July 30, 2012
- By Ed Powell
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"But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss...that I may win Christ." Philippians 3:7-8
When a little boy fell out of bed and his mother asked him how it happened, he replied, "I stayed too close to where I got in." How illustrative of many Christians. There has been little or no growth in grace, and they wonder why they are ineffective and unfruitful, and why their spiritual lives have little or no evidence that they are true believers. They are like the little boy; they stayed too close to where they got in.
Paul's life and testimony are a hallmark of God's transforming grace, from who he was to what God, by His mighty power, did in and through him. Read of this great exchanged life in Philippians three. What was Paul before his encounter with God? Look at the stature and quality of this giant of a man. He was dignified by birth. He was a Hebrew of the Hebrews. He was well educated. He was taught by Gamaliel and rose above his equals. He had high moral standards and conformed to his principles. He was an elite Pharisee and lived by their strict code of conduct. His conduct was irreproachable. He lived in good conscience before God. His zeal was unmatched. He persecuted the Christians, being alien to the truth. His life was blameless regarding the righteousness of the law. He opposed the gospel with vigor. He thought it subverted the Law of Moses.
But God had other plans for this illustrious Jew who claimed, after his conversion, to be "the chief of sinners," completely unworthy of the grace, mercy, and love of God. He considered all the attainments and accomplishments in this world to be incomparable to knowing Christ as his Lord and Savior. His life after conversion was exceedingly more illustrious. He was committed wholly to Christ. No other man has equaled His spiritual attainments. His zeal for Christ surpassed that of all the other Apostles. His suffering for the gospel's sake was more than that of any other disciple. The focus of his life was Christ. He counted nothing in life dear to him apart from Christ. All of these things were admirable, and were ample testimony of the integrity of his faith. He stood head and shoulders above all of his contemporaries. Yet, when he came face to face with the Lord, he realized that "none of these things" could ever justify him at the tribunal of God. It was "by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: lest any man should boast."
The Holy Spirit had made evident to Paul that there is one thing infinitely more important and of greater value than all the gains of man. That is, a distinct personal knowledge of Christ as Lord and Savior. This encounter convinced Paul that God loves you and gave His Son for you. Through our repentance and accepting Jesus as our Savior, we are reconciled to God by His grace. We are accepted in the Beloved, the Holy Spirit indwells us, and we are empowered to live a triumphant life over sin and Satan. We are given the blessed assurance that...I AM HIS, HE IS MINE, AND I SHALL SPEND ETERNITY WITH HIM! HALLELUJAH! PRAISE THE LORD!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?row=212&date=2012-07-30
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