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
`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
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
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.