Thursday, April 28, 2005

No Confidence in the Flesh

"...put no confidence in the flesh..." (Philippians 3:3).

If you've been reading my blog lately, you're probably catching the theme that this is one of the major lessons God has been drilling into my head and heart ever since Denver a few weeks ago. This morning I was reading Philippians 3:1-11...Paul's testimony here can and should be my life's theme.

In my lack of understanding grace, I know I've trusted "legalistic righteousness"--as my study note explains, "righteousness produced by using the law as an attempt to merit God's approval and blessing." But all that is rubbish. Garbage. The Message puts it well:

"The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I'm tearing up and throwing out with the trash--along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant--dog dung. I've dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn't want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ--God's righteousness" (v. 7-9)

Wow. Yeah.

Some interesting things that struck me in my study notes on verse 3: true believers must "glory in Christ as their Savior rather than trusting in their own human effort...Everyone is a 'boaster,' either in Christ or in himself." If everyone's a boaster, I'll admit that my boasts are not always--okay, not often--in Christ. But He's working on me, in me. As for the flesh? "It is not worthy of our confidence; it cannot save."

"I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God's law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith" (v. 9 NLT).

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