But what things were gain - The credit and respect which I had, as being zealously attached to the law, and to the traditions of the elders, I counted loss for Christ - I saw that this could stand me in no stead; that all my acts of righteousness were nothing on which I could depend for salvation; and that Christ crucified could alone profit me; for I found that it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sin.
But what things were gain to me - The advantages of birth, of education, and of external conformity to the law. “I thought these to be gain - that is, to be of vast advantage in the matter of salvation. I valued myself on these things, and supposed that I was rich in all that pertained to moral character and to religion.” Perhaps, also, he refers to these things as laying the foundation of a hope of future advancement in honor and in wealth in this world. They commended him to the rulers of the nation; they opened before him a brilliant prospect of distinction; they made it certain that he could rise to posts of honor and of office, and could easily gratify all the aspirings of his ambition.
Those I counted loss - “I now regard them all as so much loss. They were really a disadvantage - a hindrance - an injury. I look upon them, not as gain or an advantage, but as an obstacle to my salvation.” He had relied on them. He had been led by these things to an improper estimate of his own character, and he had been thus hindered from embracing the true religion. He says, therefore, that he now renounced all dependence on them; that he esteemed them not as contributing to his salvation, but, so far as any reliance should be placed on them, as in fact so much loss.
For Christ - Greek, “On account of Christ.” That is, so far as Christ and his religion were concerned, they were to be regarded as worthless. In order to obtain salvation by him, it was necessary to renounce all dependence on these things.
Of such truehearted followers Jesus declares that He is not ashamed to call them brethren. The God of truth will be on their side, and will never forsake them. All apparent losses for Christ's sake will count to them as infinite gain.—The Signs of the Times, March 25, 1886. RC 379.7Read in context »
“Being reviled,” he said, “we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: being defamed, we entreat;” “as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” 1 Corinthians 4:12, 13; 2 Corinthians 6:10. Ed 68.1
In service he found his joy; and at the close of his life of toil, looking back on its struggles and triumphs, he could say, “I have fought a good fight.” 2 Timothy 4:7. Ed 68.2
These histories are of vital interest. To none are they of deeper importance than to the youth. Moses renounced a prospective kingdom, Paul the advantages of wealth and honor among his people, for a life of burden bearing in God's service. To many the life of these men appears one of renunciation and sacrifice. Was it really so? Moses counted the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt. He counted it so because it was so. Paul declared: “What things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ. Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:7, 8, R.V., margin. He was satisfied with his choice. Ed 68.3Read in context »