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Gaining Christ - Extracted From "Jottings"

Those who would have great gain must be prepared to suffer great loss. God will indemnify a person correspondingly to the loss sustained. Paul could write to the Philippians of having suffered the loss of all things (Philippians 3.). His pedigree was good: of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews (that is, of Hebrew parents), as touching the law a Pharisee. The Pharisees stood for the strict observance of the law in all its rites and ceremonies, but at the same time, they were bereft of understanding of the law's requirements as to mercy and the love of God. According to the standard of the Pharisees, Paul was blameless. As touching zeal, he was found persecuting the church. All that such things meant to him of profit and prominence in this life he counted but loss for Christ. He wrote such words while a captive of, Rome and a prisoner of Christ Jesus; and after all the loss he had suffered, material loss and of the comforts of this life, he was as strongly convinced of the rightness of the course he had pursued as he was when he was called to the path of obedience and suffering. "I suffered the loss of all things," he wrote, "and do count them but dung (or refuse), that I may gain Christ." He counted all to be refuse or offal.

Paul's being of Israel and of the sect of the Pharisees meant gain to him in this life. These things opened doors to him, and avenues which led to fame, had he pursued them. But now, instead, he seeks to gain Christ, who, he is assured, will show him such favours and privileges with which the offal of his former state is not worthy of comparison. He sought to gain Christ and be "found in Him." "That I may know him," said he, "and the power of His resurrection," and so forth. It should be our aim to gain Christ; that is, to make Him our profit, to be greatly enriched by a better knowledge of Him, and the measure in which we seek such profit will be the measure in which we regard to be as offal what was gain to us according to the flesh. It is impossible to have it both ways. We cannot sit between two stools, nor can we make the best of both worlds; the one must be despised if the other is to be esteemed.