by Mike Ratliff
8 ἀλλὰ μενοῦνγε καὶ ἡγοῦμαι πάντα ζημίαν εἶναι διὰ τὸ ὑπερέχον τῆς γνώσεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου μου, διʼ ὃν τὰ πάντα ἐζημιώθην, καὶ ἡγοῦμαι σκύβαλα , ἵνα Χριστὸν κερδήσω 9 καὶ εὑρεθῶ ἐν αὐτῷ, μὴ ἔχων ἐμὴν δικαιοσύνην τὴν ἐκ νόμου ἀλλὰ τὴν διὰ πίστεως Χριστοῦ, τὴν ἐκ θεοῦ δικαιοσύνην ἐπὶ τῇ πίστει, 10 τοῦ γνῶναι αὐτὸν καὶ τὴν δύναμιν τῆς ἀναστάσεως αὐτοῦ καὶ [τὴν] κοινωνίαν [τῶν] παθημάτων αὐτοῦ, συμμορφιζόμενος τῷ θανάτῳ αὐτοῦ, 11 εἴ πως καταντήσω εἰς τὴν ἐξανάστασιν τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν. Philippians 3:8-11 (NA28)
8 But even more so I consider all things to be loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom all things I suffered loss and I consider them dung, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having my own righteousness that is of the law, but the righteousness through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based upon faith, 10 to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings being conformed to his death, 11 that if somehow I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:8-11 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)
Legalism is the default religion of most people. However, when God gave the Law to Moses to give to Israel, he did not do so as a means for sinners to earn the Kingdom of Heaven. The Law was given to Moses on the mountain after the people were redeemed from Egypt (Exodus 20:1-17). The sacrificial system within the Law proves that the Lord knew the people would fail to obey the Law perfectly. If the Law is not a means for sinners to save themselves, why did God reveal it at all?
Paul gives us one set of answers to that question in Romans 7 and Galatians 3. In those Epistles, we learn that our Creator revealed the Law to Moses to remind us that righteousness before him demands perfection; to show us that sinners cannot meet this standard; and to make us long for a sinless Messiah who can keep the Law perfectly in our place.
Despite what some “Holiness” folks say, the Law does not give sinners the power to conquer sin. Only the Holy Spirit (Romans 6; 8), the One whom Christ poured out upon his people so that they, by faith, can share in “the power of his resurrection” (see Philippians 3:10-11 above), enlivens the believer to live a godly life. Jesus died for those who trust in him, but we must never forget that he rose from the dead for his people as well. God resurrected him from the dead for our justification—to prove Jesus atoned for sin (Romans 4:25)—as well as for our sanctification. Jesus was raised to God’s right hand that he would have power and authority above all other powers and authorities, empowering his people to defeat the sin that ruled them before they believed in him (Ephesians 1:15-23).
Even though we experience the power of our Lord’s resurrection today, we still wait for that final day when this power will be consummated in our own resurrection and glorification. Carefully read Philippians 3:8-11 again that I placed at the top of this post, which I translated from the NA28 Greek text. The Christians who truly count all things as loss because of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus their Lord are not in love with this world or the things in this world. No, they, like Paul, are eagerly waiting for that final day when the power of our Lord’s resurrection will be consummated in their own. However, we, like Paul do not know the details if we will gain our resurrection body at the final judgment after martyrdom, after dying of natural causes, or by being alive when our Saviour returns. However, like Paul, we do know that the righteousness imputed to us by faith in Christ alone guarantees that resurrection will be ours.
Soli Deo Gloria!