Grace is Shockingly Free
1Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. 2Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
The tone of Philippians is fairly upbeat and cheerful with the exception of these few verses. Paul takes on the very real problem that the new Church faced concerning false teaching of the Judaizers. The group insisted that the only way to come to Christ was through the Jewish religion and the practice of circumcision. Paul’s words about this concept are pretty sharp and he pulls no punches here. This is a serious error in thinking.
The Judaizers would add something to the saving work of Christ. And isn’t that a tempting idea to toy around with when we become part of the faith? I know a woman who became a member of a cult about 15 years ago. This group had a serious list of rules that had to be obeyed in order for a person to become a “true Christian”. They even went so far as to demand that this woman’s mother get on her knees before the cult leader and confess to the sin of idolatry because she owned a dog. That might be an extreme example, but it serves to point out what can become arbitrary demands that the Scriptures does not make. Grace is so shockingly free that there simply isn’t anything we can or need to add to what Christ has already done in order to win our salvation. His death paid the whole price.
So whatever you are doing to try and win the grace of God – stop it. You already have that grace and you did nothing to gain it. Whatever you have gained in this life, set it all aside to walk with Christ. He’s worth it.