Having Nothing to Offer God

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things” (Philippians 3:7-8a).

If anyone had anything to brag about, it would surely have been the Apostle Paul. From the Jewish perspective, you couldn’t beat Paul’s credentials. He considered himself a “…Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless” (Philippians 3:5b-6).

Surely if God was looking for someone in good standing within the people of Israel to minister to the Gentiles, it would have been Paul. But Paul understood that none of this mattered to God. In fact, God probably chose him because he was the one least likely on his own to win converts, since he was one of the chief persecutors of the early Christians.

Jesus came to save sinners. He did not come for the self-righteous who think they have something to offer to God. He came to offer us what only He can provide -- true righteousness and forgiveness. Paul told Timothy, “This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15).

In explaining the Bible’s teaching on man, theologian John Gerstner said, “This book does not flatter, cajole, or cultivate; it blows your hard, built-up self-esteem. Abandon pride, all who enter here. If you are capable of being insulted, you can’t interpret this book correctly. You won’t believe what the Bible says, if you won’t believe how bad you are. Only conscious sinners can interpret the Bible honestly. The righteous can’t let this Word have free course, because this would spell the end of their self-righteousness. They have a vested interest in unsound interpreting. They are not about to part with their pride because of the Word of God.”

By the work of the Holy Spirit, God’s people must “come to the end of their rope.”  They must abandon all hope in being worthy of acceptance to God. Can you sing from your heart these words from the old hymn, Rock of Ages?

“Thou must save and thou alone. Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling; Naked, come to thee for dress, helpless, look to thee for grace; Foul, I to the Fountain fly; Wash me, Savior, or I die.”

The great joy for the Christian is to trust God’s promise that He will freely save everyone who calls upon His Son for life. 

By Jim Connell

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