[CF Devotionals] 2003-10-11 - Philippians

Part 25

  1. The Spiritual Mind - Cont'd.

    If it were possible to depend on things, then Paul notes that he, above many, would certainly be able to do so. He then goes on to list those things that would validate his worth. First, of course, he was circumcised. He was born in the house of Benjamin, one of the tribes of Israel. He was a Pharisee, greatly committed to the keeping of the Law. So much so that he required this same zealousness of others, even to the point he persecuted the followers of Jesus. He did so out of a commitment to the Law, as he understood it. All he did, he did because he believed it was right and that he was made righteous by his deeds.

    But ..." ... Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from Heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, `Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?'

    `Who are you, Lord?' Saul asked.`I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' he replied. `Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do'" (Acts 9:1-6).

    Verses 4b-6: Suddenly Paul's entire perspective changed. All that had been the basis of his confidence was taken away. His faith, demonstrated most clearly through his persecution of the heretics following The Way, turned to ashes when he realized he was actually persecuting the very God he claimed to follow.

    Verses 7-11: Paul was more than willing to give up all that seemed to have value. He realized there was nothing worth keeping, if it kept him from Jesus Christ. And really the issue wasn't so much what he was giving up, as how much he had to gain from following God,how much the Lord would give him to replace that which was lost. As Jim Elliot put it, "He is no fool to give what he cannot keep to gain, what he cannot lose." 2

    Listen again to how Paul expresses it. "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"(Philippians 3:8).

    The point is that Paul has absolutely nothing, not one thing, that can earn him God's acceptance.It is God Himself who supplies the righteousness necessary to make Paul one with Him. Paul makes it clear it isn't the righteousness of the Law which saves. Now this is saying that some can do an outstanding work of keeping the Law. He did. But this is empty, because no one can keep the Law perfectly. The only true righteousness comes through the acceptance of the work of Christ on the cross.

  1. Ibid., p. 98.

Questions or Comments?
Geoff

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