“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.”
Philippians 3: 7
BEFORE Paul learned of Jesus Christ, the One who accomplished the salvation and Justification of EVERY sinner He died for; BEFORE the Spirit of God brought him to the Gospel and the TRUE Christ, he looked to his heritage (pedigree). He looked to his law-keeping. He looked to his religious zeal. He looked to all these things as having some part in his acceptance with God.
He thought something he was doing; or something he was enabled to do was “gaining” him God’s favor. Obviously, in this mind set Paul was NOT looking to Christ ALONE for his acceptance with God. He was looking WITHIN, and therefore, at a “christ” of his imagination.
But, when Christ stopped him on the Damascus road, and showed him the “Jesus, whom he had been persecuting”, he was delivered FROM the “christ” of his imagination and brought TO the Christ of the Gospel.
That is what Paul is describing here in Phil 3 – Saul of Tarsus BEFORE his faith in Christ and REPENTANCE from dead works and former idolatry, and Paul, the Apostle, AFTER God gave him eyes to see and brought him to faith in the TRUE Christ and to godly REPENTANCE.
As long as ANY sinner is NOT resting his/her entire salvation in Christ ALONE; as long as ANY sinner is NOT finding their hope in Him who put away the sin of EVERY sinner He died for; as long as ANY sinner is NOT finding their righteousness in Christ’s Righteousness imputed, THAT sinner is finding their hope elsewhere. And, wherever else that is, it is a PRESUMPTOUS hope that needs to be REPENTED of in the light of THE Christ of the Gospel.
Therefore, the Gospel commands sinners to REPENT. It is necessary. It is VITAL that sinners turn AWAY FROM the “christ” we once trusted in (by nature), in order TO TURN TO the Christ of the Gospel. It is VITAL that a sinner turn AWAY FROM the “dead works and evil deeds” motivated by the “christ” of our imaginations and TURN TO the acceptable obedience worked in those brought to TRUE faith and Godly REPENTANCE. That is the Biblical command to REPENT.
--- Mark Pannell
Paths of Righteousness
“He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name sake.”
The Good Shepherd of the sheep leads his flock in those righteous paths ordered of the Father and established by the Son. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delights to walk therein.” (Psalm 37:23) Christ is that good man, sent of the Father to take every step necessary to “finish the transgression , and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” (Daniel 9:24) In Psalm 40:8 Christ said; “I delight to do thy will O God.” He, “who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, despised the shame,” (Hebrews 11: 6) that he might lead his sheep in righteous paths. Micah 6: 8 defines those paths. “He has shown thee O man what is good; and what does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.”
Those who walk the path of justice look alone to Christ’s righteousness imputed for salvation.
Those who walk the path of mercy bow the knee at the mercy seat crying Lord, propitiate for me.
Those who walk the path of humility do so knowing their deservedness of eternal death.
Does my walk equal this talk? Only if my motive is grace and gratitude for the law and justice he satisfied for me, the propitiation he made for me and the gift of eternal life he earned for me when he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. I follow him in paths of righteousness when I follow his voice in Isaiah 30:21; “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, this is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”
The good Shepherd leads us in paths of righteousness. He is before us. If we “hear a Word behind us”, we have turned to the right or left. We seek to follow the Shepherd. His correction is always the same; “I am the way, the truth and the life, walk ye in the righteous paths.”