November 28, 2007

The Gift of Righteousness

Philippians 3:4b-14

Righteousness ... comes from God and is by faith.
Philippians 3:9


Children, what would you say if I asked you to throw your most treasured toy into the garbage? Young people, as you look to the future, imagine being asked to forget about one of your main goals, such as marriage or a college education. And what about the things you have right now? Is your most prized possession a car? A career? Your stock portfolio? Could you consider them rubbish right now? Really?

Paul was one of the most successful young men in his community. He had the right credentials by birth, learning, and life experience. Yet he was willing to consider it all rubbish. Why? Certainly not for an easier life or for fame and glory. He knew that letting go was the only way to receive God's gift of righteousness through faith in Christ. That's what Jesus meant when he said, "Whoever loves his own life will lose it; whoever hates his own life in this world will keep it" (John 12:25, TEV).

Are you holding on to something that is preventing you from stretching out your hand to receive God's gift of righteousness by faith? This gift includes the forgiveness of sins, a new life of service to the Lord, and eternal life. Everything you have or might like to have pales in comparison to the gift of God's righteousness through faith in Christ. Receive him as Lord, and the gift of his righteousness will be yours.

King of our lives, teach us what it means to consider all things as rubbish so that we might gain the righteousness of Jesus Christ through faith in him. Amen.

About the author — John Van Schepen

Dr. John Van Schepen is a retired pastor who served churches in Washington, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oregon and California. He and his wife, Willie, have been blessed with five children and several grandchildren.

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