Solicitude to Enjoy Christ
William Nicholson, 1862
"That I may win Christ." Philippians 3:8
There are times in the life of every believer when death, and judgment, and eternity, are presented to the mind's eye in all their solemn importance. At those seasons, the things of earth appear in their proper character, as vain and finite, and incapable of satisfying a regenerate soul. Then especially Christ is seen to be an invaluable prize. So it was with Paul, "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may win Christ!" Philippians 3:7-8. He parted with all in order to win "the pearl of great price," which alone could make him rich, honorable, and happy forever!
I. The Object of Christian Solicitude.
The Apostle speaks of this object as a prize. The prize is "Christ" . . .
the anointed Savior;
the Divine Redeemer;
the Substitute for His people;
the Fountain of all spiritual blessings;
the "Pearl of great Price."
1. This Prize has been graciously given to man. "God so loved," etc. John 3:16. Called "the unspeakable Gift," 2 Corinthians 9:15; Romans 8:32.
2. The sinner's spiritual wretchedness required such a gift, or prize. Fallen, dark, condemned, under the curse, and exposed to death. Romans 5:6-8.
3. This Prize is exactly adapted to man's needs He gives . . .
pardon to the guilty,
liberty to the captive,
life to the condemned,
health to the sick,
light to the blind,
food to the hungry,
the robe of righteousness to the naked soul,
rest to the weary,
strength to the weak,
and riches to the poor.
4. No person, nor any human system, can become a substitute for this prize. "Neither is there salvation in any other." "For other foundation," etc.
5. Therefore, he is a rich and invaluable Prize. Who can estimate the value? Neither men, nor angels. He who wins, wins
the most valuable jewel in the universe — he becomes richer than the most wealthy, and more honorable than the most noble in the world.
Christ's value and preciousness are applicable at all times, and in every state. In all trouble, trials, etc., then he is a friend indeed. He dignifies the young — is the glory of manhood — and the staff of old age.
6. This Prize is immortal. Other prizes, possessions, estates, wither and decay, or we must leave them; but this prize shall endure forever.
II. What Is Implied in Winning the Prize?
To win is to obtain possession of anything, 2 Chronicles 32:1. To win Christ is to get possession of him as an everlasting portion.
1. Negatively, this Prize cannot be won,
(1.) By self-righteousness. Romans 3:20-24, etc.
(2.) Nor by ceremonial observances. Baptism does not save; nor a profession or form of religious duty. This prize is a free gift.
(3.) Nor by bodily austerities. God afflicts the soul. It is his province only, and different from the prescription of fanatical priests. Isaiah 58:5; Joel 2:13.
2. Positively, this Prize can be won,
(1.) Those who win are enlightened by the Spirit to see the richness, glory, and suitability of this Prize, and brought to feel their need of it. Revelation 3:17, 18.
(2.) The creation in the soul of earnest desires to win or possess it. Psalm 73:25; Hebrews 11:16; Philippians 1:23.
(3.) Compliance with the requisitions of the Gospel.
Such as self-abhorrence for guilt, vileness, etc.
Such as self-denial, parting with all, like the Apostle Paul, as stated in the context; so the penitent sells all to buy this treasure. See Matthew 13:44-46.
Such as faith in the Sacrifice of Christ, through which we possess his grace, promises, friendship, love, etc. etc.
Such as the performance of Christian duties. Not that these merit the Prize, but prove that we have it.
Such as love him for it. Hence we fight the good fight of faith — run the race set before us — "pressing towards the mark for the prize,"' etc.
1. How different the pursuit of the righteous, from that of the wicked!
2. Let believers continue in the good old way, and, in dependence upon divine grace, so run as to obtain.
3. Let the penitent — the Christless — the Prizeless, be induced to win while it is an accepted time, and the day of salvation.