| || |The Berean Expositor
Volume 7 - Page 112 of 133 Index | Zoom | |
death of Christ is to have obtained the solution of the problem of what is, and what is not
acceptable in the sight of God. The believer's duty in home, business, or State is not to
be settled by expediency or custom, but by this touchstone--the death of the cross. It is a
high standard, yet we dare not lower it, even though we condemn ourselves in the
penning of these lines. Too lightly has the prize of the high calling been spoken of, as
though it were within the grasp of all who have believed. Not merely the doctrinal
reckoning to have died with Christ is here, but a desire that the present life should be
conformable to that death.
"If by any means. . . ." (Phil. 3: 11).
We have been considering the inspired statement of the apostle's desires; he has
expressed his ardent longing to know Him, to know the power of His resurrection, to
know the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death. With what
object? Let the apostle answer, "If be any means I might attain unto the resurrection of
the dead". It is evident by these words that the fellowship of His sufferings and
conformity to His death are to be looked upon in some way as conditions. The previous
statement of the apostle, where he said that his most treasured possessions he counted as
dung, is directly connected with the desire, "that I may have Christ for my gain". Of a
truth, as Paul himself could say, when a man can say, "for me to live is Christ", then he
can also add, "and to die will be gain".
We cannot help but feel that these passages of chapter 1: are closely related to the
theme before us. To sum up one's life in the one name--Christ, is equivalent to having
counted all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, and includes the
fourfold statement of 3: 10. So also, if to die is gain for the apostle, then he can
truthfully say that he desired to depart and be with Christ which was far better. The
theme is still more opened up in the passage before us.
First let us notice that the apostle expresses uncertainty of attainment. "If by any
means" (eipõs). In Rom. 1: 10 he says, "making request, if by any means now at length I
might have a prosperous journey", and in 11: 14, "if by any means I may provoke to
emulation them which are my flesh". In Acts 27: 12, 13 the sailors, by reason of the
south wind blowing which made them suppose that they would obtain their purpose,
departed from the Fair Havens, "if by any means they might attain to Phenice"; here we
have a plain record of history, the facts of the case show that instead of reaching Phenice,
the ship was caught in a tempest and made a total wreck. The words used by the Spirit of
God in Acts 28: 12 are similar to those used by Paul. The shipmaster desired to
attain to Phenice, Paul desired to attain to the special resurrection indicated in the verse
before us; in both cases (indeed in all cases where eipõs is used), there is of necessity the
introduction of uncertainty.