (Acts 2:24)

Because He is risen, those who come to Him are able to experience the power of His resurrection. Jesus promised that all who come to him would have “…everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but have passed from death into life” (John 5:24). We still die physically – but don’t fret, He’ll eventually take care of that. But first, though we were dead in sin, Jesus Christ has raised us to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12; 3:1). We have spiritual life in Him!

The power of His resurrection has blessed us with freedom from sin, leading to a more abundant life in the present, and culminating with eternal life in the hereafter (John 10:10; 1 John 5:11).

To know the fellowship of His sufferings

Fellowship is a wonderful thing. The Scriptures use it to speak of relationships. The apostle John spoke of our fellowship or union with one another, with the apostles, and with the Lord God (1 John 1:3, 7). But what is this “…fellowship of His sufferings…” Paul spoke of, and why would one desire to know a fellowship of suffering?

Jesus suffered immensely for us: the just for the unjust, the innocent for the guilty, His life for our life. We will never grasp the magnitude of sacrifice He made on our behalf. We cannot adequately appraise or measure the value of the Son of God dying on our behalf. Paul, aware of his indebtedness to the Christ, wrote to the Colossians,

I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church… (Colossians 1:24)

Although Paul suffered greatly for his faith (2 Corinthians 11:23-28), he perceived the tremendous deficit which both he and we have. It is not that he thought he could somehow bridge the disparity. He could not, nor can we. But he acknowledged his responsibility to the Lord and His people and would gladly suffer whatever trials came his way (2 Corinthians 4:17; Romans 8:17), thus sharing fellowship with our Lord in sufferings.

To attain to the resurrection from the dead

“The power of His resurrection” has afforded us the forgiveness of our sins and the hope of eternal life in heaven. Verse 11 speaks of the realization of this hope. The resurrection from the dead is a fundamental doctrine of Christianity, without which faith in and devotion to God is meaningless. Paul asserted:

…if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching in empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found to be false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up – if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. … If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. (1 Corinthians 15:13-17, 19)

However, Paul triumphantly declared “…Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20). Jesus’ resurrection provides certainty that we also will be raised from the dead at His coming (1 Thessalonians 4:16; John 5:28-29). Thus, Paul could confidently affirm:

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body… (Philippians 3:20-21)

Jesus imparts so many wonderful blessings to those who follow Him. Will you come to Him and be a recipient of His great and precious promises?

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