Cactus on Yellow Wall

FOLLOWING PAUL - 2

In Christ's light Paul saw light and he said, "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for
Christ" (Phil. 3:7).

We need to understand that, Paul is not simply saying that he now regards those "gains" of his, as if they
were "loss", -shall we say, "loss in comparison with Christ". While that is obviously true, that, by itself,
would be a totally inadequate reading of the text. What he is saying is that they are loss, and only now
has he come to see it. The illustration, of course, is that of an accountant, and Paul is now admitting that,
in the past, his "accounts" have all been wrong, and his books in terrible confusion. What he had fondly
reckoned were his "credits", are now discovered to be plain "debits"! And, all those years, he had been
writing them in the wrong column, and entering them on the wrong side of his ledger! But now, at last,
the light has come; -he has discovered the great fundamental error, and, by God's grace, the immense
correction will be made. Henceforward he will account as loss what is loss; -he will faithfully "reckon" it
according to its true character. That is the basic teaching of the passage.

The great underlying fact, of course, is that all these supposed "credits" really pertained to "Adam", and
derived from Adam, and were apart of Paul's Adamic life. They were a part of the Adamic creation; a
creation now darkened by rebellion, away from God, and, in all its parts, unacceptable. The Psalmist
declares that this creation, even at its best state, is "altogether vanity" (Psa.39: 5). But Paul had not seen
it, -hence his continued glorying in those "vain things". But now the Light has come, and henceforth his
accounts will be different. He will personally endorse the Psalmist's word and say, "I know that in me...
dwelleth no good thing" (Rom.7: 18). In God's mercy, Paul has now seen Christ, the One and Only "Man
approved of God" (Acts 2:22), -raised from the dead and highly exalted. Now he realises that, because of
his simple faith, he has his place and standing in that Newman, and has become, in fact, a member of His
Body. Here, indeed, is the "new creation", where "old things" have passed away, and all has become new
(2 Cor.5: 17). In other words, Paul has really perceived the inner essence of the Gospel. Now he knows
that Adam, and things Adamic, have all been judged in Christ, and God has now secured His Second Man
(1Cor.15: 47). Gladly, then, will he renounce those "old" Adamic things, and find his glorying, instead, in
the Great Divine Alternative. In this way, Christ has become his All. He belongs, now, to God's new
nation, -his citizenship is in heaven (Phil.3: 20). He boasts in earthly "Israel" no more; -only yearns over
it in brotherly and sympathetic prayer. It has meant a deep and terrible severance by the Cross-, but O the
immeasurable gains!

And the same Paul says to the Philippians, and to us, "Be followers of me". It is a fact that all who are in
Christ will find that they cannot henceforth glory in any "old" national standing, for they are partakers,
now, in an entirely new creation, "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor
uncircumcision... but Christ is all, and in all"(Col.3: 1 0, 11; Gal.3: 27,28).

Only the briefest reference now needs to be made to those other "gains" which Paul has listed in the
passage, -the message is clear and uniform. What he has said about his National Standing is true, in
principle, of all those other imagined "gains". He refers, in his list, to what we may call his "Social
Standing", -"of the tribe of Benjamin". Quite apart from that major matter of the New Creation, which we
have been considering, it would also appear that, in his earlier days, Paul had quite forgotten much of the
history of his boasted clan, -for example, that outstanding Benjamite, King Saul, who had spent the
"better" part of his life seeking to slay the anointed David. If Paul had given due consideration to that,
and to some similar episodes in the history of his tribe, he might have been less inclined to boast that he
was part of Benjamin. (Incidentally, how ashamed some of us might be of our "social standing" and
"family tree", if all the facts were tabled for all to see! How foolish. and how childish. it is for anyone to
boast of anything, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ)!

The list goes on to mention what we could call his "Religious Standing", "concerning zeal, persecuting
the church". That, on his own admission, was the sign and the measure of his previous vaunted "religion";
-"breathing out threatening and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord", -"binding and delivering into
prisons both men and women", -"compelling them to blaspheme", "exceeding mad against them", and all
"according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers. ..zealous toward God!" In this religious fever,
he willingly subscribed to, and participated in the heartless stoning of the Christ -like and Spirit -filled
Stephen. It seems that, in every conceivable and diabolical way, he was dedicated to what he hoped
would be the swift and final liquidation of God's true testimony. Such, he says, was his "religion" and
such was his proud religious standing in the Jewish community.

The Apostle concludes his list by reference to what he thought was his high "Moral Standing",
-"concerning the righteousness which is of the law, blameless". With such a record, he felt he could lift
high the head in any company. Poor blinded Paul; -how totally astray in all his calculations! It was only
when the light shone that he was prepared to bow the neck, and name himself, instead, the chief of
sinners (1 Tim.1: 15).

Looking back over the section, then, we can only say that Paul had a revelation of Christ, and, with it, a
corresponding revelation of the total corruption of Adam, and of all things essentially Adamic. Now he
realises, with shame, that, for all his boastings, he was only a part of that corruption. Now, however, he
has embraced the Available Alternative, and Christ, and Christ alone, is all his glorying.

