Salvation has come to this house

Paul spends a little time reminding the church at Philippi that since they have trusted in Jesus Christ, returning to the laws of Judaism won't help them. Here's a long quote:

Philippians 3:4-7 though 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: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness, under the law blameless.

So Paul tells them some about his background. Although he had impeccable credentials, he goes on to say that none of them were useful to put him into a right relationship with God. People today still try and use these same credentials:

circumcised the eighth day - No ritual or ceremony, regardless of the church you attend, puts you into a right relationship with God. This includes baptism (infant or adult), confirmation, mass, etc.

the people of Israel - No racial heritage can put you into a right relationship with God. Being Jewish doesn't help, neither does being American or anything else.

the tribe of Benjamin - It doesn't matter what family you come from. There's no help in being a Bush, a Kennedy, a Graham, or any other family. God's not impressed.

a Hebrew of Hebrews - Adhering to a specific culture or tradition doesn't do anything either.

as to the law, a Pharisee - There is no religious position or office that can help you. Being a monk or priest or pastor or seminary professor does nothing save you from your sins.

as to zeal, a persecutor of the church - Here's the big one today. Many say, "It doesn't matter what you believe, so long as you are zealous." Paul was so zealous he killed people who didn't agree with him. But he came to realize that it wasn't zeal that matters, but the object of his zeal.

as to righteousness, under the law blameless - Paul said he always obeyed all the rules of his religious organization. You couldn't bring any accusation against him that would stick. But obeying lots of rules don't please God if your heart is far from Him.

That about covers everything, doesn't it? So why did I write all this? Because a couple weeks ago, Jacen repented of his sins and trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. It's important to note what Jacen did not do - he didn't get baptized; he didn't claim his American heritage; he didn't claim to be a Garriss; he didn't re-use his parent's faith; he didn't take a position in a church; he didn't get zealous; and he certainly didn't claim to be perfect. He repented of his sins and trusted in Jesus. That's it. It's a decision he made all by himself at age 6.

Can a kid really get saved? Read the point paper on the salvation of a child.

Welcome to God's family, my son. It's what we've been praying for since you were born.

No comments: