Philippians 3:7-11 ESV
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 a 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.
For those of us who are now followers of Jesus Christ, our former lives were lived by the flesh, whether in false self-righteousness or in gross immorality (wickedness), or both. But, when we trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, he exchanged our old lives of living for sin, and for the pride of the flesh (for fleshly works), to new lives in him, empowered by the Spirit of God to live lives which are holy and pleasing unto God.
For, coming to faith in Jesus Christ means we die to those former lives of living to the flesh, and we count them loss for the sake of knowing and obtaining (changing to) Christ, and for now gaining a righteousness not of the flesh, but the righteousness from God that depends on faith.
For, Jesus Christ, God the Son, gave his life up for us on a cross one day many years ago in order that we might be rescued out of lives controlled by the flesh and Satan, and so that we might walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. For, in his death he became sin for us that he might put sin to death, so that, by faith in him, we might die with him to sin and live with him to his righteousness (Rom. 6:1-23; 1 Pet. 2:24; Eph. 4:17-24).
So, what is this righteousness that depends on faith? It isn’t just that Jesus cleanses us from (forgives) our sins so that we are now freed from the punishment (eternal damnation) of sin, and so we can go to heaven when we die. But, it is that we may also become like him in his death, and share in his sufferings, and know the power of his resurrection in our own lives.
For, the two are inseparable. They come as a pair, this death to sin and living to righteousness. For, Jesus had to first put our sin to death on that cross, which meant he had to die, and then he was resurrected to new life in victory over death and sin and Satan, so that we can live in victory, too.
And, because he did this for us, by faith in him we are also able to die with him to sin and be resurrected with him to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And, this is called applied faith, or faith in action, which is true faith. It is applying to our own lives what Jesus did for us on that cross, but in his power at work within us.
Philippians 3:12-16 ESV
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
But, it isn’t as though we instantaneously arrive at perfection and that we never sin again. But, we don’t use lack of perfection as an excuse for continued willful sinning (in practice) against God, either. Instead, we are in the process of growing in our faith, moving forward with God, and walking by the Spirit and no longer according to (in agreement with) the flesh.
Therefore, we die daily to sin and self, and daily we put on the armor of God with which to fight off the temptations of Satan and his evil schemes against us. By the Spirit, we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and we are following our Lord in obedience to his Word, as we yield our lives over to his control day by day. And, the Lord is conforming us to his likeness, but this is an ongoing process, which many call the process of sanctification.
So, in this process we daily put behind us what is of our old sin nature and we labor in the strength of the Lord in applying his righteousness to our lives on a day-to-day basis. We don’t give up and go back to our former way of living before we believed in Jesus, but we press on in moving forward, growing in Christ and in our walks of faith, maturing in him.
And, we press on toward the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, that we might be a holy people unto him, unlike who we were before we believed in Jesus. And, we hold true to his Word being lived out in our lives on a daily basis.
And, we do this without wavering, i.e. without being tossed here and there by various winds of teaching being brought to us by wicked people in their pride, manipulation, and wicked scheming. And, we grow to maturity in Christ Jesus, our Lord, all in the power of God’s Spirit at work within us.
Philippians 3:17-19 ESV
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
We are not to be followers of man (the flesh), but followers of God. Yet, we can learn from the example of others how to live or how not to live, too. But, we need to make certain that we are following the right kind of examples, and not the wrong kind, for there are many people out there who put on a show of righteousness, but who are wolves in sheep’s clothing leading multitudes of people away from the truth of the gospel to the lies of men.
For, another exchange is presently going on, which exchanges what Jesus did for us on that cross for a lie. And, it is pushing aside the truth of the gospel of our salvation in order to make a deal with the flesh. For, it is a cheap grace gospel which is now replacing the true gospel, which so many people are now buying into, because they can continue in their sinful practices without guilt, while consoling themselves in their sin with the belief that God no longer sees their sin and they still have heaven as their destiny.
This cheap grace substitute (exchange) for the true grace of God is teaching people that all they have to do is acknowledge Jesus and what he did for us on that cross, and accept his gift of grace into their lives, and then they are good to go. There is no repentance, submission or obedience to Christ required for their eternal salvation, only that they “believe,” with some nondescript faith that sounds more like an intellectual assent to something or like an emotional one-time decision made at one time in their lives.
There is no counting everything loss for the sake of Christ. There is no becoming like Jesus in his death (to sin), or sharing in his sufferings, or knowing him and the power of his resurrection (his victory over sin) in one’s life, with this cheap grace substitute. There is no pressing on to the upward call (a call to holiness) in Christ Jesus or putting our past lives behind us. And, there is no growing to maturity in Christ and holding on to the truths of His Word in this cheap grace substitute, either.
But, this cheap grace substitute for the true gospel is at enmity with God and with His Word. For, it glories in the flesh of man (humans), and makes room for wickedness to abound and to thrive. It sears consciences, too, and lies to people and tells them that God is ok with their continuing in their sinful practices, for God’s grace covers it all.
It stands in direct contrast to the true gospel as taught by Jesus and his NT apostles, so it opposes the truth, and it speaks against the truth, and it exchanges the truth for a lie of Satan. For, its mind is set on earthly things, on what is worldly and sinful.
So, let me close here with a word of caution. The Bible is real clear on this subject. If we walk (in lifestyle, in practice) according to the flesh, we are going to die in our sins, no matter what we profess with our lips, and heaven is not our eternal destiny. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death (in practice) the deeds of the flesh, and we are walking (in lifestyle) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God, then we have eternal life with God.
For, we are all going to reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from that flesh we will reap destruction (decay, death). But, if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. So, faith is not just something we proclaim, but it is what we do in action, as lived out in our daily lives, by the power of God’s Spirit living and working within us.
[Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8.]
An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.
Sunday, May 5, 2019