Friday, 5 March 2021
'…that I may gain Christ and be found in him not having a righteousness that comes from the law…’ -Philippians 3:8-9
People try various ways and means to get right with God—some prepared to go to any length to achieve this. But, are they on the right track? Much of it is done on their own perceptions about self-righteousness, “feel-good” methods that amount to nothing.
Paul in today’s Scripture reading clearly explains 3 areas that people usually put their confidence in, as they try to live 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.
Therefore today Paul cautions us:
Not to put our confidence in the flesh [v.3]- an exhortation not to trust our human efforts when we worship God. Our posture, our attire, our giving/alms or acts of service can surpass those around us but it can never be methods to 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 (Romans 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.
Not to put our confidence in our heritage, privileges and attainment: In Vs. 4-7, Paul recalls all that he used to glory in before his dramatic encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s 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 (v.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 count compared to knowing Christ and living for Him!
Not to put our confidence in 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 (v.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 a living relationship with God, through trusting Christ to make you righteous, counts before Him.
Once this dawned on him, Paul declares it loud and clear in whom he has placed his confidence. In Vs. 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 (Vs. 10&11).
What have you counted on to make you right before God? There is nothing worthwhile in this life than knowing the Lord, living for Him and then spending eternity with Him. 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 surely our name will be in the Book of Life.
‘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: ‘All I once held dear’