Image

Double-Edged Sword: The Power of the Word - Philippians 3:7-11

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, 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 is through faith in Christ— the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 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.

Outside of Christ himself, nobody influenced Christianity more than the Apostle Paul. He wrote almost half of the books in the New Testament. Before his conversion, he was named after King Saul, a notoriously prideful man. Paul was one of the most educated Jewish Pharisees in history and studied under the most learned religious leaders. But the name Paul, a name he took up after his conversion, means "small" or "humble." Before his conversion, he was a leader in the persecution of the Church and in an instant Paul was confronted by the risen Lord and his pride was crucified.

What does Paul mean when he says he has lost all things? He is simply explaining the power of grace over justification through the law. He realizes he never really did keep and uphold the law despite all his knowledge of God.

Everything in his life up to that point was a waste and loss compared to knowledge of gaining Christ and knowing Him. When Paul talks about knowing the power of His resurrection and participating in His sufferings, he also is committed to backing that statement up with action. Paul was committed to spreading the Gospel through action and sacrifice despite the cost.

Throughout his ministry, Paul is continually trying to conform himself to the image of Christ. Today lots of people in the world and in the Church want to act like a god but they don't want to act like Christ. Listen to the words of Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: "Although I am less than the least of all the Lord's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ." (Ephesians 3:8)

Paul understands our fate and our hope rests in Christ and His resurrection from the dead. He is often called "The Apostle of Grace." For Christians, he is a man to emulate, simply because nobody was closer to the heart of our risen Lord.