By Leslie M. Grant

“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” — Philippians 3:8 NKJV

Philippians, meaning “lovers of horses” or “of the race,” is a pastoral epistle which is encouraging and refreshing. The assembly, devoted in affection for Paul since being converted through his labors 11 years before, was afflicted by poverty.

The letter presents true Christian experience as a racecourse leading on to the glory of God. Paul is the example of this experience; and though he was in prison, the vibrant yet peaceful joy of the apostle permeates the whole book. The secret is simply that Christ was everything to him:

  • In chapter 1, Christ was his Motivation in life;
  • In chapter 2, Christ was his Example;
  • In chapter 3, Christ was his Object;
  • In chapter 4, Christ was his Strength.

Chapter 2 contains a magnificent declaration of the greatness of the willing humiliation of the Lord Jesus, from the place of highest glory to that of deepest suffering and the death of the cross. This is then followed by God’s blessed answer in exalting Him as Man to the place of highest preeminence (vv.5-11). Such a person engaged the affections and admiration of the apostle Paul. Therefore Paul not only bore patiently with every unpleasant adversity, but he also rejoiced in seeing in each of these an occasion of fuller blessing and greater glory to the Lord Jesus.

This grand triumph of faith makes the book of sweetest value in encouraging similar faith in our own souls.