“in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith.” vss. 8b-9
So what do we have to do to gain Christ and be found in him? That question has plagued and divided Christians for centuries. According to some there are a whole sequence of steps for believers to follow before such assurance is possible.That was the whole problem for Martin Luther as he struggled for spiritual serenity in the Augustinian Monastery in Erfurt. No matter what he did, no matter how thorough his confession, no matter how severe his acts of penance, he couldn’t find the peace he craved. And then as he searched the scriptures he discovered a great truth: he didn’t need to do anything! All that was necessary for his salvation had already been done. Righteousness didn’t come as a result of his own understanding or effort, it was a gift from God. It was pure grace and it was his by faith! Once the light had dawned for him he realized that this good news permeated all the letters of Paul…and Luther made it the centerpiece of his reforming efforts. It’s not easy to hang on to the purity of this simple message. We fight against it with all our might…we want so badly to be able to take some credit for our own salvation. What a blessing when we can simply relax and accept pure grace with gratitude and thanksgiving! It truly is God’s most precious gift!
Thought for the Day: Where does faith come from?