WE PUT NO CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH BUT IN CHRIST (PART TWO)
Do you wish you could go back to the way things were in your life?
Do you wish you could have your old life back again?
Are you constantly looking back into the past because you miss the way things where?
If that’s the case! Then what does (v7-v8) really mean to you at this point in your life then? Paul look back at all his accolades........all his trophies and lined them up beside Christ, and realized that none of them would ever give him credit to enter Heaven! Steve Lawson said “If anyone could have ever earned their way to Heaven by their own religiosity, Saul of Tarsus would have been number one, and at the head of the line”
Instead Paul calls his accolades for what they are!! “Rubbish” is the Greek word for “garbage” or “waste”, and can even be translated “dung” or “manure.” Paul uses excrement to explain his point; this is deliberate to strike into the heart that the flesh will never satisfy the soul. You can have the “Bread of life” or you can have a “pile of dung”. What about you? Do you count your life as loss, as rubbish, in comparison to what you have gained in Christ Jesus our Lord? Paul counted all his treasures and works, as worthless in comparison to Jesus Christ! Remember what Jesus said “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” Matt 16:26. What Paul is saying is “You put all your life goals and achievements on one side of the scale and you put Christ alone on the other side, there is no comparison to the beauty that is found in Christ.”
Why? Look what Paul says next (v8) “Surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (v8) This refers to something of unparalleled, supreme, unequalled worth. To know Christ is not some intellectual knowledge. To know Christ means to know Him experientially, intimately and personally through His transforming grace of the gospel As Paul wrote “..and take every thought captive to obey Christ,..” 2 Cor 10:5. It’s being submissive of every thought and every act. This is what Paul desired above everything!! That intimate, everlasting relationship with the Jesus that came to save sinners!
So let me ask you the hard questions! Everything you have in your life at this moment do you count it all as loss in comparison of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you desire that relationship you have with Jesus over everything in your life? Or do you miss your old friends, the parties, and the lifestyle of living free? Example! Lot’s wife as she loved her life and lifestyle. “But Lot's wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” Gen 19:26. Jesus said "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Luke 9:62. We are called as believers to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and never look back to Sodom! We are fixed, firmly planted upon Jesus and to seek His wonderful face. Charles Spurgeon asked “Are you satisfied with Christ? If you are not, you have not really got Him. If you have got Him, He is everything to you.” Can you answer that question with “I’m completely satisfied with Christ?” Paul counted everything as loss (all things loss) for the excellence of the knowledge of Jesus Christ!
What did he count as loss?
His rituals and traditions.
His deception by believing a lie.
His delusion to biblical truth.
His zeal and confidence in the flesh.
His sinfulness and wretched standing to a holy God.
His pride and ignorance to the beauty of Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Look what he says in (v9) “Righteousness which is from God” What Paul is saying is “A person will never be accepted before God through religious rituals, ceremonies, and your own good works.” James Boice says “you cannot fool God with human righteousness” What Paul is saying is.......Salvation brings us into a right standing with God and acceptance by Him through, His grace and mercy. Sinners have their sin imputed to Christ and His righteousness imputed to us, which makes us acceptable, which is the heart of the Gospel. Paul said “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor 5:21. Like Paul we need someone else’s righteousness in order be declared justified, and that is only possible through Christ atoning work alone. See! God knows the fleshes inability; this is why Christ came to save dead people who are consumed with fleshly desires. Paul knew we were dead and we were made alive in Christ Jesus. “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),” Eph 2:4-5. See! Faith is turning to embrace the Lord Jesus Christ. It is acknowledging my own sinfulness and it’s acknowledging that my own righteousness will condemn me, not save me. The sole object of my faith is in the person of Christ alone, not in me. There are THREE THINGS that Paul touches that we can benefit from, so that we but no confidence in the flesh.
1. THERE IS POWER IN HIS RESURRECTION.
“The power of His resurrection” (v10)
This was the most powerful act performed by the Godhead. There is no power in the Law except showing us our sin. There is no power in the flesh except the bondage of sin and Satan. We have been given the gift of life through the same spiritual power that raised Jesus from the dead. Think about that! “We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” Rom 6:4-6. This is the gospel! There is cleaning and eternal power in the cross of Jesus Christ. There is newness of life through the power of His completed work on the Cross. Jesus died and laid in a tomb completely dead, and on the third day, He rose again! So that we could find redemption power, through His life. God is the only one who can transform a self-righteous, self-seeking person to see Christ in the fulfillment of the Gospel! (v9) How? By God’s life giving power found in the Gospel; that same power that saved our wretched souls from the future gates of Hell.
