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Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Philippians 3 : 1-11

'…that I may gain Christ and be found in him not having a righteousness that comes from the law…’ -Philippians 3:8-9

People all over the world are trying to get right with God through various ways and they would go to any length to achieve this. But, are they on the right track?

Paul in today’s scripture reading clearly explains 3 areas that people usually put their confidence in, as they try to live out their spiritual lives. These were the same areas Paul thought were his strengths that would lead him into a righteous living. But he soon realized that it was not to be.

Today he warns us –

  1. Not to put our confidence in the flesh: [Phil. 3:3] Paul here exhorts us not to trust our human efforts when we worship God. Our posture, our attire, our giving or acts of service can surpass those around us but it can never please God. All that God is looking for is a transformed heart with a renewed mind in Christ Jesus—this is our spiritual act of worship (Rom.12:1-2). If our worship does not follow this pattern laid out by God we would be only fooling ourselves every time we enter His presence.

  2. Not to put our confidence in our heritage, privileges and attainment: In Phil. 3:4-7, Paul recalls all that he used to glory in, before his dramatic encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. Its only then that he realized that all that he had valued and cherished in his life amounted to rubbish when compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus his Lord (Phil. 3:8). What have you put your confidence in- your riches? Your education? Your status? Let us understand from Paul’s example that none of these things are of any worth compared to knowing Christ and living for Him!

  3. Not to put our confidence in the religious rituals: Paul the renowned teacher, scholar, the religious fanatic suddenly becomes aware that all his prayers, rules and regulations that he had meticulously followed could never make him right before a holy God. Though once he boasted in being one in whom none could find fault in his legalistic righteousness (Phil. 3:7), now finds himself way short of the glory of God. The same applies to any one of us who trusts our religion or righteous/good acts to be counted accepted by God. Only trusting Christ to make you righteous before God counts before Him.

Once this dawned on him, Paul declares it loud and clear in whom he has placed his confidence.  In Phil. 3:8-9 Paul proclaims that his righteousness comes through faith in Christ – a righteousness from God through faith. Now all that Paul wants to do is to live and die for Christ so that one day he would be in eternity with his Master (Phil. 3:10-11).

Is this what you and I desire? Jesus said, “I go to prepare a mansion for you and I will return to take you to be with me.” [paraphrased John 14:2-3] But what stops us from reaching this eternity? Our strivings, our wisdom and our strength. 

But if we have found our righteousness in Christ Jesus, just as Paul did, then when the roll is called our names are sure to be in the Book of Life.


Thought for the Day:

‘Do not strive in your own strength...

wait upon him in the sure confidence that he is with you and works in you.’  

- Andrew Murray

Listen- Christ Alone- Cornerstone

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