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The Excellence of Knowing Christ Jesus

But what things were gains to me, these I have counted as loss on account of Christ. But moreover I also count all things to be loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as refuse that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness which is out of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is out of God and based on faith, to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, If perhaps I may attain to the out-resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained or am already perfected, but I pursue, if even I may lay hold of that for which I also have been laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not account of myself to have laid hold; but one thing I do: Forgetting the things which are behind and stretching forward to the things which are before, I pursue toward the goal for the prize to which God in Christ Jesus has called me upward. Let us therefore, as many as are full-grown, have this mind; and if in anything you are otherwise minded, this also God will reveal to you. Nevertheless whereunto we have attained, by the same rule let us walk. [Phil 3:7-16]

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, do you know what the purpose of our salvation is? The purpose of our salvation is to gain Christ. Christ has gained us, that we might gain Him.

But, you must first gain the vision of the excellence of knowing Jesus Christ. In the past, we sought to gain many things. If you have seen the excellence of knowing Christ, you will consider all others things as lost.

Don’t think that “all things” are just physical possessions. These verses come directly after Paul profession of who he was, before He was in Christ; he was Saul:

Though I myself have something to be confident of in the flesh as well. If any other man thinks that he has confidence in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day; of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, persecuting the church; as to the righteousness which is in the law, become blameless. [Phil 3: 4-6]

We must count all things, except Christ, as loss. Give up your vain religion, philosophy, and culture. These things are good to the world, but they are not of Christ. We cannot bring these things into Christ. Give up these things that you might gain Christ!

If we are to gain Christ, we must always be found in Christ. In every situation, at every place, among every people, may we be found in Christ. Whether we are found by people, or angels and demons, we must be found only in Christ. It is our shame to be found in ourselves. Only Christ is pleasing to our Father and may everything that we do, be an expression of Christ in us.

Are you suffering? Are you prospering? Don’t be found in yourself. Let others find you in Christ, no matter what your circumstances are. Do you think that Paul was in prison, hanging his head in defeat? Would Cesar’s household have believed into Christ if Paul was murmuring and complaining about his poor circumstances? By no means! He was there, in prison, expressing the unsearchably rich Christ, through the superabundant and all-inclusive Spirit. Paul was not a super-believer, he was living the normal life in Christ.

But, it is not so easy to be found in Christ. Everyday, we must be conformed to His death. Whatever the expression of the cross is today, we must bear it. It often seems like too much to bear. Fortunately, we do not have to bear it by our own life. Indeed, we cannot bear the cross in ourselves. The only way to bear the cross is by the Resurrection Life of Christ. We have the One who is the Resurrection within us.

It is by being conformed to the death of Christ, everyday, by the power of His resurrection, that we will gain Christ. What will the outcome of gaining Christ be? What will this special Prize be? It is the out-resurrection from among the dead. You see, everyone will be resurrected. Some will be resurrected to judgement. Some will be resurrected to glory. The out-resurrection, as the Greek states it, is something special for those who have gained Christ. It is for those who have been filled and saturated with His resurrection Life, having  died to self. It is a special enjoyment of Christ in His coming 1,000 year reign.

O, brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter how much of Christ you have attained, do not think that you have already obtained or have been made perfect. We must always press on in Christ!

Our growth in Christ, must not become stale. Forget what is behind you. Don’t just forget your failures, but forget your successes. Clinging to these things will keep you from continuing on in Christ. Have you achieved something great in Christ? It is nothing now. You must press on. Not just for your sake, but for the entire Body of Christ.

We are not here to gain Christ, just for ourselves. We must gain Him for the Body. Gain Christ so that God may dispense His riches into others through you. Gain Christ for our Father!

Personal, Corporate, or Both?

Living Stones

Image by Andesine via Flickr

This blog post is a clarification of some tweets that I made. To be honest, these are some thoughts that I haven’t completely worked out in my mind, but I will do my best to explain them. Thus, you may take the word “clarification” lightly :). This isn’t an argument for my thoughts (I don’t like arguing), just a discussion.

I will begin with the definitions of the words, personal and corporate, that I have in my mind. I got these definitions from the Google Dictionary:

Personal – Of, affecting, or belonging to a particular person rather than to anyone else

Corporate – Of or shared by all the members of a group

1st Tweet

Jesus Christ is not a personal Savior, but a corporate Savior.

I say, “Not saved for themselves but for the glory of Christ the Son.” It’s not about us at all — it’s all about Him! – Whitney McKendree Moore (@WhitneyMcKMoore)

First, I am not saying that God is impersonal, nor am I denying that we are saved as individuals. So what am I saying? I am saying that Jesus Christ does not save anyone for their own sake, but for Himself and His Body. It is obvious that we come into the Body as individuals, considering that a corporate body is made up of individuals. Truly, we are stones, made alive by God, to be put together into one Temple. A Building has individual stones, but they do not have any personal experience that does not affect the Building.

My next point is that salvation does not occur simply between you and Christ. How would anyone hear of Christ unless someone has already been sent to share Him? You may even have learned the good news from a Christian who is long dead, but a member of the Body none the less. Indeed, the Body of Christ shared the Head to you, who was revealed to you through the invisible workings of the Holy Spirit.

Third, we always exist in some form of corporate body. We were born in Adam, and thus have received His sin nature. Through the death and resurrection, we are reborn, by the Spirit, in Christ. Thus, in order to be saved you had to be included corporately in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, our dear Lord. Also, Christ died once for all, not over and over again for each person. We don’t have a separate and distinct experience of His death and resurrection, but share in the same act that was performed once for all.

Another thought that I have is if we were chosen in Christ before the creation of the world, were we not already His Nation before we considered ourselves a part of it? We were already chosen in Christ, and when He was revealed to us we learned of our true identity. The identity that was hidden in Him. We no longer think that we are poor peasants, but we see that we are kings, destined to reign with Christ.

2nd Tweet

Is anything really personal? Or is personal a delusion?

We like things to be personal. We think that life is like a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. We want to think that stuff is ours and we have our own little bubbles to walk around. It is an awful thing if someone enters your bubble. Honestly, I can’t think of a single thing that does not affect others. Everything that we do affects others. Even if you are absent, hidden away in the wilderness, there are people who will never hear your knowledge, be encouraged by your advice, or hurt by your cruelty. All of your experiences have included someone or something else. The truth is that nothing is really personal, nothing really belongs to us. All is given to us by our God, for the good of all. If you keep what He has given to you, others are hurt and if you give what He has given to you, others benefit.

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