Safeguarding Your Heart

“Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you” (Philippians 3:1).

As I get older, I have noticed my need to find ways to remind myself of things more often. For example, I’ve learned that I need to write down a name and brief comment next to a phone number that I’ve hurriedly written down, so I can remember whose phone number it is and why I needed it in the first place. 

I’ve also found that in the area of our spiritual lives, we also need to be reminded from time to time of the basics of Christian living. This week, we will consider what really counts in our relationship with Jesus Christ. These thoughts will be based on the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the church at Philippi about not placing confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:1-11).

The warning that Paul gives is of no small consequence. In fact, he wrote to the Galatian church that by our works nobody would be saved. “Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, ‘the righteous will live by faith’” (Galatians 3:11).

This principle can be a difficult one to keep in the forefront of our mind because of our pride. We would like to believe we had something to do with our own salvation. Though few of us would ever say it out loud, we tend to think that in some way we should be entitled to God’s grace. After all, we try to do what’s right most of the time. We go to church, we tithe, and we help others when we can. It would, therefore, only be fitting that God would look upon us with favor. 

The truth is that we all deserve God’s wrath because we have all broken His law. If you strive to become worthy of God’s grace, you are cursed because to do so you would have to be sinless. “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law” (Galatians 3:10b).

Jesus told Nicodemus, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (John 3:6).

In speaking about the divine initiative in the new birth, theologian John Murray wrote, “Regeneration is the act of God and of God alone.”   

If you are striving to achieve what you have already attained by faith in Christ, it’s a fool’s errand. Rest in the fact that your good works merely result from the very faith that God has freely granted to you.

By Jim Connell






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