Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

How You Can Have the Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ

How can you have the excellency of the knowledge of Christ?

As a believer, are you satisfied with your present experience of Christ? Few of us are. But in order to experience and enjoy Him more, we first need the excellency of the knowledge of Christ.

Consider the example of the apostle Paul.  It was by having the excellency of the knowledge of Christ that he was able to count all things loss so that he might gain Christ, be found in Christ, and experience Christ.

In Philippians 3:8 Paul said,

“But moreover I also count all things to be loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as refuse that I may gain Christ.”

What is the “excellency of the knowledge of Christ” that Paul was speaking of?  And how can we have such an excellent knowledge of Him?

How excellent is your knowing of Christ?

We need more than just learning  the stories about Jesus from the Bible. That’s good. But we need to go beyond the letter of the Bible to have a subjective seeing, knowing and appreciating of Christ.

And the point here isn’t just a matter of the excellency of Christ, but the excellency is our knowing of such a Christ.

Christ Himself is excellent, but is our knowing of Him excellent? But where then does this excellency of the knowledge of Christ come from?

The excellency of the knowledge of Christ comes from a revelation of Him.

Let’s consider Paul’s revelation of Christ.

Originally, he was  Saul of Tarsus, a devoted Jewish religionist and a strong opposer of the Christian faith among the Jews. But one day as he was on his way to persecute the believers in Damascus, the Lord met him and gave him an extraordinary seeing.

The resurrected and ascended Jesus Christ met Saul on the road to Damascus, stopped him with heavenly light and apprehended him with His penetrating voice. This shattered Saul’s concepts about who Jesus was.

He thought Jesus was just a Jew who had been killed for his rebellion to the sacred Jewish faith. Little did Saul know but that this Jesus was the Lord of all, the eternal God who became a lowly man, died for our redemption, was raised from the dead and ascended to the throne in the heavens.

Not only so, this enthroned Jesus, was indwelling His believers to make them one with Him as one great corporate “Me.”  For Jesus said to Saul,

“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me.” (Acts 9:4)

This Jesus was speaking from the heavens.  Yet, at the same time, He was living in His persecuted believers on earth. Persecuting them was to persecute Him. He was their ascended Head and they were the members of His Body on earth.

On the one hand, Jesus is the ascended Lord in heaven. On the other hand, He is the indwelling Christ, living  in His believers to make them the members of His Body.

What an awesome vision, what an extraordinary seeing Saul had concerning Jesus! It was the excellency of the knowledge of Christ that changed the entire course of his life. He was instantly turned from a persecutor to a pursuer of Christ. What about us?

God delights to reveal His Son, Jesus Christ to us.

God the Father delights to give people a living vision of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Paul said ,

“It pleased God to reveal His Son in me” (Gal. 1:15-16).

Paul’s experience should also be ours because God made him a pattern to all of us who believe (1 Tim. 1:16).

But He needs those who are inwardly prepared and open to receive His revelation.

We need to be adjusted in our heart and our spirit to have the excellency of the knowledge of Christ.

First, we need to turn our heart to the Lord–2 Cor. 3:16.

In 2 Corinthians 3:16 Paul said,

“But whenever their heart turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”

We need to turn our heart away from all our old, traditional and religious concepts to see Christ in a new and living way. We may take for granted that He is God’s Son and the Savior of sinners, but not be open to see something further and higher concerning Christ. Our old concepts often veil us.

We need to pray,

“Lord Jesus, I turn my heart to you right now. Remove all  the veils from my heart. Help me to drop all my old concepts so that I might see you in a new way and uplifted way.”

Second, we need a spirit of wisdom and revelation to behold Christ–Eph. 1:17.

Paul specifically prayed that God would give us such a spirit in Ephesians 1:17:

 “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him.

The revelation that God intends to give us is not a miraculous seeing, but an inward seeing that is related to the condition of our inner being—specifically our spirit and our heart.

