‘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…. So that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection…, being made conformable to His death — if, by any means, I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead!’ Philippians 3:8-11.
Calvin comments: “Paul, having said that he renounced all hindrances so that he might possess Christ, now adds that he continues to be of this mind…. The knowledge of Christ so far surpasses everything else by its sublimity that, compared with it, there is nothing that is not contemptible!…
“‘For Whom I have suffered the loss of all things’…. It is a similitude taken from seamen who, when pressed by danger of shipwreck, throw everything overboard — so that, the ship being lightened, they may reach the harbour safely. Paul, then, preferred to lose everything that he had — rather than be deprived of Christ alone!… Paul therefore divested himself not of works, but of that perverted confidence in works with which he had been puffed up….
“Those who cast their merchandise and other things into the sea so that they may escape in safety, do not despise riches but they prefer to live in misery and want (rather) than to be drowned along with their riches…. Paul, on the contrary, declares that he had…abandoned everything that he formerly reckoned precious…, ‘(so) that…(he) may gain Christ!’
“By this expression, he intimates that we cannot gain Christ otherwise than by losing everything that we have…. Christ therefore is rightly known, when we feel how powerful His death and resurrection are, and how efficacious they are in us…. All things are there furnished to us — expiation and destruction of sin; freedom from guilt; satisfaction; victory over death; the attainment of righteousness; and the hope of a blessed immortality….
“Let everyone therefore who has become through faith a partaker of all Christ’s benefits, acknowledge that a condition is presented to him that his whole life be conformed to His death!… After comprehending also the power of His resurrection, Christ crucified is set before us so that we may follow Him through tribulations and distresses…. Hence the resurrection of the dead is expressly mentioned, so that we may know that we must die before we live….
“‘If we die with Him, we shall also live with Him!’…(Second Timothy 2:11-12). We must all therefore be ready for our whole life to represent nothing but an image of death, until it produces death itself — even as the life of Christ is nothing but a prelude to death. We nevertheless enjoy meanwhile the consolation that the end is everlasting blessedness! For the death of Christ, is joined to His resurrection!”
Calvin also says in his Institutes III:25:2: “None participate in the benefits of Christ, save those who raise their minds to the resurrection…, forgetting everything until they reach it. Philippians 3:8.” I suffer the loss of all things, to win Christ and His power! And you too?