Sunday, November 18, 2012

Reflecting on Philippians 3

In November, I am celebrating by reading Philippians thirty times! This week I'm focusing on chapter three. What stands out in this chapter is Paul's reminder to hold on to Christ and Christ alone. Not to have "confidence" in "the flesh"--the formalities, the trappings of faith. He goes on to write that NOTHING in this life is more important than knowing Christ.

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
(Philippians 3:7-11 ESV)

What do we learn? We have no righteousness of our own; it is not possible for us to gain our own righteousness through keeping the law--no matter how wonderful that law is. If we're to be found righteous at all, it is because we've received Christ's righteousness. And this righteousness comes through faith. Through this connection with Christ, we can expect to share in Christ's sufferings but also we can expect to share in Christ's future glory. I found it interesting how other translations chose to translate this verse:
My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead. (Philippians 3:10-11, HCSB)
I want to know Christ--yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10-11, NIV)

We also learn in this chapter that the Christian life should be lived in the present. But a present full of hope for the future glory of heaven.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
(Philippians 3:12-16 ESV)

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
(Philippians 3:20-21 ESV)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

No comments: