Philippians 3:6-10
Phil 3:6 (KJB)
Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Concerning and touching - According to
Zeal - Fervor or jealousy depends upon the context
Persecuting - Pursue or follow after
Here Paul continues his self-assessment of his pre-salvation life. Paul had persecuted the church according to zeal, that is, he was relentless in his desire to completely stamp out the church. We see this in the fact he had consented in the death of Stephen. Then he goes on to say that he kept the law to the point that he was blameless, that no one could level any charges against him for breaking the law. A statement of pride that anyone could boast about.
Phil 3:7 (KJB)
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
All the things which Paul had thought were gain to him, such as being a Pharisee with such a bright future or being blameless in the law, all these things he now sees as a Christian, he counts as loss. Those things he did before salvation were futile and had no value for eternal life and was not relevant for salvation. He considered all the things he had gained as loss in light of the fact he has come to know the Lord Jesus Christ. Many of us now look back on our pre-salvation life and see the things we did that we considered to be gainful in this earthly life but now after knowing Christ, we deem them as futile and of no value.
Phil 3:8 (KJB)
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
Doubtless- On the contrary or indeed
Excellency - Superior or excel
Dung - Sewage, manure, or excrement
I may win - I may gain
Here the Apostle Paul is continuing his comparison between his pre-salvation life and His Christian life. He considers that all the things he has learned in his life as a Pharisee as nothing but loss because whatever he learned, does not compare with the excellency of the knowledge which he now has concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. He knows that the things of the law cannot compare with the things of Christ because the law is earthly and salvation by grace through the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation and is eternal. For that great knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and his salvation, Paul exclaims that he has suffered loss of everything he once held dearly. No longer is he a Pharisee with any authority but is now a hunted member of the sect he once tried to destroy. He goes on to make the most tremendous comparison that everything he attained in his pre-salvation life has the value of a pile of dung. I guess the comparison can be made by seeing a big Turkey Dinner and then seeing a big pile of dung in a cow field. The comparison would be on that level. Now Paul is not stating that he would gain Christ, that is, gain salvation by some means other than grace, he is basically saying that loss of those worldly things would render him in a better position to be spiritually gainful in Christ. The less of the world we concern ourselves with, the more we are dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Phil 3:9 (KJB)
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Paul here is stating that he wants to be found in Christ because everything from his past was considered dung. Paul states that the righteousness he possessed before true salvation was his own righteousness and a personís own righteousness cannot save them. The law only showed us that we are unable to keep the law and that we are unable to be obedient to God. One cannot be truly in Christ while having their own righteousness because they contradict each other. Paul wants to live in the righteousness which is of God and comes to the true believer by the faith of Christ and not faith in Christ. The faith of Christ is what saves us and then we are able to have faith in Christ. That faith is the faith which Christ is both the author and the finisher which we saw in Philippians 1:6. When we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ, it is eternal and that righteousness never fades or gives way. The righteousness of the law was only temporary and needed to be renewed consistently through sacrifices and ceremonies. (Isa 61:3 KJV) To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:3 speaks of the robe of Christís righteousness as the garment of praise. (Isa 61:10 KJV) I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10 speaks specifically of the robe of righteousness as the bride and groom who both adorn themselves for their wedding day. A great foreshadow of the believers who are married to Christ.
Phil 3:10 (KJB)
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Know - To understand or become aware
Power - Might, ability, or force
Fellowship - Communion, sharing, or association
Conformable - Taking the same form
Paul here states the reason why he considered all the past learning as dung because those teachings were void of Christ. Paul may have had cursory knowledge of Christ while He was here on earth but now as a Christian he has much fuller knowledge of Christ. He has written about the unsurpassable riches of Christ and how superior He was to the law. Then Paul speaks about knowing the power of His resurrection. He is not speaking about the actual resurrection itself but he speaks of the power which raised Christ from the dead although he knew that every Christian will be raised the with the same power or changed on the last day. He wanted to experience that power daily in his life especially since he had desired to have fellowship with the suffering which Christ suffered with. Only true resurrection power can uphold a Christian under persecution because human strength is linked with human frailty. Paul also wanted to experience the same emptying which the Lord Jesus Christ emptied himself of his glory as we saw in 2:7. Paul also wanted to make himself of no reputation so that he could be fully dedicated to Christ and not partially, while holding on to things of this life. He wanted to fully imitate the Lord Jesus Christ in the way He laid aside His glory and came to earth. Paul also laid aside all his earthly glory as a Pharisee and renounced all the privileges which came with it to become a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. The problem is that too many of us want to hold on to the glory of the Lord and the glory of the world and we just cannot balance the two.