2. THERE IS FELLOWSHIP IN HIS SUFFERINGS.
“fellowship of His suffering” (v10) Better translated “may share in His suffering”
Paul did share in Christ’s sufferings! “Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.” And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.” 2 Cor 11:24-28
Understand that Paul wasn’t complaining here. Paul was committed to Christ. He wanted to be a powerhouse for Christ and exert a life that is transforming for the world see the gospel. See! This brings us into a deeper partnership and communion with Christ in suffering. Why? Because we want to know Christ, and to know Christ, there comes a cost to self. To know Christ is to die to self through the gospel. It begins at my death, when Christ raises my dead state, into His glorious union through the gospel. John MacArthur says “the deepest moments of spiritual fellowship with the Living Christ are at times of intense sufferings; sufferings drives believers to Him” Remember! He is a merciful High Priest, a faithful Saviour, the God who sympathizes with our present situation. He is not a God who is a far off and doesn’t care about His sanctified children. In Hebrews we read “For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Heb 4:14-15. What we failed to do as image-bearers, Christ conquered victoriously in His human form. And Jesus did this by going beyond the temptation that crushes us under the weight of our sin.
As Paul Washer said “Christ, He is, a Champion”
What we need to understand what Paul is saying here is.. The spiritual reality for every one of us is; that suffering is part of the true Christian life (Again going back to v28-v29 of chapter 1). We can find joy in our sufferings because Jesus suffered for you and me!! And He is the one doing the work in us for His glory and our good. As Paul said “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor 12:10 J.I Packer said “Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life’s problems fall into place of their own accord.”
3. THERE IS LONGING TO BE WITH CHRIST AND TO BASK IN HIS GLORY.
“I may attain (arrive at) to the resurrection from the dead” (v11)
Paul looked forward to his death! Paul looked forward to the day he would be able to spend eternity with Christ. Paul didn’t care how God brought it to pass, but longed for that day and for the fulfillment of his salvation, through his resurrection. Understand what Paul is saying here! He is not complaining or confused. As Paul sees, we, the believer, have a taste of this glory now, but we have not experienced the fullness of it yet. 2 Cor 4:6 we read “For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” In Habakkuk 2: 14 we read “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. The same light that spoke the universe into existence is the same light that shines through you and me, as we taste just a little bit of this glory that Paul desires to see one day fully.
Paul said all this? Because he came to a point when he opened his ledger and looked at his life and asked the question....... “What worth can I bring to the cross and my salvation?” Nothing! He looked back into his past to what he had accumulated over the years and found that he still was lacking.
Reflection on his origin to his present day, that all his efforts were at a loss in comparison to knowing Christ. Realizing that the life he once lived kept him further away from Christ Jesus our Lord, and not closer.
Ask yourself Have you exchanged your assets or your past in for Christ? Or Do you put your trust in your flesh and goodness, which will never satisfy or please a holy God. Remember! God didn’t come to save good people; He came to save bad people like you and me! We are to lay all our goodness, our so-called righteousness aside, counting it all as loss for the sake of knowing Christ Jesus. I want to know Him, but something has to go. In order to dine with Him, I have to die to self. We put no confidence in the flesh
As the song “Rock Of Ages”
“Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress,
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die
Rock of ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee”
Let me ask you! Is this what your heart is crying this morning? As Paul said to the Corinthian church “He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." 1 Cor 1:30-31. We do not boast in the flesh, but in Christ Jesus, based upon this truth. God provided the washing and Christ has become our righteousness so that we could become children of the living God. You and I, have no reason to look back or be sad, when Christ is everything to you. A child of God never gets bored with knowing more and more of Christ. Paul never adopted an attitude of “I’ve reached spiritual perfection, so I’m done!” No Paul desired to know Christ more and more because he loved Him, despite who Paul was before Jesus saved him. Let us pursue that deep rooted relationship with Jesus Christ, and while doing so let’s long for that day when we see Him face to face in all His glory. As Paul said “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Col 3:1-4
May that be the truth of our heart