We all know Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus and how he met the Lord and was
saved, but this is his testimony of what He was saved from. In other passages we know that he considered himself the greatest sinner, but why? Look here at what He considered to be a pile of dung – Religion, self righteousness, legalistic following of God’s laws as laid out by the conservative religious leaders of the day. Nothing prevents a person from finding God for real more than “churchianity”. Jesus came to save sinners – those who knew that they were lost and not the “moral”, “righteous”, “church going”, “good enough”, “religious” individuals who tried to earn God’s favor. You have to be lost before you can be found. You have to know you are sick before you will seek a doctor. God’s purpose for the Law is to show you that you are wretched, wicked, and unrighteous, not a ten step self help program. God is sharing that with us through Paul who found that out the hard way, and here tells us what the proper new mindset for believers should be.
No Confidence in the Flesh
Phil 3 1Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. 7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 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 gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Who are you Lord?
I AM Holy and righteous. It is I who make men holy by my standard. In the Old days, I recorded my righteous standard in the Law which was to be followed to the letter, knowing full well that you were not able to comply. You were supposed to realize that fact and rely on my mercy and forgiveness to save you. But instead you turned my laws into a religious system to make yourself righteous by your own strength.
I reject any attempt by man to try to be good enough on his own terms. I consider any human effort as rubbish, dung, a loss, and worth nothing. Let me say it again, anything in this world which you rely upon besides my grace to save you will in actuality prevent you from attaining the resurrection that I provide and which you desire. It is reserved for those who realize that they cannot attain unto my righteousness on their own.
I AM a jealous God who wants you to worship me by the Spirit not in the confidence of the flesh. Forsake everything so that you can know my power in your lives to see you through every hardship even unto death. Don’t play religion. Don’t be a “churchian”. Lose everything that is hindering you from experiencing my resurrection life. Only as you truly know me can you turn your back on the mediocre lifestyle of the world to step out in faith and let me live my life through you. If your confidence is in your situation, your job, your church, your family, you have some prioritizing to do. I cannot use you if you are clinging to anything beside me.
Has anything in our past or is anything in our future preventing us from experiencing the gain we have in Christ for eternity?
Those past achievements which we took pride in before, are a loss to us because they kept us from giving our all to Christ. Any future ambition for worldly gain and success which sacrifices our spiritual growth and reward is also loss compared to what God desires for us.
Paul is saying that the life he lived apart from Christ while in his religious zeal is his loss compared to living for the Lord’s desires. And he is saying all future ambition or potential for this world is also lost, but that is ok. Is there anything we are clinging to in this life which we refuse to give up for a deeper walk with God? By comparison it should be considered a waste of our limited time. When this life is over I feel that we will all have the a feeling that we could have done a little bit more for the kingdom than what we have done (some more than others).
Jesus said that the day is almost over; night is coming when no man can work. Are you ready?
As always there is more to say,