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  • Writer's pictureJustin Bills

Reading Through The New Testament. September 6th, 2016. Philippians 3.

Justin Here. Let’s call today's reflection: The thing everyone loves to talk about but no ever really does it. (including me)

Chapter three begins with something people do. That something? Getting circumcised. It’s weird to talk about now — seems like such a strange thing for people to get hung up about, especially when it is in the context of being acceptable to God.

But it was. At one time circumcision was everything. It was the sign of being a person committed to God. In a way, it was like baptism, a ceremony to commit yourself to Yahweh. So, that was still in the air. There were these “dogs” as Paul puts it, who wanted to make sure people got circumcised.

Paul is pretty abrupt, stern and decisive. (in my own words)

No! C’mon. That’s not it. WE are the circumcision. It is those who serve Christ in the spirit, who boast in the grace of Jesus, and it is we who have NO confidence in the things WE do, but in the thing HE did.

Paul is saying that if we make this about something WE do then we miss it entirely. If it is something WE do then we can boast in ourselves. We can be better than others, we can EARN the love of God.

I consider that garbage.

Paul uses a greek word: SKUBALON. Which meant… Poo, crap, excrement, Sh** really, some people debate whether or not Paul is using expletives to communicate his point.

That’s what Paul thinks about the idea of someone putting confidence in smoothing THEY DO to get the love of God, it’s a bunch of BS.

The truth is, I don’t want a love based on what I do.

That’s conditional.

I don’t want to be loved because I love speaking, or skateboarding, or because I’m extremely handsome.

If I have to perform to get it. It’s not what I really need. It’s something else.

The distance between conditional and un-conditional love is the distance between the east and the west. They are not the same things.

So, don’t make this about conditional love. That’s excrement compared to the gift of Jesus. The righteousness that came from him as a gift.

We like this idea. We talk about it a lot. We say things like “it’s not about our ability but God’s” when we get applause we point to heaven to indicate that it’s all grace.

But, when we perform well, and get praise for it, we still find our identity there.

We still want to be known for how well we perform. We still get addicted to the praise. It seeps into our motivations like yeast in dough and infects the whole batch.

We believe it’s all grace.

but really we don’t.

Because if we did worship would be different. We would come to praise Jesus for his grace and not to get something, not to critique the music, not to feel the good feels. Serving would be different. There would be more signing up to set-up chairs than to play on the stage, if I can be blunt. I am preaching to myself too.

I wouldn’t get off stage and feel the need to be affirmed for what I did.

Guys, I don’t want to bring this garbage into the gospel. As Paul says: I want to gain Christ and be found in Him.

I don’t want to want the praise. I want to want to be found in Him.

I want to find all that I am in this grace and this gospel.

All else is excrement compared to being found there.

So, it’s all grace. Maybe today we can actually start believing that.

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