My Spiritual Resume

Just thinking…….

1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

The above, from Phil. 3: 1-11, was our text this morning. The pastor brought out several good points, but the one that I kept mulling over was Paul’s resume. I had never looked at verses 5 and 6 like this before. Yet it made perfect sense. These two verses contain Paul’s spiritual resume.

The pastor showed how the list is broken into two parts: first, what Paul had no choice over, and second, what Paul chose.

Here’s the list of what Paul had no choice over:
1. Circumcised on the 8th day
2. An Israelite
3. Of the tribe of Benjamin
4. A full blooded Hebrew, born to two full blooded Hebrews

Paul took pride in this religious heritage and lineage. But of course he later says that it counts for nothing.

Here’s the list of what Paul did choose:
1. He chose to memorize the law (first 5 OT books) and be a Pharisee.
2. He chose to be zealous and persecute the church.
3. He chose to live his life with legal righteousness (which meant keeping over 600 OT laws), and says that he never broke one of them.

Paul also had a great deal of pride from his choices. And again, he came to the point of realizing that it was nothing. So it didn’t matter how he was born, what he inherited, or what he did. He had to learn that all he needed was Christ. Christ alone. Not Christ plus circumcision. Not Christ plus his Hebrew upbringing and blood. Not Christ plus zeal and passion and deeds. Just Christ alone.

This started me thinking about my own spiritual resume. I was born to Christian parents and had Christian grandparents, but that did not make me Christian. I was taken to church on a regular basis, but that did not make me a Christian. I went to VBS and Sunday School and youth group, but that did not make me a Christian. I memorized John 3:16, but that did not make me a Christian. I sang in the choir, but that did not make me a Christian. It wasn’t until I reached the point of seeing that I needed Christ alone that I turned solely to Him.

Now I have to be careful of not adding to Christ. It’s not Christ plus dressing in a certain style. It’s not Christ plus so many days in Church. It’s not Christ plus giving so much money. James cautions us that we show our faith through our works, but my faith does not come about because of my works. It’s Christ alone and first.

I remember as a child thinking that I wished my dad was a preacher. I thought, “If only he was a preacher, then I would automatically go to heaven!” Of course, I had it all mixed up, but that really wasn’t so different from Paul, was it? Paul was relying on his heritage and his accomplishments to save him before his eyes were opened.

Imagine: I die and go to Heaven. God asks to see my resume. I hand Him my list: Christian parents, went to church, memorized Bible verses, blahblahblah……. God sorrowfully hands it back to me and says that I am not qualified.

Imagine: I die and go to Heaven. God asks to see my resume. I hand Him my list: Jesus Christ. And God welcomes me to Heaven. It’s a short resume, but filled with power, the power of everlasting life.

Father, let me not forget my spiritual heritage and let me continue to give thanks for my Christian family. Let me not stop doing my ministries. But let me never rely on those as my salvation. Thank You for the gift of Jesus who alone died, alone rose, alone forgave me, alone saved me. Amen.

To God be the glory……….
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