Sunday, September 2, 2007

What do you know?

In the verses prior to Philippians 3:7 Paul is outlining what he knows about himself.

He knows that when it comes to being a Hebrew, he is a 'Hebrew of Hebrews' (v6). No one was more zealous for God than Paul. Paul's righteousness (from a Pharisaical, legalistic perspective) was faultless. According to the Law, Paul had good reason to feel good about what he had achieved in his life time.

But in verses 7-10, Paul counts everything that he has achieved as 'rubbish' (v8), I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (v8)
Paul was saying...i don't want to know my old self any longer, i don't want to even talk about myself any more, but what I want to know is Christ; nothing can surpass the greatness of knowing Christ.

When Paul uses the word 'knowing' in the above verse, he's using the word 'gnosis', basically a head knowledge; general intelligence, understanding. So he's effectively saying, I want my mind to be no longer focused on myself, but on Christ, I want to know...about Christ.

But he goes on to say, ...I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him (v9). To be 'found' in Christ (heurisko) means to be in pursuit of more than simply general intelligence and understanding. Paul desires to meet with Christ himself.

In verse 10 Paul takes things 1 step further, he says, 'I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead'

When Paul says, I want to 'know Chirst' in verse 10, he uses a slightly different word, this time its 'ginosko' and in the Jewish context of the time it refers to a level of 'knowing' found only in a sexually intimate relationship between husband and wife.

So the journey looks a bit like this,
Forget about yourself, concentrate on him, worship him (is that a song...?), give yourself to him, pursue more than a knowledge of him; seek his face, and when you give yourself to him...give everything!

...And the things of earth will grow strangely dim...

I want to know you Lord.

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