Two of the most common ways we are taught to treasure Jesus above all else in this world is in the way we deal with loss and in the way we handle forgiveness. And the two things go hand in hand. Forgiveness means letting go of some grievance. It means giving up the charge of guilt we hold over our brothers’ head (whether justified or not).
Why does Paul, who once persecuted the church, now make it his joy to, “count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord?
Why does he say, “I consider all else rubbish, that he may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8)?
Because Jesus has acquitted this guilty man. He has sent the Spirit of Grace to sustain Paul and He had opened the doorway to heaven that Paul might one day pack up his tent and move on.
This is crucial to understanding the gospel. Treasuring Jesus in our lives is not motivated by a sense of duty. It is motivated by a response of the heart when, having encountered Jesus as the one who forgives and redeems, He now means more to you than anything else.
Here is a true saying and worthy of acceptance,
There can be little gain without some loss and little redemption without some forgiveness.
Following Jesus and treasuring Him above all else involves a willingness to accept a measure of temporary loss in this life. Loss of reputation. Loss of possessions, loss of status and even a loss of life. But through that loss, we gain the resurrection and eternal life.
And the only way to lay hold of this gain is through redemption, the forgiveness of our sins.
In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1:7)
This forgiveness is not something we receive only, but something that is evidently treasured in our willingness to forgive those who sin against us. Without forgiveness, there can be no redemption – as many a broken relationship can testify to.
Our willingness to accept some loss in order to enjoy a greater gain, and our willingness to forgive, in order to share in a great redemption is something that should characterise every day of our lives until the day we die.
And death, when it comes, will be the last testimony on earth we give to show that we treasure our Redeemer and His mercy above all else.
Our death is the last time on earth for glorifying God. It happens by counting everything on earth as loss and counting the sight of Christ in heaven as gain.
There are untold tears when someone we love dies. That’s okay. It testifies to the value we place on the gift of life. But even here, through all the tears, there is a way to treasure Christ.
Job showed us how. When the news came that all ten of his children were dead, we are told that,
Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshipped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:20-21)
He wept and he worshipped.
And so the old hymn goes…
And when I come to die
Oh, and when I come to die
And when I come to die
Give me Jesus
…you can have all this world
But give me Jesus.
This is the ultimate good in the Good News and this is eternal life: That we may know the one true God and the Son whom He has sent (John 17:3). All other news is just mediocre.