Yesterday, I posted on Philippians 3:3 which summarized three of things members of the universal Church should have in common: worshiping God by the Spirit, glorying in Jesus Christ and putting no confidence in the flesh.
I’d like to touch again on the third point that Paul makes, having no confidence in our flesh. This points us totally to the grace of God. What we do can never and will never be enough to satisfy being righteous before God.
A few verses later in Philippians 3, Paul reiterates this:
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having fa righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith – that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. – Philippians 3:7-11 (ESV)
Notice what Paul says about “stuff”:
(v. 7) “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss…”
(v. 8) “Indeed, I count everything as loss…”
(v. 8) “…I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish…”
In Paul’s case, “stuff” referred to such things as position, rank, education, ancestry and passion. For him, this “stuff” brought prestige and honor and was very important – at one time – to him.
But all of that stuff, he now counts as a loss. They are garbage to him. They once were valuable, but now they are worth nothing. Why? He makes it clear:
(v. 7) “…for the sake of Christ.”
(v. 8) “…because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
(v. 8) “For his sake…”
(v. 8-9) “…in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him.”
(v. 10) “That I may know him…”
(v. 11) “That by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
All of his resume’ is worthless because Paul wants to be found in Christ.
His “stuff” means nothing because, as v. 9 reminds us, you can can’t have “a righteousness of my own that comes from the law.” Because we are sinners and we sin, obtaining righteousness on our own is impossible. Our righteousness “comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (v. 9).
Not having a “righteousness of my own” means you can’t earn your salvation. Our salvation is earned by Jesus Christ. The righteousness we have comes because of the perfect live lived by Jesus and we receive His righteousness by faith.
Like Paul, we have “stuff,” too. We all think we bring something to the table no matter how bad we are:
* We bring our sorrow because we are really, really sorry for what we’ve done;
* We bring our compassion and show that we really, really love people;
* We bring our money and position and think surely God will be impressed with us;
* We bring our service and feel that God will surely let us pass before Him because we went to church a lot;
And on and on and on.
The reality is the same for us as it was with Paul. Our best is like filthy rags and should be counted as loss. We should bring nothing and not think that our futile efforts will bring salvation and we should freely let what we have pass by, knowing that we can’t place our trust in other things besides Jesus.