People put confidence in a lot of temporal things. I realize that sometimes it’s necessary, especially if you’re applying for work. People need to know what you can do, and they would like to see the credentials and experience you have to see if what you’re saying about yourself is legitimate. It’s understandable, but in light of eternity those things are still just temporal. (Personally, if being on the job hunt and putting up your resumé a gazillion times is anything like going on a dating site, I don’t see why people even bother! But that’s just my opinion.)
Humanly speaking, Paul had all the right credentials. He was an up and comer on the religious scene. Everything about his life crossed all the T’s and dotted all the I’s (the lowercase ones, anyway). He was doing everything right. Paul’s resumé is impressive:
(4) Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
(5) Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
(6) Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
According to the religious leaders of his day, Paul was set to get a corner office in heaven, but before God he was going nowhere. He didn’t see that until God humbled him and brought him to Christ. Then he recognized the true worth of his own unrighteousness:
(7) But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
(8) Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.
This change of attitude was not something forced on Paul. He could have done what the Pharisees did when Jesus made them see the emptiness of their credentials. He could have rejected God’s truth and become an even bigger persecutor of the church. Instead, he decided to “be found in him, not having [his] own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:9). In making that decision, he became a true child of Abraham, a child of God by faith.
Before, Paul had confidence in the wrong things. His confidence was in his own works, his own righteousness, his own understanding of the truth. When he came face to face with Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life, he rejected his own way and put his confidence in the right things: the works of Christ on his behalf.
If you’re reading this and you’re not saved, where is your confidence when it comes to your standing before God? If you’re saved and you’re reading this, same question. Paul had everything “right” as far as man-made righteousness goes. He had the right parents, the right upbringing, the right education, even the right attitude. It gained him nothing. Then he yielded himself to the God’s truth and he had everything.
What about you? Is your confidence in the right things?
Photo by Glenn Haertlein on Unsplash
This is our cat Diego enjoying a snooze on the decorative crates we put up on the wall to give our cats some vertical space. (Seems to be working.)
Wanna send me an email? You can contact me at GraceInWaves@outlook.com.