Lupine in Colorado- 2008 Debra Davis
Philippinas 3:4-7, NASB
4) although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more:
5) circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee;
6) as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.
7) But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
-Paul had much he could have boasted in about himself, much that could have been a source of pride.
-None of those things brought him salvation, our only hope is in Christ and His work on the cross.
As you recall from my post on Philippians 3:1-3 Paul was addressing the problem of false teachers saying that the Philippian believers needed to be circumcised in order to be saved. He is stating very emphatically here that it is not in flesh that we put our confidence. The flesh has no power to save, no matter what we do to it, no matter who we were born to, no matter how well we follow the rule of law. Paul recognizes that if anyone can boast in these things it is he, "You think you are good, I was better" is in essence what he is saying in these verses. Yet non of these things mattered, not that he was born a Hebrew, not that he was a Pharisee, not his zeal for God, not his circumcision, he let it all go for the sake of Christ.
I know without a doubt that it is Christ who has saved me, who has given me life everlasting, who has assured me of a place with Him in heaven. There is nothing I have done or can do beyond recognizing my sin and turning away from it by confessing Jesus as Lord. It is all about grace. And yet if I look deep within I find some troubling things. The thing that particularly strikes me is this passage is Paul's zeal. According to Webster's zeal means "eagerness and ardent interest in pursuit of something." That is a good thing for a Christian to have. But I wonder if it sometimes leads me down a road of replacing grace with works. That is not to say that works do not have their place, but I need to keep them in their proper place. Do I try to affect my standing before God by doing good things? That is a mindset that does creep into my life at times: I may have kept my quiet time this week, read through my Bible, helped feed the poor, served my neighbor; so I am deserving of being blessed by God, having my prayers answered the way I would like. None of those activities are bad, in fact I think they are a natural outflow of my life with Christ. But they are no substitute for grace. They are not what puts me in good standing with God. They are not some bargaining chips I can pull out to try and get my way.
I have such a great reward, not because of anything I have done, but because Christ has reconciled me to God. I love to read through the letter to the Ephesians and be reminded of all the riches I have in Christ. I need the reminder that they are all part of the gift so freely given to me. Now, I know the zeal Paul was talking about was misplaced. He thought he was zealous for God when in actuality he was an enemy fighting against God. I do not have that problem. I am a bond-servant of Christ. I know whose side I am on. Paul counted all those things which he held as vital to his faith prior to Christ as worth losing for Christ's sake. That too, I find interesting...for Christ's sake. Not for his own. Was there not a selfish bone in this man's body? I am still far too driven by self, I have to constantly question my motives. How often have I said yes to things, not because of my desire to be like Christ, but to be liked by others? Oh, Paul, he never ceases to challenge the way I think about myself and my relationship to God. These thoughts continue in the next few verses, so I think I will stop for now and godo some more contemplating.
I am a woman with a Mary heart and these are my musings as I read and study God's Word
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