Did you know that there are many who do things that outwardly appear good and righteous, thinking all the while that their works are acceptable and pleasing to God, when those works are nothing more than an exercise in fleshly self-effort disguised as true righteousness?
Paul says in Philippians 3:4-11,
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: 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; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 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, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Paul was the cream of the crop when it came to religious zealots! Paul was circumcised according to Jewish law, he was of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, a Pharisee in keeping the law and blameless in his law keeping.
Notice however that Paul counts all of these things as dung (bodily waste) that he might be found righteous in Christ. Paul trusted in his flesh at one point in his life but at his conversion he set all of his earthly qualifications aside and trusted in the finished work of Christ alone.
The truth is that there are only two groups of people in this world - there are those whose source is their flesh and while this manifests in some as clearly wrong behavior, in others it manifests as self righteous behavior; regardless of the type of behavior the problem is that it originates from the same source - the flesh - and as such, it is destitute of any real life. Then there are those who belong to the second group which trust Christ alone as their Source - they rest in His life - and the fruit of the Spirit manifests in them accordingly.
In 1 John 2:6 the apostle John is teaching that just as Jesus depended on His Father in everything He did, we are to depend on God's Spirit within us to produce those works that are in keeping with who we really are.
Dear friend, I would encourage you to set aside all of your own ability and trust in the finished work of Christ alone. When you trust in what Jesus has done through His death and resurrection you will then be amazed as His life begins to shine through you.
Paul Rupe has served as associate pastor as well as a number of other positions in his local fellowship. Paul currently is web administrator for Gracespirations Daily Devotion an outreach of Teleo Ministries.
You can visit Paul online at http://teleoministries.blogspot.com
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