How many of you have a spiritual pedigree? We all do, don’t we. We come from different backgrounds with different traditions. Sometimes, we are quite proud of our tradition and the speed at which we were able to check off a spiritual checklist. I know, some of you are thinking, “I am not one of those….I came to Christ through faith. I am not cluttered by so much tradition.” That is your spiritual pedigree. We all have arrived at this point in life through a variety of experiences. We arrive with a particular view of our past. It is common for us to view our efforts as part of our righteousness. Who is exempt? Not me.
Philippians 3:4-11 (ESV)
4 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: 5 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;6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
The third chapter of Philippians is a great teaching on the how we become right before God. Paul was an exceptional Pharisee climbing the ladder of success quite rapidly. He was intercepted by Christ while traveling to persecute the new religious sect called Christians. I think we often forget that Paul was not a rebel or a renegade. Paul was extremely well trained and was becoming noteworthy at a very young age. He had checked all the boxes, learned all the right principles, and went to all the right schools. What, then, was his problem? He relied on his own accomplishments to make him right before God. It took a miracle for him to see life otherwise.
Are we really so much different than Paul. We go about life, doing the right things. We should do the right things. But, we need to understand what they mean. What we have done, the right we have done, is not what makes us right before God. It is Christ that makes us right before God. We need to understand that nothing we do can accomplish the work of salvation that must be done in every life. Do you need to evaluate the righteousness on which you rely? Are you trusting in your own self or in Christ?