Knowing Christ

My dear Brothers and sisters;

Oh that we need to have our eyes opened so that we may know what we ought to know, namely, the surpassing value of knowing Christ. I pray the Father, in the name of Jesus, that He may grant to us such blessing, for if we do not know Christ, and the value of knowing Him, we have no hope of seeing ourselves transformed. We will continue to be at the mercy of our sinful dreams and desires, at the mercy of the latest current of our societies. At the mercy of our many limitations as human beings. And we will simply not know what we should know, until it will be too late.

The Apostle Paul knew the “Value” of Knowing Christ

We see in his letter to the Philippians that the Apostle Paul had come to understand the surpassing value of knowing Christ. He came to realize that knowing Christ was the greatest treasure he had to possess, above – and actually in lieu of – everything else that He had.

Philippians 3:7,8 But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…

Knowing Christ was, for Paul, worth everything and more. He did not simply consider that everything that he had – and was in his society – to be little to lose in order to gain that intimate knowledge of who Christ is, but he also considered them to be a real waste, an encumbrance.

Philippians 3:8Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them as dung, so that I may gain Christ.

One element that is very interesting to note is that Paul plainly declared that he did not yet know Christ, but that this was his goal, and that he was doing everything to reach it.

Philippians 3:10-12My goal is to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death, 11 assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead. 12 Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.

But my question to my God is HOW? HOW Father may I KNOW THE VALUE of Knowing Christ?

If I know the value, my life will change. My desires will change. My pursuit will change. At this point, it matters more to me that know the value of knowing Christ, for if I do not know its value, how will I pursue that knowledge. Paul knew the value, hence he made “every effort to know Christ”.

Oh my people, the answer is right before our eyes! It is right there in the passage itself: CHRIST HAS TO TAKE HOLD OF ME FIRST!

Philippians 3:12 – Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.

The verb translated “taken hold of” is katalambánō [Greek: 2638], and it has a forceful, almost violent connotation to it. It means to grasp something in a forceful (firm) manner; (figuratively) to apprehend (comprehend), “making it one’s own.”

Is that how the Christian life starts? I am not sure. Perhaps not necessarily. But one thing seems sure to me: Understanding the value of knowing Christ starts this way. Christ must take hold of me. He must apprehend me. He somehow must manifest Himself to me FIRST.

We know that the consequences of Christ taking hold of us are pretty severe, if Paul’s loss of everything is any indication. Could it be therefore that there is timing to when Christ does decide to take hold of each one of us, so that He does it when He knows it is the right time? I ask God for I do not know.

But one thing Paul does offer is the following. Whatever truth we DO know, we should strive to live up to it.

Philippians 3:16,17In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained. 17 Join in imitating me, brothers and sisters, and pay careful attention to those who live according to the example you have in us.

May God open your eyes and mine, that we may understand these deep truths, and the value of knowing His Son, Jesus, the CHRIST.

In Jesus name. AMEN.

Confession without Repentance

My dear brothers and sisters;

I ask the Father of mercies, in the name of Jesus, His Son, that He pours upon us His mercies, and gives us a heart of repentance toward Him, for such a heart is one of great value before Him.

Have you wondered if there was a relationship between confessing the Lord Jesus, and repentance? If there is one, what is it? Are they synonymous? Does one come before the other? If yes, which one? “Must” one come before the other? In Acts, the Apostle Paul summarized in ministry as follows:

Acts 20:21I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus.

I submit to you that having faith in Jesus necessitates that you have confessed Him as Lord. I also submit to you that your confession is only valid if you have repented toward God first. One must first repent before their confession of Jesus as Lord can be considered valid.

On the day the Church was born (on the day of Pentecost), after Peter explained to the assembly what they had just witnessed – the disciples speaking in tongues – they were deeply hurt because he had testified that Jesus, whom the Jews had crucified, was indeed the messiah and was now resurrected and glorified.

Acts 2:37When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what should we do?”

But now look at the response Peter gave when they asked “Brothers, what should we do?”

Acts 2:38Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

We can glean at least two elements in Peter’s response.

Anyone can repent, at any time: God protects a man’s ability to repent 

Peter instructed the people to repent, and he expected them to do it on the spot. In other words, repentance can be done immediately, and without the Holy Spirit. It is a God given ability, an ability that He protect so that anyone can be saved. Neither the Devil, the Angels or any other creatures can steal or nullify this ability.

Repentance emanates from a deep conviction that you are personally responsible and guilty of murdering Jesus, the Son of God, who, being sinless, did not deserve to die.

Jesus did not simply die FOR you. 

Jesus died BECAUSE of you. YOU have the blood of Jesus in your hands. YOU are guilty. YOU are a murderer.

Unless one is deeply convicted of this truth, one cannot truly repent. And unless one repents, one cannot be forgiven of his crime.

One MUST repent before he can be forgiven of their sins

From the response, we also see that repentance is a necessary condition for receiving the forgiveness of your sins. How can one be forgiven unless he 1) is made fully aware of his crime, and 2) acknowledges his crime, and 3) seeks grace for his crime? This is the process of repentance, a process that Peter, through His preaching that day, enabled in the people who were present that day. The people indeed did rightfully ask:

Brothers, what should we do?

Answer:Now that I have made you fully aware of your crime of your charge, you must acknowledge it as true. Then you should seek grace from the great Judge, and He will forgive you.

Many who have confessed Jesus as Lord never got saved

Romans 10:9,10If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

I submit to you that this passage must be understood in light of the account of the day of Pentecost.

Confession of Jesus as Lord necessitates that repentance has taken place first. One must first repent toward God. One must first acknowledge his state as guilty of murder before God. The one YOU once murdered is now ALIVE. He is LORD. How can you expect that your recognition of His Lordship (He is LORD) will be judged valid, genuine, unless you have first repented of your crime toward Him?

Hence, we conclude that your confession is invalid without true repentance. You are still in your sins. You are still dead.

But to those who have indeed repented, and confessed Jesus as Lord, a new call, a shout from heaven has been issued: Bring forth fruits Worthy of Repentance!

In Jesus Name. AMEN.