Such a spirit of wisdom and revelation is our spirit, regenerated by God’s Spirit (John 3:6). This spirit is the right organ for us to receive a revelation of the excellency of Christ.  But we need to learn to exercise our spirit to contact the Lord especially in coming to God’s Word by means of prayer.

This  can be likened to taking pictures with a camera. All the “photos” we take of Christ in God’s Word are infused into us through “camera lense” of our turned and unveiled heart. They are captured on the “film” [or SD card] of our spirit. In this way we have the excellency of the knowledge of Christ–becoming a vision that is within us.

We can exercise our spirit of wisdom by calling on the Lord and saying “Amen” to God’s Word as we read the Bible.

Third, we can  fill our inner being with the excellency or the knowledge of Christ by prayerfully reading, or pray-reading God’s word in a daily way–Eph. 6:17-18.

In Ephesians 6:17-18a, Paul said,

“Receive…the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, by means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit.”

By prayerfully reading the Lord’s Word with a turned heart and an exercised spirit, we’ll be able to receive more revelation of Him and gain the excellency of the knowledge of Christ.

I recommend a consecutive reading of the books of the Bible, mingled with prayer. I also have found the Recovery Version with the notes to be a very helpful tool in pointing out the many excellent aspects of Christ revealed in each book of the Bible.  It’s  companion commentary, the Life-study of the Bible, is an additional help to apply the revelation of Christ to our daily Christian life.

If you’ve found any point of this post helpful, I hope that you would leave a comment. You can also make it a conversation by visiting the Holding to Truth Facebook page or Google+ Page.

References and Further Resources:

  • This post was inspired by my reading of Message 19 of  the Life-study of Philippians, on “The Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ” and Chapter 7 of the Elders’ Training, Book 6 on “The Crucial Points of the Truth in Philippians and Colossians” both by Witness Lee. You can read them for free online at ministrybooks.org.
  • Also for a broader appreciation for the excellency of Christ, I would recommend prayerfully reading and studying the verses and footnotes on Christ (especially “His Being All-inclusive”) in the free Topical Directory of the booklet, Using the New Testament Recovery Version – An Illustrated Guide. This booklet is a helpful tool to use along with the New Testament Recovery Version. You can access it online here or order the Recovery Version from Bibles for America (only in the US).

 

 

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

7 Replies

  1. Glenn

    Praise the Lord that the eyes of our heart have been enlightened to see
    such a marvelous revelation! Thank you brother Tom.

    1. Tom Smith

      Amen! We praise the Lord for such a great mercy. Even as Jesus said to Peter in Matt. 16:17, “…flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in the heavens.” We can only worship Him and pray as we come to the Word, turning our heart to the Lord and asking the Father to grant us such a spirit of wisdom and revelation to see the glorious Christ on every page. By coming to Him as we come to the Scriptures we receive life (John 5:39-40).

  2. Joel

    Amen! We turn our heart to You! Do give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation to behold and reflect You! Fill our inner being with Yourself through Your word. Lord we desire to know You, the power of Your resurrection, the fellowship of Your sufferings, being conformed to Your death. Add more of Your life and divine nature to us daily! Amen.

  3. James Kivuitu

    Thanks you for the insightful revelation of this passage. May God bless you as you continue to minister to many.

    1. Tom Smith

      James, How much we need our appreciation for Christ to be uplifted, to have the excellency of the knowledge of Him! It is only by such an uplifted seeing of Christ, that we could count all things as loss, in order to gain Christ, to be found in Him and know Him in an subjective, experiential way (Phil 3:7-10). Thank you for your confirming comment.

  4. Rani Jayachandran

    Thank you very much for the wonderful insight about the excellency of the knowledge of Christ.
    I am very much blessed.
    Bless you

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you were blessed by this post. It is the excellency of the knowledge of Christ that inwardly changes us. Paul prayed that we would know and experience such a Christ (Eph. 1:17-18; 3:16-17). May this also become our aspiration and prayer. THanks for sharing your appreciation.

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