walk in the word
I count all things but loss . . . that I may win Christ . . . and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the Law, but that which comes through faith in Christ. Philippians 3:7
A thousand years from today the absolute distinguishing feature between everyone who has lived on this earth is who is saved and who is not. It won’t matter what suburb you lived in or what car you drove. Whether your career was a successful or a failure won’t make any difference. All that will matter is this single point: Are you saved?
To know you belong to Christ produces the joy that we’ve been talking about the last several weeks. Paul calls it, “being found in Him” in Philippians 3:9. Backing up a couple verses, he says, “I count all things but loss . . . that I may win Christ . . . and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the Law, but that which comes through faith in Christ . . .”
Like so many others throughout time, the apostle Paul had spent his entire adult life trying to earn God’s favor by obeying the Law. Romans 3:21-24 tells us pretty categorically, “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the Law, it comes through faith in Christ for all who believe; . . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift through Jesus Christ.”
You see, eternal salvation doesn’t come by obeying the rules or doing good. News flash: There’s no sin in heaven. So, if there’s no sin in heaven and we’re all sinners, we need a solution, big-time. My sin problem has to be dealt with.
People go about dealing with their sin problem in basically two ways. One of them is phenomenal and leads to heaven every time. The other one is awful and never has and never will lead to heaven. Jesus called it “the narrow road that leads to eternal life and the broad road that leads to destruction” (Matthew 7:13).
Now this is the question: Which road are you on?
Many people, including the apostle Paul in his early years, travel the broad road. “All my eggs are in one basket. Somehow, someday I will stand before God and God will weigh the good and the bad that I’ve done and decide if I can come in.”
Do you know that God’s gonna ask you someday, “Why should I let you into heaven?” The vast majority of the human race is gonna be looking for the million dollar answer. What do people say qualifies them for heaven?
“I went to church.”
“I gave money to charity.”
“I worked for God.”
“I was kind and loving to people.”
The vast majority of people, and I hope you’re not one of them, thinks that they will bring these good works to God and God will be pleased. All their eggs are in that one basket. If there’s a couple of rotten eggs among the good ones, hopefully He’ll overlook them and focus on the really good stuff. To that, Paul said, “I had to come to the place where those things which I thought were gain to me I consider rubbish. I hate them because those are the very things that made me think I didn’t need Christ.”
You say, “Well, what should you bring to God if you hope to go to heaven?” The hymn writer got it straight—“Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Your cross I cling.” If God were to say to you, “Why should I let you into heaven?” the answer would be, “You shouldn’t . . . except that I’m trusting in Christ and what Christ has done for me.”
Either you trust in your merits or you trust in Christ. Your eternity hangs in your answer. Here’s the truth:“For by grace you are saved, through faith. It’s not of yourself, it’s the gift of God, not of works, so that nobody can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ alone. You’ll go with Him and through Him and in Him or not at all. That is the message of salvation.
Remember that ditty you may have prayed as a kid?
“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
Man, don’t pray that! If you know Christ, then you know God’s gonna take care of your soul! That is a works-oriented prayer. That is, “I hope I got the right stuff in my basket” prayer. You tell your mom I said that’s a dumb prayer. Don’t think about your basket anymore. Fall upon Christ.
Faith is the confidence that trusting in Jesus is sufficient to merit God’s favor. Now, if you have that, that’s the joy of salvation. If you can look to a time in your life when you got off the works program and got on the Jesus-is-the-only-way program, then you know.
Do you ever wonder if Jesus is trustworthy? First Thessalonians 5:24 says, “Faithful is He who has promised. He will also do it.” Listen, friends, there is joy in that! No matter what kind of week or month or year you’ve had, if you know Christ as your Savior, then the best is yet to come. It’s all lookin’ up for you. That’s the joy of salvation. That’s the joy of Jesus Christ.
Now I’m just gonna ask you one last time, what road are you on?
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