A Logical Salvation
God’s plan of salvation is logical. Paul uses financial accounting terms in Philippians 3 to explain it. The historical details of his conversion are described in Acts 9 by Dr. Luke; but Paul shares his own personal testimony in Philippians 3.
Before Paul met Christ, his spiritual asset column was filled up with all his personal assets he was counting on to make him worthy of Heaven. But in a moment of time on that Damascus Rd. when confronted by the risen Christ; Paul experienced a radical transformation in his heart which extended to every area of his life. as he realized that all the things he considered spiritual assets were in fact his spiritual liabilities. Christ, his major liability became his most valued asset.
In fact, Christ became so surpassingly valuable to him that those things which were once his assets became not just liabilities. He described them in Philippians 3:8 as garbage, and yes, even excrement!
In two parables found in Matthew 13, Jesus taught the same thing about salvation. In verse 44 He describes salvation as a man finding a treasure in a field. The treasure was so valuable that the man sold everything he owned in order to buy the field and thus secure the treasure for himself.
In the same 13th chapter of Matthew in verse 45-46 Jesus relates another parable of a man selling all that he owned in order to purchase a pearl of great price. That treasure and that pearl in those parables are a picture of the salvation Christ offers us. Nothing we own or experience compares with the value of salvation. Your wealth, your women, your success in life is nothing in comparison with knowing Jesus as your Saviour.
Even your religion is excrement in comparison to knowing Jesus personally as your Lord and Saviour.
Fornication, adultery and sexual perversion are not the only vices in life. The worst vice in life is a Christless religion. That’s what Saul of Tarsus had before his conversion; a Christless religion. He hated, not only Jesus, but those who loved and followed Jesus.
But in a moment of time, described in Acts 9, Christ overcame him and he fell to the ground and surrendered to Christ as His Saviour and as His Lord, Immediately Saul, a proud Pharisaical Jew, turned his back on Judaism and became Paul, a fire brand for Christ. His personal knowledge of Christ far surpassed what his religion offered him.
Let’s look at his former asset column in which he had trusted to make himself acceptable before God.
1. His self-righteousness
Most of the world does not understand this. They count their self-righteousness among their top assets. Ask any unregenerate on what he is counting to attain Heaven. Nearly all will reply, “I think God will see my good deeds as outweighing the wrong I have done. I think that on that basis I will one day be in Heaven.”
And yet, the Bible thunders back in both the Old and New Testament that our self righteousness is less than worthless. Isaiah 64:6 describes our self-righteousness as filthy, stinking bloody rags. Both Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5-6 make it crystal clear that no one can attain Heaven by his own works of righteousness.
So if you are trusting your self righteousness for Heaven, I urge you to take it out of your asset column and place it in your liability column. Your good works can never save you.
2. His circumcision
Because Paul had been circumcised on the eighth day after his birth, according to God’s Old Testament Law, he gloried in that ceremony as he came to realize that of all the people on the face of the earth, he was one of the elite sons of Abraham. Surely that asset would see him into Heaven one day.
3. His position as a son of Israel
He was not only a son of Abraham and Isaac, but he was also a son of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. As an Israelite he inherited all the assets listed in Romans 9:4-5 that came with that family.
He did not yet understand the truth of I Peter 1:18-19, Having Godly parents does not insure our salvation. We cannot inherit salvation from them.
4. From the Tribe of Benjamin
Paul was not just an Israelite. He was an elite Israelite from the tribe of Benjamin. At the time of the division of Israel into Northern and Southern Kingdoms, Benjamin had joined with Judah in the southern Kingdom. From the tribe of Judah one day the Messiah would come. He was a blue-blood Jew. His tribe had kept pure by not intermarrying with others.
PK’s (Preacher’s Kids) and MK’s (Missionaries’ kids) though blessed if they have godly parents, have no in with God, apart from His grace. I as an MK had to recognize my lost condition and put my trust in Christ; otherwise, I as an MK would have spent eternity in Hell.
In Acts 26:4-5 in his defense before King Agrippa, he refers to his life as a strict Pharisee; but in I Peter 1:18-19 he admits the vanity and uselessness of tradition as a means of securing salvation.
6. Zeal and Sincerity
In Philippians 3:6 he speaks of his zeal. No religionist was more zealous nor sincere than Saul of Tarsus; but that zeal and sincerity was worthless as far as attaining salvation was concerned.
Not only was he zealous and sincere; but he saw himself as blameless, as far as God’s Law was concerned. He couldn’t think of a single sin in his life. He believed himself to be blameless of breaking any of God’s laws.
How blind he was and how blind and self-deceived is anyone who sees himself blameless before our holy God.
When we read the story of Paul we are reminded of the rich young ruler In Matthew 19:16-22 who came to Jesus and claimed perfection before God’s Law. God exposed his sins and we read that he turned away from God sorrowfully.
In contrast, Saul of Tarsus, the chief enemy of Christ and His Church, when confronted with his sins before God, bowed in saving faith and surrender and became an outstanding servant of God in the first century.
Both Saul of Tarsus and the rich young ruler considered themselves blameless before a holy God; but when they each met Christ, Saul (Paul) saw himself bankrupt morally before God and received Christ, whose righteousness was put to His account. The rich young ruler rejected Christ and His righteousness and went away lost, trusting in his own pitiful self righteousness which stunk as filthy rags in the nostrils of God.
How do you stand before our holy God? Do you dare to approach Him in your own filthy self-righteousness, or do you see your self-righteousness as a liability and cast yourself on God’s mercy and receive by His grace the asset of His righteousness credited to your account?
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