Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 ¶ And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
What is necessary for a person to be welcomed into Heaven? According to the Scriptures, all who enter there must be perfect! Yes, a perfect life is the only acceptable condition for the inhabitants of that perfect place. Now, there are two ways to attain such a remarkable status: The first being the most obvious and impossible, you could live your whole life and do absolutely nothing wrong; the second is we can be “made righteous.” This idea or process is described with a few different terms in the book of Romans: reckoned, imputed, made. Each of these deliver the same result: we are given the spotless record of Christ in place of the sinful one that we have created for ourselves. God’s plan is to, in fact, pardon every person who has broken His law; however, this is only possible when a person repents of their trust in anything but Christ and believes that He alone will save them from the eternal torments that justice demands.
Paul approaches this issue, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in this passage. He exposes the false religion that had consumed his life before he was gloriously saved on the road to Damascus, and how that he was far more informed and dedicated than the average person. Still, even with the dedicated life of the great Saul of Tarsus and the rich pedigree and tutors he was privileged to have, his righteousness fell short of perfection; thereby, placing him in the very same predicament in which you and I find ourselves. Religion, good intentions, following rules, and even keeping the golden rule will never be enough to earn a place in Heaven.
The Apostle Paul was apprehended by Christ! The Lord Jesus still functions the very same way today. He is calling lost souls to Himself each day. Is He calling you? How will you prove your perfection? When you stand before God and give an account, what will be your plea? Will you foolishly attempt to convince the God of eternity that you deserve Heaven based on your own perfect record, or will you wisely accept the redemption found only in Christ’s purchased pardon of grace?
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