“I reckon everything as complete loss for the sake of what is so much more valuable, the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have thrown everything away; I consider it all as mere garbage, so that I may gain Christ …” Philippians 3:8 (GNT).
The knowledge of Christ Jesus changes everything
“My people are destroyed because they lack knowledge of me...” Hosea 4:6 (ISV). The knowledge of God is God’s light. The Spirit revealed to Paul this precious knowledge of Christ Jesus that is far greater than all other knowledge. Everything he had learned before or thought of as great in this world now became like garbage and a loss for him.
The true knowledge of Jesus Christ changes people’s lives completely. It causes them to completely stop loving the world and the things that are in the world.
Paul also prayed earnestly that the Ephesians would receive a greater understanding in their hearts, and that they might also receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation so that they could get to know God better. (Ephesians 1:17-18.)
The knowledge that Jesus died on Calvary as payment for the sins of the world is well known. But the way that Jesus went, from the time He learned to tell the difference between good and evil as a child (Isaiah 7:17) until He cried out, “It is finished!” on the cross, is less known, and this knowledge is almost never preached.
The way that Jesus went
When Jesus was on earth, He had a flesh, a sinful human nature, like all other people. (Hebrews 2:14.) People are tempted by the sinful lusts and desires that live in their human nature (James 1:14), and Jesus was tempted in the same way, but He never gave in to sin. (Hebrews 2:15.) “And now he can help those who are tempted, because he himself was tempted and suffered.” Hebrews 2:18 (GNT).
In Hebrews 10:20 it says that Jesus opened up a new way for us, through His flesh. This means that we can also go on this way. In the old covenant it was impossible for a person to never give in to sin and to keep a perfectly clean conscience. (Hebrews 9:9-10.) This would be just as impossible today if sin in people’s sinful human nature, against which the law was powerless, had not been condemned to death in Jesus. (Romans 8:3.)
But God be praised that the sin in our sinful human nature can now also be condemned, through faith in what happened in Christ. When we are tempted from our sinful human nature, and we continue to say No to the sin we are tempted to through the power of the Holy Spirit, until it “dies”, it is called the “dying of Jesus”, because He was the first One that went this way.
The life of Jesus can now be seen in us to the same degree that we share in this “dying of Jesus” over our self-life. This is how we share in more and more of Jesus’ nature and are changed to become like Jesus, from glory to glory. (2 Corinthians 4:10; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Peter 1:4.)
In the power of the Holy Spirit Jesus could always say, “Your will must be done, not mine.” Luke 22:42 (GW). We can also say the same in the power of the same Spirit; thus, we say No to ourselves daily, take up our cross and follow in His steps, and in the end, we come to where He is in His glory. (Luke 9:23.)
The impossible is now possible
What was impossible in the old covenant has now become possible. Now we can always keep a good conscience. Now we can receive the same Spirit that Jesus had during His time here on earth when He overcame in each temptation. If we, in this same Spirit, overcome just as He overcame, we will sit on thrones together with Him. (Revelation 3:21.)
When Paul’s eyes were opened to this blessed way of overcoming all sin that leads right to the throne of the Father and of the Son, he ran on this way as if only one wins the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24). And he encouraged each and every one to run like him. He pleaded with everyone day and night to give up everything and live a God-fearing life, keeping the commandment completely until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. (1 Timothy 6:11-14.)
The true light and the right knowledge of Jesus Christ are now breaking through the darkness of unbelief in these days. It will be impossible to stop this light from shining. Of course, those who are happy to live in a religious semi-darkness will try to push this light away by saying that it is false doctrine and a hard and judging spirit. It is true that the light judges, and it is also certain that the true knowledge of Christ will be called a false doctrine by all those who want to live according to their sinful human lusts.
But the upright are very happy when true light starts to shine into their hearts.