Our new reality in Christ
Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! Philippians 3:8-11
Before Paul’s conversion, obedience to the Old Testament law was all consuming; now it is Jesus Christ who is his focus. From the text, Christ’ name is all over his writing: “the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8); “I could gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8); “become one with him” (Philippians 3:9); “righteous through faith in Christ” (Philippians 3:9); “know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead” (Philippians 3:10). Jesus Christ was Paul’s goal, his motivation, his source, and his hope. Before, the focus was on the law, now, it is on a person. Paul manifested a transformation in his thinking; his perspective or world view of all reality. His reality is found in Christ. He now has an understanding that is valuable and real in personal experience. He discovered that real righteousness is only found in Jesus Christ and not through personal merit. He came to understand that his keeping of the law was in an external fashion only and God’s demand for perfect righteousness was so radical and full that it included even internal desires. This hit Paul with devastating impact. He realized that all he had done was in the way of external works, yet internally he knew he had not really kept the law of God and, therefore, fell far short of God’s demand for perfect righteousness. “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23). Once we receive from Christ the fulfillment of our greatest longing, the longing for righteousness, just like Paul we will find ourselves with a new longing. We will long to know Christ in an intimate way; to know in particular the power of Christ’s resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings (Philippians 3:10). This longing makes perfect sense because sin hinders us from growing in the knowledge of God.