by Thomas Manton
"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself." Phil 3:7-21
From the state of those who are to be converted. There is in all some false and imaginary happiness, and some counterfeit righteousness, wherein they please themselves. The false happiness is as their god, and the counterfeit is as their Christ and mediator, and so they are secure and senseless; and till God open their eyes, they neither seek after another happiness, nor trouble themselves about the way whereby they may attain it. That men set up a false happiness in their natural estate needs not much proof; for ever since man fell from God he ran to the creature: Jer. 2:13, 'My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and have hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.' We left the fountain, and betook ourselves to the cistern; and if we can make a shift to patch up a sorry happiness here in the world apart from God, we care not for him, will not come at him: Jer. 2:31, 'Wherefore say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee?' Our pleasure, profit, and honour, that is our god; and while we enjoy these things without control, we look no further, but count ourselves well paid.
From the nature and parts of conversion. It is a turning from the creature to God, from self to Christ, from sin to holiness. Now in all these respects, many things which were formerly gain to us are found to be loss, impediments, and hindrances to our full conversion. Certain it is conversion consists in a turning from the creature to God; for when God is laid aside the creature hath our hearts, and intercepts our love; and till we have another last end and chief good, we are carnal. If we love pleasures more than God, we are of the number of those that love themselves, 2 Tim. 3:4. If we love the praise of men more than the praise of God, John 12:43, how are we faithful to Christ? Therefore till we are inclined to God, turned to God more than to other things, there is no conversion. So for the second part; till turned from self to Christ, till we receive Christ by faith, we cannot come to God as the last end or chief good. So we come to Christ as the way to the Father, John 14:6. Christ alone is our way, by his merit taking off the legal exclusion, by his Spirit giving us a heart to come to God. Turning from the creature to God, and not by Christ, is no true turning. So believing in Christ, while the creature hath our hearts, is no true believing. Then there is a turning from sin to holiness. This followeth; for an inordinate love of the creature is sin, and love to God and delight to do the things that please him is holiness. We turn to God, not only as our happiness, but as our sovereign and lord. Therefore if we are fitted to obey him by the change of our natures, and do actually obey him by the change of our lives, then we are converts. Now supposing all those things (as they are evident and clear), it must needs follow that those things we formerly counted gain, when we are converted we count loss. Why? Because if we still idolise the creature we lessen God. If we exalt self, we despise or neglect the reconciling and renewing grace of the Redeemer. If we retain our love to sin, we abate of our care of holiness. If the creature be still our idol, how is God our God? If self-righteousness or superficial righteousness be still esteemed, how will Christ be precious to us? If sin be still our delight, holiness will be still our burden. Therefore if God be our God, and Christ our saviour and redeemer, prosperity, riches, credit, pleasure and honour, will be a sorry happiness, and counterfeit and superficial righteousness yield no solid peace to the conscience.
Table of Contents
Sermon I. "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ,"
Sermon II. "Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,"
Sermon III. "Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss," &c.,
Sermon IV. "That I may win Christ,"
Sermon V. "And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith,"
Sermon VI. "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death,"
Sermon VII. "If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead,"
Sermon VIII. "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus,"
Sermon IX. "Not as though I had already attained," &c.,
Sermon X. "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth toward those things which are before, I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ,"
Sermon XI. "I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ,"
Sermon XII. "Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so, as ye have us for an example,"
Sermon XIII. "For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ,"
Sermon XIV. "Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things,"
Sermon XV. "For our conversation is in heaven,"
Sermon XVI. "From whence also we look for our Saviour and Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ,"
Sermon XVII. "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself,"
Sermon XVIII. "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,"
Sermon XIX. "To die is gain,"