12th day of Advent
December 14th, 2017
“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.”
Scripture assures us of God's perfectly free Grace - it cannot be earned nor purchased. Free Grace, however, is costly - free Grace is not cheap. Paul tells us his salvation cost him everything. He was a Jew among Jews, now persecuted by Jews; he was prosperous and comfortable, now poor and suffering; he was honourable, now scorned. He once knew God, now he is known by God. It cost him every worldly treasure, yet he counts that all as a loss of rubbish to gain Christ, to be called by the Name above all names, to be numbered with his Lord and to be justified by his Saviour.
As we approach Christ are we seeking Him or a worldly prize?
In suffering the loss of all things the world calls precious, Paul gained the most precious - by losing all the world values he received freely the Kingdom of God. He lost everything yet gained all in all.
Twice in our reading Paul says that our gain is to know Jesus. In verse 8, "I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord," and in verse 10 "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings." There is joy-filled intimacy with Jesus - a victory He claims in us as we stand firm in Him. Religious experientialism, emotionalism, and spiritualism defames "head knowledge" of Jesus. God created our head, hearts, and souls - God wants all of us - our thoughts, our emotions, and our lives.
The peace that passes all understanding is found when heart and soul are in the knowledge and Love of our triune God.
Do we really want to know Him?
I pray we will come to know God in our hearts, minds and souls so intimately that, like Paul, we will count anything lost or suffered as gain of the greatest of all treasures.
When we know our God, we know His peace.