But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Philippians 3:7
The apostle Paul spend his entire life focused on and preparing for the priesthood. He studied the law for years and sat under the training of the top leaders of his time. He learned how to be good and how to obey God’s law down to the last detail. He had so much zeal for the work of God that he actually thought he was doing the right thing by persecuting the Christians. However, as he talks about these details of his life here in chapter three, he goes on to say that having acquired these credentials to qualify to become a priest, has now become worthless to him. All his greatest accomplishments in life have now become a pile of garbage to him. Everything he has worked for his entire life he is now willing to trade for his new identity in Christ. Essentially, he is saying that he no longer wants to be recognized at Saul the law keeper/priest, but rather Paul the child of God in Christ Jesus. His identity has changed and now he is wrapped up in the gift of his salvation in Christ Jesus. Now God sees Paul as he sees Jesus, not as a sinful man.
It is the same for us today. As good and perfect as God’s law is, it can never save us. It is merely a measuring stick to keep us lined up with God’s ways. True righteousness and salvation only comes by having a personal relationship with Jesus our Savior. All the good works and high credentials in the world cannot save your soul from destruction. You can never be good enough to deserve eternal life with God. It is only through the perfect Son of God that we can enter into His presence. I like the way it is phrased in the message translation. It says: Paul didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when he could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.
Today I want to encourage you to examine your life. Are you depending on a lot of good deeds to secure your eternity in heaven? Or have you invited Jesus into your life and heart to be your Savior and guide in this life. Doing good things is living right, but only Jesus can give you righteousness (right standing with God) Now others can see the love of God for them through our acts of kindness and generosity, not by how we enforce the rules. Don’t settle for a life of legalism, get true salvation in Christ Jesus.
If you have never invited Jesus into your life, do it today by praying this simple prayer: God in heaven, I know I’m a sinner and I need a Savior. I want to turn away from my sinful life to the life You have planned for me. Please forgive me for my sins, cleanse me from my past, and make me new. I know your Son, Jesus died for me. I believe in my heart that You raised Him form the dead. At this very moment, I accept, confess, and proclaim Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior . . . to be Lord of my life from this day forward. I now have a right relationship with God my Father. I also ask for Your Holy Spirit to guide me and to empower me to do the things that You have planned for my life in Jesus name, Amen
Today’s scripture reading: Philippians 3:7-11