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“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.” (Philippians 3:7-11 ESV)

Saul, before he became the apostle Paul, was a Jew, a Pharisee, a religious zealot, and a keeper of the liturgical and ceremonial laws and customs and traditions of the Jewish faith. And he was a persecutor of the church, of those who were of genuine faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. But when Jesus Christ met him on that road to Damascus, in a vision of sorts, his life was changed for the good and forever. His name was now changed to Paul, and now he became an apostle of Christ and a teacher of the gospel.

[Acts 9:1-31; Acts 22:1-21; Acts 26:1-29; 2 Corinthians 11:1-33; Galatians 1:11-24]

Now he was a Christian, and among those who were being persecuted for their faith, as he had once persecuted those who believed in Jesus Christ. And now he no longer held to the traditions of the Jewish faith, and he no longer subjected himself to all the Old Covenant liturgical, ceremonial, sacrificial, purification, and dietary laws and restrictions. For now he taught that those of faith in Jesus Christ were now free from those laws, including they were free from the requirement for circumcision.

So all that he had held on to in the way of what was outward only, and for which he apparently prided himself in his accomplishments, he gave it all up to now be a follower of Jesus Christ. The life he had lived before, he lived no more, and now the life he lived was all for the glory of Christ and in accord with the gospel of our salvation, as was taught by Jesus and by his NT apostles. All that was of the flesh he now surrendered over to the Lord in order to now live his life in accord with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

But when Paul surrendered his life to Jesus Christ to do the will of the Lord, he died that day to his old way of living, and he was reborn of the Spirit of God, and now he walked according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. That didn’t make him a perfect person in every respect (see Philippians 3:12-16), but it meant that he no longer walked in sin, under the control of the flesh, for Jesus Christ delivered him from the body of death so that he could now walk in obedience to Christ Jesus in holy living.

[Romans 6:1-23; Romans 7:1-25; Romans 8:1-14 (read them all together)]

So, when Paul said that he had given up trying to gain righteousness through his obedience to the Old Covenant liturgical and ceremonial laws, and that his righteousness was now that which comes through faith in Jesus Christ, and that depends on faith, and not on the keeping of the Old Covenant liturgical and ceremonial laws, he was not preaching a faith in Jesus Christ absent of obedience to our Lord’s commands under the New Covenant, as some people would have you believe.

For Paul taught obedience to our Lord’s New Covenant commands as required for salvation from sin and for eternal life with God. He taught that we must die to sin and be raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, no longer to live as slaves to sin, but as slaves to God and to his righteousness. So we are not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies to make us obey its desires. For if sin is what we obey, it leads to death. But if obedience is what we obey, its end is eternal life (see Romans 6:1-23).

Paul’s teachings: [Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 1 Co 15:1-11; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-24; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 2 Tim 1:8-9; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Tit 2:11-14]

So, the righteousness that depends on faith, which is of God, has to do with us, by the grace of God, making righteousness our practice (1 John 3:4-10). For by God-persuaded faith in Jesus Christ we die to sin and now we walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, and in walks of obedience to our Lord, and in self-denial, dying to sin daily, and now living for the Lord. For the grace of God instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return (Luke 9:23-26; Titus 2:11-14).

As the Deer

By Martin J. Nystrom
Based off Psalm 42:1

As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after You
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship You

You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship You

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Rom 11:32-God bound everyone to disobedience so...
Jun 2, 2024
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Paul didn't even consider he existed, as a person. Could he be any more self deprecating than that?

Galatians 2:20

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Paul makes such a strange claim in the above. It's one of the hardest things to wrap our minds around, the fact that we are alive, yet dead:

Col 3:
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Do you think we'll ever hear any Glory Hallelujah songs in church about being dead? Unlikely.

I think about these things, often. Don't ask my why I chase after the dire side of the ledgers. It's just where God took me, me, this dead guy.

Isaiah 45:3
And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.

The gift was "honesty." I treasure it. Not too much, so as to provide even a lick of glory to darkness. But enough to know it's true. It must be that Word that tastes good in our mouths, but is bitter to the innards
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