Leaving the past behind…


Philippians 3:1To write the same things to you is not troublesome to me, and for you it is a safeguard. 2 Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh! 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh— 4 even though I, too, have reason for confidence in the flesh. If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith.

Again, Paul is having to deal with people who’ve come into a church he planted, teaching the people they still have to follow parts of the Jewish law to be Christians. In this case the issue is circumcision. Paul is sick to death of this. He calls these people “dogs” and “evil workers… who mutilate the flesh”.

Then Paul tells us that if being a good Jew, and following all the laws of Judaism, were the key to Christian life he would be at the top of the heap. He was a Jew’s Jew in the first season of his life. But after meeting Jesus and coming to know the gospel of salvation by grace, he realized all he had known was of no help to him. In fact in v.7 he says of the ways of his former life as a Pharisee “I have come to regard as rubbish”. In fact, his old ways now aren’t a help to him, but a hindrance.

It’s hard to break old ways of thinking, doing, being. It seems to me each season of life has forced me to re-learn all kinds of things. From growing from a boy to a man, to a family man, to a Christian, to a pastor, and so on. The learning continues. It never stops. Today I’m wondering what things I need to forget so I can live into the next season the Lord as in store for me.

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