But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord (Philippians 3:7,8).
In the three verses prior to our text, Paul focused on his Jewish heritage, his past accomplishments, and his blameless lifestyle, claiming that, If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more (v.4). If it were possible to be saved by works, Paul would have been.
But look at how Paul evaluated his sterling past. First he said: I count all things but loss. This is a banking term, indicating a financial liability on a total business loss. Furthermore, he considered all these things dunghuman waste or garbagethe lowest possible evaluation.
In verses 7 through 9, Paul revealed his new-found focus in life by the repeated use of the name of his Lord: I counted loss for Christ . . . the excellency of the knowledge of Christ . . . that I may win Christ . . . the faith of Christ. He mirrors here the mind of Jesus, who said: For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Matthew 16:26).
His goal in life was now two-fold; first, the knowledge of Christ. That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death (Philippians 3:10). Second, to be found in Him, not through his own righteousness, which is of the law (v.9), but through the righteousness which is of God by faith in Christ.
In these days of large churches, nationally known preachers, denominational pride, and emphasis on personal accomplishments, may our priorities be the same as Paulsto know Christ and to be found in Him. JDM