Faith in “Creds”? or Faith in Christ? – Joy in Believing – PHILIPPIANS (Chapter 3c) [10]

We saw in the the last post, All My “Creds” are Garbage???  –  Joy in Believing –  PHILIPPIANS  (Chapter 3)   [9], http://wp.me/p5nZpi-sC, that Paul had a change of attitude.  A attitude change from forcibly sharing God with people, to lovingly sharing God with people.  Paul realized that neither he nor other people could be made right with God by “doing” or by following “the rules”.  Instead, change comes about through faith in, and relationship with a person, Jesus.

HOW DID PAUL COME TO THIS REVELATION?

“I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.  For God’s way of making us right with Himself depends on faith.Philippians 3:9b

Look back at this verse.  Paul says, “I become righteous through faith in Christ.”

It is not faith is what, but faith in who.

RIGHTEOUSNESS?

Righteousness, right standing with God, comes from God.  It is not what we “do”, what we force others to “do”, or what makes “sense” to us.  It is the provision of our Creator that has made righteousness available to all people through faith.  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. –  Ephesians 2:8-9

FAITH IN WHO?

Jesus Christ!!

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.  –  2 Corinthians 5:21

                 great-exchange

When we put our faith in Jesus, trusting that He took all our sins upon Himself when He was crucified, He then exchanges those sins for righteousness, right standing with God, Philippians 3:9b

So it wasn’t a matter of Paul suddenly forgetting all his education, his knowledge, or his upbringing.  It was a matter of Paul following God’s ways, instead of man’s ways.  No longer putting his trust and faith in himself, but in God.

HAS PAUL REACHED THE GOAL?  HAS HE COMPLETELY EXPERIENCED THE JOY OF BELIEVING?

Here’s what Paul has to say about his faith journey, I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” –  Phil. 3:12

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead… – v.13

Paul’s end goal to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. – v.14

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THE JOY OF BELIEVING – AN ONGOING EXPERIENCE —

As we press ahead in our daily lives, temptations will arise, and we may even stumble from time to time.  But Paul reminds us that we are forever maturing if we obey the truth we have learned already.Phil 3:16  So don’t beat yourself up because you’re not “perfect”, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, get back on the horse. Seek God’s guidance and direction for all that you don’t know, and continue applying daily, all that you do know.

Paul experienced Joy in Believing.  Not in himself and his “creds”, but in the saving power and Lordship of Jesus.

We’re not alone on “the journey”.  We have the Holy Spirit’s guidance, the Bible, and as Paul reminds us, we have a community of believers to tangibly support, comfort, and guide us.

“Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example.”  –  Phil. 3:17

Our joy doesn’t come from our circumstances, relying on what we have obtained or accomplished, but rather, joy comes from our reliance on Christ within us.  See, “I Just Wanna Be Happy!!”  (Part 1), http://wp.me/p5nZpi-kK

Experiencing Joy in Believing is an ongoing process.  We now know that the first step towards experiencing the joy Paul speaks about is putting our faith in Jesus vs. ourselves.  If you would like to take that next step, and put your faith in Jesus, see The Cornerstone… in the above tabs, http://wp.me/P5nZpi-bJ.

                             Martin-Luther-King-Jr-Faith-is-Taking-the-First-Step-Quote-Picture

 

LET GO AND LET GOD…

                                                    hand-letting-go-balloons

< KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THE FINAL CHAPTER OF PHILIPPIANS, CHAPTER 4, THE JOY IN GIVING  —   ALL Our “Needs” Will Be Met 🙂  –  Joy in Giving –  PHILIPPIANS  (Chapter 4)   [11]http://wp.me/p5nZpi-ul >

 

< IN CASE YOU MISSED PARTS 1 & 2 OF PHILIPPIANS CHAPTER 3… >

Yeah, but I’ve Got the “Creds”!!  –  Joy in Believing –  PHILIPPIANS  (Chapter 3a)   [8],  http://wp.me/p5nZpi-sk

All My “Creds” are Garbage???  –  Joy in Believing –  PHILIPPIANS  (Chapter 3)   [9], http://wp.me/p5nZpi-sC

 

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All My “Creds” are Garbage??? – Joy in Believing – PHILIPPIANS (Chapter 3b) [9]

I ended the last post, Yeah, but I’ve Got the “Creds”!!  –  Joy in Believing –  PHILIPPIANS  (Chapter 3a)   [8], http://wp.me/p5nZpi-sk, with a seemingly hopeless statement from Paul as he reflected on his academic and religious accomplishments.

