#DailyDevotion What Do You Prize The Most & Trust In?
Phil. 3 4b If anyone else thinks he has anything human to trust, I have more. 5I was circumcised on the eighth day, a descendant of Israel of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew son of Hebrew parents; in regard to the Law, a Pharisee, 6so zealous that I persecuted the church, and according to the Law so righteous no one could find any fault with me. 7But any advantages I had I considered a loss for Christ. 8Yes, I think it is all a loss because it is so much better to know Christ Jesus, my Lord. For Him I have lost everything and consider it garbage in order to win Christ 9and to be found in Him, not having my own righteousness which comes from keeping the Law but having the righteousness which is through faith in Christ and which comes from God on the basis of faith.
There are only two things when it comes to salvation and spirituality, God’s free gift of grace in Christ Jesus and human effort or qualities. These two things are mutually exclusive. Some people talk about God’s grace but when you really examine what they are talking about it ends up actually being about your human effort or qualities. Well that’s no grace at all. Some are straight up at least and tell you it all relies on you. Others, and these are just as bad as these other two, combine these two things, God’s grace and human efforts. These all leave you holding the bag and you will find yourself in one of two camps, self-righteousness or doubt.
To those who say they are saved by any sort of human effort Paul replies I have more reason to have confidence in the flesh. Speaking according to the Torah and the traditions of the elders, Paul was circumcised on the eighth day. He was a descendent of Benjamin of pure Hebrew parents. He observed the law perfectly according the Pharisaic traditions. Paul even persecuted the Church which he thought was a heretical branch of Judaism. If anyone was going to be saved by human efforts in any way, shape or form it was going to be St. Paul.
Yet all that Paul considers a loss for Christ. No matter how good or advantageous his earthly circumstances or condition was he considers that a loss compared to knowing Christ Jesus, the LORD. To know Christ is know what he has done for you. It is to know he has fulfilled God’s law perfectly in his flesh for you. It is to know he loved you so much he went and suffered death for you, even death by a cross. The punishment, the wrath of God we deserve to be received in our flesh and soul, Christ Jesus experienced on our behalf. He became our scapegoat. He became the atoning sacrifice for our sins. To know this and to gain Christ, Paul considers his former life not only loss but garbage, dung, not fit for human consumption or any other use but a bad example.
It is better to know Christ and to have his righteousness through faith than a righteousness of our own. This righteousness comes from God and is given us on the basis of having faith in Jesus, and this faith is also a gift of God created and given us freely through hearing the good news of Jesus Christ and the sacraments of Baptism, Absolution and the Lord’s Supper. This is all God’s work and if God’s work totally and completely certain and sure. It relies not on us and our efforts but only and solely the work of Jesus which is perfect, complete, whole and unmoving. You can bank on Jesus and his work for you.
Heavenly Father, helps us to hate our own works and love only and trust solely the work of your Son Jesus Christ for our salvation so we may have your righteousness through faith in him. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.