For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things . . . that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. Philippians 3:8b, 10 (ESV)
Our apostle Paul suffered the loss of all things that he might know the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is, the power that the resurrection of Christ exerts over believers. Paul knew that the power that raised Christ from the dead was a violent force, a miraculous power. He desired for that power to be at work in him while on earth and at Christ’s coming raise his body from the dead (Philippians 3:11).
The power of the resurrection of Jesus began its effective work on Paul, and us, before we were believers in Christ. Peter wrote, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3 ESV) It was through the resurrection of Jesus that God caused us to be born again. The power of Jesus’s resurrection was working through the Holy Spirit when he raised our spirits from the dead and gave them life. It was the Holy Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. When the Holy Spirit dwells in us he gives life to our mortal bodies (Romans 8:10-11).
Paul wrote that Jesus was raised for our justification (Romans 4:25). The blood of Christ atoned for our sin and his resurrection completed our justification because by it death was defeated (Romans 6:23). Had Jesus not been raised from the dead our faith would count for nothing and we would still be in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17).
When Christ died we died with him. When he was raised we were raised with him in newness of life. And should we die before he returns our bodies will be raised to life at the last day. Paul wrote, For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:5 ESV) He who raised Christ up will also raise us up (2 Corinthians 4:14). The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the power behind the promise of our immortality. Jesus promised that he would raise all that the Father has given him, all who believe in him (John 6:39-40).
Jesus was the resurrection before he was resurrected (John 11:25). How much more now that he has defeated death in the flesh is he able, not only to give life to our dead spirits, but also give life to our dead bodies. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead will transform our earthly bodies into a glorious body like his (Philippians 3:21). At the last trumpet, in the twinkling of an eye, the dead will be raised in a much different form than the previous earthly body. That which was perishable when it died will be raised imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:42-55).
Paul considered that losing everything he had gained in this world was worth the price in order to attain to the resurrection of the dead even while in his mortal body. And though he had not yet attained it he pressed on to make it his own because Christ had made him his own. He exhorted everyone who is mature in Christ to think the same way (Philippians 3:12-15).
Have you counted all things as loss to gain the resurrection from the dead?
Scripture for meditation:
1 Corinthians 6:14