What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
- Philippians 3:8-11
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
- Philippians 1:21
“Therefore, Paul says, ‘Every gain I got I considered as loss for the sake of Christ.’ In comparison to the inﬁnite gain of Jesus, Paul considers everything else negotiable, everything sacrifice-able, everything lose—able.
“He uses the Word rubbish, which could be read as garbage, as dung, as excrement. Only this sort of extreme could approach the level of excellence there is to be had in Jesus. The best of our best, Without Jesus, looks like a pile of crap compared to Him.
“So, Paul’s saying, if you are to pursue righteousness, pursue Jesus. Don’t let looking good or being better be your goal. Let the goal be Him.”
- Matt Chandler, To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain
Our new pastor has quoted Jaroslav Pelikan several times, but just the one famous quote: “If Christ is risen, nothing else matters. And if Christ is not risen-nothing else matters.” In a way, it plays upon the philosophy of Richard Dawkins that life for the evolved human is meaningless, with no purpose, but Dawkins has spent his life with the purpose of trying to ignore what matters, and that of course is God. Another of Jaroslav Pelikan’s quotes is of the same vein: “Tradition is the living faith of the dead. Traditionalism is the dead faith of the living.” Interesting how someone can be known for such word play.
But Pelikan’s quote is correct. He paraphrases C. S. Lewis, in a way, when Lewis wrote about how if the Gospel is true, it is of the utmost importance, but if not true, it is of no importance at all. So, if someone believes that the Gospel is of no importance, why do they spend so much time being angry at Christians who believe in the Good News?
If a Christian truly believes in Jesus, Jesus becomes more important than breathing, but as long as we are still given breath, we should glorify God.
I worded the title like the first question in a number of catechisms. “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
While many pastors in churches and preachers on television, along with pastors who write books, will say that God makes promises for us to enjoy rewards here on earth, they are not really preaching the prosperity gospel, most aren’t. God protects us and if our chief end is to glorify God here on earth, God may grant us more than what we need, knowing that we will glorify Him even more. But the converse of that is that not all our praising and glorifying is in the next life, glorifying God should be our greatest joy here on earth.
It is true that becoming a Christian is by faith and not of works. We cannot buy our way into heaven, but becoming a Christian costs us everything. It was all God’s in the first place. But all our energy, all our possessions, and all our love should be spent in glorifying God.
Lord, guide me. Help us to keep our focus on Jesus. All the distractions of this earth might cause us to wander, but the only thing that matters is Jesus and being with You for eternity, and that starts and continues today. In Thy Name I pray. Amen
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
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