It is in this context, notice, that Paul makes reference to what he calls the real "circumcision",-the people
who truly are God's own. These, he says, are they, which "worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ
Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh" (Phil.3: 3). Only now has it dawned on him that that original
rite of circumcision, instituted with Abraham, was but a figure, or illustration, of this far deeper thing
pertaining to the spirit. Now he sees that it is "the flesh", in its totality, which is revolting, due to be cut
off, requiring the deep surgery of the Cross, and fit only for out casting and burial. All this was clearly in
Paul's heart and in his thinking, when he wrote "what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for
Christ".

Thus it is that Paul pleads with the Philippians, "Be followers of me" (Phil.3: 17). He himself has
embraced the Cross; he himself has accepted the righteous crucifixion, in Christ, of all that derives from
Adam, and he would have the Philippians do the same, -"Be followers of me".

The question, of course, comes on to us, - "Are we following Paul in this regard"? Have we embraced
that all- removing Cross? The question is, indeed, a deep one, but we venture to say it is basic to
everything, not only for the life of the individual Christian, but also for the securing of a true Church
testimony. But this is the sure pathway that leads on to the glorious reality of Resurrection, and to the
unutterable blessedness of having the Living Christ Himself as our new standing, our new resource, and
our new everything! God forbid that anyone of us should miss this way! To say the very least, we would
all do well to pray earnestly about it.

SECRET OF EFFECTIVE MINISTRY -6
BAKHT SINGH

The fourth Name is, I AM THAT I AM (Exo.3: 12,14). The meaning of that Name is, the Lord will never
change. What He has said, He will do. What He has desired and declared, He will fulfill. "God is not a
man that he should lie; neither: the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it?
or hath he spoken, and shall not make it good?" (Num. 23:19). In the case of Moses, God proved His
faithfulness and fulfilled His promises. In the same way, we too need not depend upon our own courage
or qualifications, but claim God's promises day by day and prove His faithfulness.
God prepared Moses for the very hard task of bringing God's people out of bondage, by revealing His
four Names to him. We are also being prepared in the same way for an effective ministry. To become
unto Him more useful and fruitful, believe in Him as the God of Abraham and be His friend, sharing all
your problems with Him. Know Him as the God of Isaac, and claim from Him the power of resurrection
for all your needs. As the God of Jacob let Him prepare you for the high position of becoming His kings
by your earthly trials. Finally, know that the "I AM THAT I AM", the living God, the faithful God, will
always keep His promises. Whatever He has said in His Word, He must, He must fulfill it. By
experiencing all that, you will become unto Him more useful and fruitful. (Concluded)

THE GREAT MOUNTAIN
BAKHT SINGH

Reading: Daniel

Do we always realize that the mighty God wants us to have His very best? We human beings are so often
satisfied, not merely with the second best, but even with the fourth or fifth best. When you go to the
bazaar to buy vegetables, you look at the different qualities and wonder which kind is the best available.
There are some vegetables, which are not very good. They are a few days old or are partly rotten. Some
people, in order to save a few paise buy such fourth class vegetables, and even though they may get sick
afterwards it does not matter. God wants them to have the very best but they choose the second or third
best. Often God took His saints of old to mountains. How mighty was His purpose when He took
Abraham onto the mountain. He took Moses also to the mount to reveal His eternal purpose, and later He
took David to a mountain. Twice He took Elijah also to a mountain. Our Lord Jesus Himself went to the
mountain-top, with Peter, James and John, and was transfigured there. Again, before He ascended to
Heaven, He took His disciples there. When John was a prisoner on Patmos, our Lord said to him, "Come
on to the mountain and see how the Bride is prepared". All these occasions on the mountains speak of
some great spiritual experience, which God has for His people. But now, we want to know something
about "the great mountain", referred to in Dan. 2:35. "... the stone that smote the image became a great
mountain and filled the whole earth". That mountain speaks of the everlasting Kingdom of the Great and
mighty God, and at the same time, it speaks about the Lord Jesus Christ Himself..Now this great
mountain will not only fill the whole earth but it must also first fill the people of God themselves.

Let us look first at the prophecy itself. It was made by the Prophet Daniel in the year 603 B.C. and has
been partly fulfilled. In this way God has been showing to all people that He has a heavenly plan for all
the nations and kingdoms of the earth.

The great king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon "one day had a dream, and he was very troubled because he
had forgotten what he had seen in the dream. Some of us also have dreams, and by the morning we do not
remember anything about them. So troubled was the king, that he gathered all the wise men of the whole
kingdom to him and questioned them. "You tell me," he said, "what was the dream I had, and then tell me
its meaning." These wise men and scholars were all paid from the king's treasury, but even to please him,
they were unable to tell the dream and still less the interpretation. Then it was that this man Daniel was
used by God to tell the king both the dream and the interpretation thereof.

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.   Matthew 24: 42