The Christian’s Past: Salvation (Philippians 3:1-11)
Chapter 3 of Philippians covers three very important foundational concepts: Salvation, Sanctification and Glorification—i.e. the Christian’s past, present and future. Today we are focusing on Salvation.
When Paul describes in detail his past life (Phil 3:4-6)—a description of a “servant” of God through works not grace—he confesses his sin and emphasizes the powerful saving truth in God’s grace versus religious works. He urges the saints at Philippi to choose Christ’s salvation that comes by grace instead of striving vainly in their own prideful efforts to gain status that will fade away.
Without Christ it is our human nature to follow the course of the world, fulfilling our fleshly desires, unaware that we are being led by the prince of evil to a spiritual death. We are ignorant of the truth and we are dead in our sins. BUT GOD!! Two powerful words that shout Christ’s sacrifice, God’s love and intervention of immeasurable grace and mercy in our life. He reaches down in his powerful love to save us, and set us free from the law of sin and death. He changes the course of our life. What great love and kindness.
There is a phenomenal and eternal difference in trusting in our works (“confidence in the flesh”) and in trusting in the grace of Christ. Romans 8:1-17 describes this difference. God has set us FREE from the law of sin and death! His Spirit lives in us! We walk by life and peace. Where does our confidence lie? In our flesh and own abilities? In our accomplishments and status? Our job? Financial wealth? Paul tells us NOT to put confidence in our flesh, but to trust in God. How would we profit if we gain the whole world but lose our own soul (Mt 16:26)? By his gift of grace we are saved through faith, not through our works.
After God knocked Paul off his horse and saved him, Paul counted everything he had and was before as loss for the worth of knowing Christ…phrased in the King James Version as “the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord”. Because of God’s divine influence on Paul’s heart, Paul completely laid down his old life of fleshly works and embraced the saving life of Christ, and his life was drastically changed. He forfeited what used to be of great value to him. Paul counted his suffering as a Christian as rubbish compared to knowing Christ.
EVERY salvation experience is remarkable and unique. God knows each of us from the time we are formed in the womb. Through his love and forgiveness, he adopts us as his children, and he teaches us how to live.
Week 6 Questions:
Share briefly your salvation experience. How did your life change when you first became a Christian?
Is there something from your old life that you need to lay down today?
If we stumble in our faith, do we need to be saved again?
Describe the process of daily forgiveness.