Before Paul became a Christian, he thought all these things made him a success in the effort to please God by works.
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Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss : Paul did not only count his religious pedigree as a loss; he counted all things loss — but he counted them as a loss in view of the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus.
He joyfully accepted the loss of all other things for the greatness of this personal relationship. In Philippians Paul said that he counted ; in this verse he said I also count. This first counting was at his conversion; the second — some 30 years later — was in his Roman prison. After all he had experienced, he still counted it worthy to give everything up for the sake of following Jesus. What was the issue of his latest search? How do matters stand at his last stocktaking? For whom I have suffered the loss of all things : This counting loss was not merely an internal spiritual exercise.
Paul had indeed suffered the loss of all things that he might gain Christ. This is demonstrated by the place and circumstances under which Paul wrote this letter — a Roman prison, where he truly could say that he had suffered the loss of all things. Count them as rubbish : Paul here used strong language. Literally, Paul considered them as excrement — as dung; not only as worthless, but as offensive. The ancient Greek word for rubbish had one of two uses. It could describe excrement from the body or table scraps that were fit only to be thrown to the dogs. We may suppose that Paul would be comfortable with either meaning in this context.
The word shows how utterly insignificant and unavailing, in point of salvation, the apostle esteemed every thing but the Gospel of Jesus. And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;.
And be found in Him : Because Paul was in Him , he could renounce his own righteousness and live by the righteousness which is from God by faith. The foundation for his spiritual life was in what Jesus had done for him and not in what he had done, was doing, or would do for Jesus in the future. The righteousness which is from God by faith : Paul here exposed the great difference between the legal relationship stressed by his opponents and his personal connection with Jesus Christ.
That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. It was a plea unknown to the legalist, who must necessarily focus on his own performance and status to find some kind of peace with God. But Paul wanted Jesus, not self. To know Jesus is not the same as knowing His historical life; it is not the same as knowing correct doctrines regarding Jesus; it is not the same as knowing His moral example, and it is not the same as knowing His great work on our behalf.
They tell me that he clothes the naked; he hath covered me with a garment of righteousness, and to that extent I know him. They tell me that he is a breaker, and that he breaks fetters, he has set my soul at liberty, and therefore I know him. They tell me that he is a king and that he reigns over sin; he hath subdued my enemies beneath his feet, and I know him in that character.
They tell me he is a shepherd: I know him for I am his sheep. They say he is a door: I have entered in through him, and I know him as a door. They say he is food: my spirit feeds on him as on the bread of heaven, and, therefore, I know him as such. And the power of His resurrection : Knowing Jesus means knowing this power , the new life that is imparted to us now , not when we die.
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That is, he wants to experience the same power that raised Christ from the dead surging through his own being, overcoming sin in his life and producing the Christian graces. It is the evidence and seal that everything Jesus did and said was true. It is the receipt and proof that the sacrifice of the cross was accepted as payment in full. It means that those who are connected with Jesus Christ receive the same resurrection life.
It promises that our friends and loved ones who are dead in Christ live with Him. And the fellowship of His sufferings : Knowing Jesus also means knowing this fellowship of His sufferings. It is all part of following Jesus and being in Christ. We can say that suffering is part of our heritage as the children of God; we get to be part of the family of suffering: If children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together Romans These words had particular relevance to Paul who faced possible martyrdom.
If, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead : Paul was not morbidly focused on suffering and death in the Christian life. He saw that they were a necessary way to the goal of resurrection life right now and the ultimate resurrection from the dead. This was a goal that was worth any means to Paul. The suffering was worth it, considering the greatness of the goal of resurrection from the dead.
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It was something that he had not yet attained and longed for. Remember that Paul wrote this having experienced more suffering than we will ever experience, and he wrote it from the custody of Roman soldiers. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Not that I have already attained : Paul wrote from such spiritual maturity and purity that we might expect he believed that he had conquered all spiritual difficulties and saw himself as having arrived at near perfection. Yet he assured us this was not so. There was no perfectionism in Paul. Sadly, it is common for many Christian leaders to cultivate the attitude that they have already attained. Without saying the words, they put forth the image of constant triumph that gives the idea that they have already attained and are already perfected.