He said,  “I once thought all these things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.  Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ and become one with Him”…  – Phil. 3:7-9a

Although it seems like Paul is throwing “everything” away,

                           9-Man-throwing-garbage-bag-1024x769

this isn’t exactly the case.

It wasn’t a matter of Paul suddenly forgetting all his education, his knowledge, his upbringing.  No, it was Paul’s realization that no matter what he did, or how “religious” he was, he could never “earn” himself a spot in heaven.

What he believed caused him to take matters into his own hands.  Caused him to imprison and attack Christ-followers in the name of God.  Caused him to judge, and force people to follow what he believed to be correct.  A dangerous approach, if you ask me.  However, isn’t it easy to find ourselves falling into that same pattern.  “I know what’s better for you…”

Throughout his life, Paul, was relying on himself.  He truly wanted to please God.  He truly wanted all people to follow God.  He believed that through knowledge and will-power he would be able to follow the “law”, and therefore be considered righteous in God’s eyes.  However, The law simply shows us how sinful we are.  –  Romans 3:20  For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.  – James 2:10

Do you remember Paul’s message to the Corinthians – If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.  –  1 Corinthians 13:33

What a change in Paul’s approach!!  He retained his knowledge, education, and upbringing so he could teach, but instead of coming at people with an iron fist,

                                          ironfist

he came from a position of love.

                                     cute-love-quotes-373

 

WHAT CAUSED THIS SEISMIC SHIFT?

Let’s look again at verse 9, and add in the second half of the verse.

“I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.  For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.”Philippians 3:9b

FAITH?  FAITH IN WHAT?

< Faith in “Creds”? or Faith in Christ?  –  Joy in Believing –  PHILIPPIANS  (Chapter 3)   [10],  http://wp.me/p5nZpi-t9 >

 

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Yeah, but I’ve Got the “Creds”!! – Joy in Believing – PHILIPPIANS (Chapter 3a) [8]

Perhaps when we began this series on Philippians, http://wp.me/p5nZpi-mp, you may have thought Paul was going to show us some easy, quick, instantly gratifying ways to experience joy.  So far that hasn’t been the case.

In chapter 1, Paul described how we can experience Joy in Suffering,  http://wp.me/p5nZpi-mF.  In chapter 2, Paul described how we can experience Joy in Serving,  http://wp.me/p5nZpi-nA.
Perhaps you thought serving would be an easy, and obvious way, to experience joy.  Yet, as we learned with experiencing joy in suffering, experiencing joy in serving, also requires sacrifice and dependence on God.  And we’ll see that to experience joy in believing, will require no less.
When I think of experiencing joy in believing, it seems like this will be easier than to experience joy in suffering and serving.
After-all, how hard can it be to believe?
Well, I guess it all depends on what you believe. Because our beliefs are the foundation on which we base our decisions, make our choices, determine who or what we follow, and what formulates our worldviews.
For our purpose, we’ll be looking at experiencing the joy in believing from the perspective of what we put our “faith” in (a strong belief or trust in someone or something).  As Paul puts it in Philippians 3:3 – We put no confidence in human effort. Instead, we boast about what Christ Jesus has done for us.
Paul was the perfect person to make this statement because, as we’ll see in a moment, Paul has the “creds” that would easily allow him to puff out his chest.  People that knew him, might have even called him “SuperJew”.
Perhaps he looked a bit like Jason Alexander, better known as, George Costanza from the hit comedy, Seinfeld??
Yet I could have confidence in myself if anyone could.  If others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! – Philippians 3:4
Philippians 3:5-6—-
  • I was circumcised when I was eight days old.
  • I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one!
  • I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. 
  • I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church.
  • And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.

Now how’s that for a resume?

But let’s look at Paul’s very next verse.  I once thought all these things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.  Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ and become one with Him.- Phil. 3:7-9a

                          phil3-8

 

WOW!!

IF PAUL, AND ALL HIS CREDENTIALS WERE CONSIDERED GARBAGE, THEN WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE US, OR PAUL, FOR THAT MATTER??

< All My “Creds” are Garbage???  –  Joy in Believing –  PHILIPPIANS  (Chapter 3)   [9], http://wp.me/p5nZpi-sC >

 

  • Would you like to have a personal/intimate relationship with the God??  Take a look at the tab, The Cornerstone…, in the menu for more info.
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