Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…
I. THE MANNER IN WHICH THE APOSTLE DELIVERS HIMSELF ON THIS GREAT SUBJECT.
1. He openly professeth his esteem of Christ above all, and that not in general, but from his own experience, which teacheth us that the saints should avowedly profess their superlative esteem of Christ. Christ is not only to be enjoyed but to be confessed. This is for His glory, and that others may fall in love with Him.
2. With the utmost certainty — "yea, doubtless." He was not halting between two opinions. This is necessary for us with respect —
(1) To the outward truths of religion, because —
(a) Doubts are both afflictive and sinful.
(b) They are enemies to our faith.
(c) They are the spring of apostasy.
(d) They are prejudicial to the growth of religion. So, then, for confirmation, study the word of truth; give yourselves up to the teaching of the Spirit of truth, and walk in the truth.
(2) To the inward truth of religion. We should seek this certainty.
(a) Because the saints may attain to it. "He that hath my commandments" etc. "Give diligence to make your calling," etc. sure.
(b) Because doubts are hurtful.
(c) The case of our day calls for it. A doubting Christian is unfit to act for Christ in a difficult time. Therefore awake from sleep; walk closely with God; examine yourselves; receive the Spirit so freely given of God to bear witness with yours.
3. With affection, counting all things loss and dung. The excellency of Christ naturally fires gracious hearts, because —
(1) All their hopes are in Him, and
(2) all their desires.
II. THE GRAND SCOPE OF THE APOSTLE. Jesus is absolutely matchless. All sheaves bow to Him. The transcendent excellency of Christ is proved.
1. By testimony on the part of —
(1) God (Isaiah 13:1; John 3:16).
(2) Angels (Luke 2:10-14).
(3) Saints in heaven.
(4) Saints on earth.
(5) His enemies.
2. By evidence.
(1) He is God, "the true God and eternal life;" therefore His excellence is infinite.
(2) He is commensurate to the desires of the soul, which all the creatures combined are not. But "it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell."(3) Whatever excellence is in anything else, it is derived from Him.
(4) All things besides Christ cannot make a man happy, but Christ can.
(a) The creatures want sufficiency; but Christ is completely satisfactory (Psalm 73:25).
(b) Certainty; but Christ is unchangeable.
(5) He can do for us what no other can, procure pardon for sin, peace with God, a right to heaven.
3. By comparison. No person or thing is to be compared with Him.
(1) Men on earth; the greatest one His vassals, the best only good through Him.
(2) Saints in heaven are only like the lilies wearing a glory for which they never toiled.
(3) Angels are all servants.
(4) The highest earthly good is a broken cistern, and even grace and glory are but His gifts.
1. They have a poor portion who are without Christ.
2. They have made a good choice that have received Christ.
3. We are to stand on nothing so as we may gain Christ.
(T. Boston, D. D.)
I. THAT ONLY IS THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST WHICH TERMINATES IN AN INTEREST IN AND ENJOYMENT OF HIM. To confirm this consider —
1. That all the knowledge of Christ that brings not to Him is but splendid ignorance according to the Word.
2. That knowledge of Christ which is not an interest in Him is mere opinion which is dubious and uncertain. It may be a good opinion, but it is not certainty. You will not commit your money to a stranger of whom you have only a good opinion. So it is with those who have only a speculative knowledge of Christ. Two points of saving knowledge exemplify this. Do you take Him for and instead of all? (Matthew 13:45-46). Have you committed your soul unto Him?
3. The true knowledge of Christ engages the heart and captivates the soul — "They that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee." As the loadstone draws iron, so does Christ the sinner.
4. The saving knowledge of Christ differs not in kind, but degree, from heaven's happiness (John 17:8).
II. ALL THINGS ARE BUT LOSS IS COMPARISON WITH THIS KNOWLEDGE.
1. In what respect?
(2) All together. What are the stars without the sun?
2. Proofs and illustrations.
(1) An interest in Christ makes God ours, for lie is God.
(2) This interest is the one thing necessary.All things must go for necessaries (Matthew 6:25). Other things are mere conveniences. Man's desire is to be happy, and nothing outside of Christ is necessary to this end, for with Christ man may be happy and lack every earthly blessing (Philippians 4:13). Everything that one really needs is comprehended in this: "He that spared not His own Son" etc.
(3) This interest is satisfying to the soul, while nothing else can give satisfaction, He is substance, all else is shadow and dream. In Him are both suitability and fulness.
(4) This interest is a most enriching interest — "All things are yours."(a) The Christian hath more in possession than the greatest on earth. What so great as a kingdom? The Christian hath the kingdom of God within him. Monarchs lose their kingdoms because they are outside them. Christ is in us the hope of glory.
(b) The little that a Christian hath, having Christ, is more valuable than the abundance of a Christless man.
(c) The Christian makes a sanctified use of what he possesses, and so "all things work together for good." The abundance of the ungodly is their curse.
(d) What the Christian hath he hath for nothing, but others will have to pay a dear reckoning for what they have — "What is a man profited," etc.
(e) The Christian hath a far better right to his little, for it comes by covenant and not simply by common providence.
(f) The Christian's portion is but an earnest.
(5) This interest is the only lasting interest. It will abide when we have lost all other things (Matthew 6:19-20).
3. An induction of particulars.
(1) Knowledge of other things is no way comparable to the knowledge of Christ either for pleasure or profit. Grotius said, "I have destroyed life, laboriously doing nothing."(2) Compared with Christ riches are lighter than vanity (Proverbs 23:5).
(3) Worldly reputation depend, upon the uncertain thoughts of others and may be easily stained; but the Christian shall shine with eternal honour.
(4) There is no ease that is permanently pleasant but in Christ.
(5) Friends are much valued, but how often do they prove themselves like brooks dried up (Job 6:15). Christ is a friend that will help in all cases.
(6) Domestic and social relations are great mercies, but we must part from them.
(7) Liberty is but a devil's chain without Christ.
(8) Life and self are loss without Christ.
1. Of Information.
(1) How foolish are men who, like Martha, are diligent to get other things, but who neglect the one thing needful.
(2) Men are gainers, lose what they will for Christ.
2. Of exhortation.
(1) Christ is willing to receive you.
(2) Consider what you are without Him.
(3) An interest in Christ is the best interest you can have in the world.
(T. Boston, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Yea doubtless, and 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, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
WEB: Yes most certainly, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and count them nothing but refuse, that I may gain Christ