A Farewell Thought to June of 2008

In God’s providence, He has allowed me to spend this month largely in Philippians 2:5-11 and Philippians 3:1-11. These texts have truly been a blessing to my soul, as God has granted to me from them a greater treasuring of Jesus Christ above all things. Christ’s self-humiliation has astounded me, while His recommendation to follow His mindset has, in itself, served to bring me low quite often in the past 30 days as I continue to battle with sin, selfishness, and evangelical apathy. His super-exaltation has become my battle cry – my Jesus is the Great “I AM”! He is Sovereign Savior and Lord (cf. Isaiah 45). It has also served to give me an earnest anticipation of His future exaltation when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord – to the glory of God the Father. But I am also exceedingly thankful that in His majestic grace and mercy, He has bent my knee and clothed my tongue with His praises, and not left me to myself like many who will do the same with much bitterness and horror at the revelation of His mighty wrath – though this has also tenderized my heart and mind towards the lost who currently stand in such a position.

Philippians 3:1-11 has simply forced me, wonderfully forced me, to gaze longingly and musingly at the supremacy of Christ – how treasuring Jesus helps us to endure the toughest of trials, for in Him exists a triumphant joy that serves to strengthen us in the midst of our deepest loss and greatest sufferings for His sake. His Gospel stands supreme against all contemporary “Judaizers” – Jesus is completely sufficient to save. Paul has defined for me a wonderful caricature of the Christian as one who (1) worships by the Spirit of God, (2a) glories in Christ Jesus, (2b) puts no confidence in the flesh, (3) counts all things loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus, (4) whose great passion is to “gain Christ and be found in Him,” – which means to forfeit the righteousness of works that we so earnestly contend for as the basis of salvation before Christ, and instead, to trust in the righteousness from God that depends on faith in Christ, a.k.a., a perfect imputed (alien) righteousness given on the basis of faith alone! (5) But also one who in contemplation of the supremacy of Christ – Savior, Lord, Righteousness, Treasure – and the faith that binds one to Him, yearns – yearns! – to know and be transformed by the sanctifying power of Christ’s resurrection – an earnest knowing, sharing, conforming, and attaining! – to know Him, to know Jesus Christ – with increasing intimacy! This will help us suffer the loss of all things for His sake – and we must!

Lastly, my wife and I have been given over to the consideration of “counting all things loss” – not just confidence in the flesh for salvation, but quite literally, the adding up and counting of all things as LOSS for the sake of Christ. It is as John Piper is well-known to have said in that wonderful dialogue on the prosperity gospel – that when one suffers the loss of all things, even and especially those things most dear to them, and he or she can still say that Christ is enough, Jesus is all-satisfying, God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever – this makes Jesus look beautiful! I don’t know about you, but I want to make Jesus look beautiful, because He is supremely beautiful. I have thought – what is most dear to me in this life – my wife – the prospect of children with her – family – friends – my own life – these we must hate, these we must consider rubbish in so far as they hinder us from gaining Christ (Luke 14:26 cf. Philippians 3:8-9), for in themselves they are of the sweetest blessings of God. To write LOSS over everything in this life, so that when and if we are to suffer the loss of it, it will not sideline us for Christ, but though we grieve, it will strengthen our dependency upon and delight in and propagation of Him – Jesus, the Lord, to the glory of God.

I will, therefore, leave you and this month now passed in history with a parable and a thought to sum up God’s work in me:

Parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it,” Matthew 13:45-46.

Thought: If God were to require your life from you this very hour, what would you want Him to find you supremely treasuring? And thus, what are you supremely treasuring? Kingdoms that an hour in hell will cause you to quickly forget? Or Jesus Christ, the Pearl of Glory? And, ah, that we would endeavor at all costs to set this Pearl before all men!

For us all, may it be the latter in Jesus’ beautiful name. Amen.

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One Response

  1. What a wonderful post. Thank you.

    Caron

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