Life-Study of Philippiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The four books which make up the heart of the divine revelation—Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians— are an inexhaustible mine. The more we dig into this mine, the more we realize that its riches are inexhaustible. In one verse, Philippians 3:10, we see at least four “diamonds.” Here Paul first says “to know Him.” The pronoun “Him” here denotes Christ as the all-inclusive One. Second, this verse speaks of the power of Christ’s resurrection; third, of the fellowship of His sufferings; and fourth, of being conformed to His death. What riches are in this verse!
In verse 11 Paul goes on to say, “If by any means I may attain to the out-resurrection from among the dead.” Here we find another “diamond”—the out-resurrection from among the dead, the outstanding resurrection.
In 3:7 through 16 Paul uses at least three different Greek words to express the thought of gaining. In verse 8 he says that he suffered the loss of all things and counted them refuse that he “may gain Christ.” The King James Version renders the Greek here as “may win Christ.” But this does not convey Paul’s meaning. The Greek word means to secure, to obtain, to lay hold of. In verse 12 Paul uses two other words which mean “obtain” and “lay hold of.” Thus, he speaks of gaining, obtaining, and laying hold of Christ. To lay hold means to grasp or to take possession. Paul’s desire was not only to gain Christ, but also to obtain Him and even lay hold of Him.
According to verse 12, Paul’s desire was to lay hold of that for which he had been laid hold of by Christ Jesus. On the way to Damascus, Paul inquired of the One who had appeared to him, “Who art thou, Lord?” (Acts 9:5). When the Lord answered, “I am Jesus,” He laid hold of Paul. Now in Philippians Paul can say that he was seeking to lay hold of that for which Christ had laid hold of him.
When we were saved, Christ laid hold of us. Perhaps we did not realize this at first. But as all those who have tried to escape His grasp realize, it is impossible to run away from Him. Christ has indeed laid hold of us so that we may now gain Him, obtain Him, and lay hold of Him.
Paul’s use of three different Greek words to express the idea of gaining indicates the Lord’s desire is that we gain Him, obtain Him, and lay hold of Him. Some readers may think that these expressions are mere repetitions. However, instead of being repetitious, they point to three stages of the securing of Christ. In verse 8 Paul says, “I have suffered the loss of all things and count them refuse that I may gain Christ.” This marks the beginning of securing the Lord. In verse 10 Paul goes on to say, “To know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Here we have the second stage, the process of obtaining Christ. What we have in this verse is actually the way to obtain Him. Eventually, in the third stage, we lay hold of Christ (v. 12). This is the completion of the securing of Christ.
We all have experienced the first stage, for we all have gained Christ. When we believed in the Lord and received Him, we gained Him. This was the beginning of our gaining of Christ. Now we need to gain Him continually. To gain Christ continually is to obtain Him. Eventually the completion of this process is that we lay hold of Christ.
We know from verse 12 that Paul did not regard himself as one who had already obtained. Here Paul seems to be saying, “I have not yet obtained, but I am on the way. I am in the process of obtaining Christ that I may lay hold of Him.”
In verses 8, 10, and 12 we see the initial gaining of Christ, the continual gaining of Him, which is the obtaining, and the completion of the obtaining, which is the laying hold of Christ. In this message I am not burdened to cover either the initial gaining of Christ or the final laying hold of Him. My burden is related to the process of the continual obtaining of Christ, the process which takes place between the initial gaining of Christ and the final laying hold of Him.
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