Read that through, if you are a minister, and it will burst many of your windbags. You will find yourselves collapse most terribly.
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Take the life of Brainerd amongst the Indians, or of Baxter in our own land. Think of the holiness of George Herbert, the devoutness of Fletcher, or the zeal of Whitfield. Where do you find yourself after reading their lives? Might you not peep about to find a hiding-place for your insignificance? But I press on : Because Paul realized that he had not arrived, there was only one option open for him.
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He had to press on. There was no turning back for Him. This is where child-like faith meets real maturity. But I press on meant that Paul had put his hand to the plow and refused to look back Luke That I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me : Paul pressed on for what Jesus wanted. Paul began this verse with the idea that Jesus Christ had laid hold of him. This is an important idea; yet sometimes Christians react to that idea by being passive. Having made a study of the local language, he began to translate the New Testament and the Psalms.
Estimates of converts range from 6, to 30, by the year The three who survived the journey did so in and succeeded each other as bishops at Zaiton , where John had established. In three more Franciscan bishops arrived from Rome to aid John until his death in Armenians in Quanzhou were also Franciscan Catholics. The Franciscan Odoric of Pordenone visited China during this era. Katarina Vilioni 's Catholic tombstone was found in Yangzhou. The mission had some success during the rule of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty , but various factors led to an ultimate shrinking of the mission.
Hayton of Corycus wrote about China. It was reported that competition with the Catholic Church and Islam were also factors in causing Nestorian Christianity to disappear in China — see Nestorianism in China — since "controversies with the emissaries of Rome, and the progress of Mohammedanism, sapped the foundations of their ancient churches.
During the Catholic Reformation 's explosion of missionary efforts around the world, particularly in Asia, Jesuit and other Catholic missionaries attempted to enter China. They had mixed success at first, but eventually came to have a strong impact, particularly in inter-cultural scientific and artistic exchanges among the upper classes of China and the imperial court. The permanent mission was established in by the efforts of the Jesuit Matteo Ricci. His whole approach was quite subtle, interesting the Emperor and the Chinese authorities in aspects of western technology and learning as a point of opening.
He also made attempts to reconcile Christianity with the Classic Confucian texts, though he was hostile, along with the other members of the Society of Jesus , to Taoism and Buddhism. Ricci died in but the Jesuit mission went on to become an important part of the Imperial civil service right into the 18th century.
Jesuits were also given posts as mechanics, musicians, painters, instrument makers, and in other areas that required technical expertise. The Jesuits' pragmatic accommodation with Confucianism was later to lead to conflict with the Dominican friars , who came to Beijing from the Philippines in the middle of the century. Due to the Chinese rites controversy , the Kangxi Emperor banned Christianity in China after , saying "Westerners are trivial; how could they understand Chinese great philosophy? Their discussions of Chinese philosophy are ridiculous. In my view, the missionaries' talk is the same as those heretic Buddhist monks, Taoists, and other superstitions.
The knowledge of Westerners is no more than this the missionaries' talk. We could simply forbid them from spreading their religion in China, for the sake of avoiding troubles.
Under the "fundamental laws" of China, one section is titled "Wizards, Witches, and all Superstitions, prohibited. It was modified in and printed in by the Daoguang Emperor. Christians who would not repent their conversion were sent to Muslim cities in Xinjiang, to be given as slaves to Muslim leaders and Baigs. The clause stated: "People of the Western Ocean, Europeans or Portuguese, should they propagate in the country the religion of heaven's Lord, name given to Christianity by the Romanists, or clandestinely print books, or collect congregations to be preached to, and thereby deceive many people, or should any Tartars or Chinese, in their turn, propagate the doctrines and clandestinely give names, as in baptism, inflaming and misleading many, if proved by authentic testimony, the head or leader shall be sentenced to immediate death by strangulations: he who propagates the religion, inflaming and deceiving the people, if the number be not large, and no names be given, shall be sentenced to strangulation after a period of imprisonment.
Those who are merely hearers or followers of the doctrine, if they will not repent and recant, shall be transported to the Mohammedan cities in Turkistan and given to be slaves to the Baigs and other powerful Mohammedans who are able to coerce them.