Are you to make every effort for your salvation, or let go & let God? Yes.
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Philippians 3 (ESV)
1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord.
To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.
2 Look out for the dogs,
look out for the evildoers,
look out for those who mutilate the flesh.
3 For we are the circumcision,
who worship by
the Spirit of God
and glory in Christ Jesus
and put no confidence in the flesh—
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,
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.
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.
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect,
but I press on to make it my own,
because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.
But one thing I do:
forgetting what lies behind
and straining forward to what lies ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Let those of us who are mature think this way,
and if in anything you think otherwise,
God will reveal that also to you.
16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
17 Brothers, join in imitating me,
and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
18 For many,
of whom I have often told you
and now tell you even with tears,
walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.
19 Their end is destruction,
their god is their belly,
and they glory in their shame,
with minds set on earthly things.
our citizenship is in heaven,
and from it we await a Savior,
the Lord Jesus Christ,
21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body,
by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Philippians 3 Summary
This chapter is full of warnings to be wary of as you walk through life:
On one side, be ware of the vicious dogs who outwardly look really pious, but put their trust in their own efforts rather than in what Christ has fully accomplished (v2).
On the other side are the enemies of the cross of Christ (v18). These people often masquerade as Christians as well, but rather than focusing on things above, their minds are set on their own appetites and glory.
Since these dogs and enemies are constantly attacking you, be certain to aggressively use the defenses mentioned:
Count your own efforts to achieve self-righteousness as rubbish (v8 - literally dung), and instead find yourself fully dependent upon the righteousness of Christ (v9).
Realize that your citizenship is in heaven (v20). Certainly we are to work hard and enjoy the life God has granted us in this world, but be ready at any moment to let go of it all when Christ calls you home.
Here's the irony: trying to achieve piety by checking off boxes and relying upon your own strength will only serve to make you miserable, but don't be too quick to move to the opposite extreme and just coast through life relying on God's grace.
Look at the aggressive way Paul experiences God's grace, which he calls 'the prize' in v12-14: he presses on (he mentions that twice) and strains to push himself to know Christ more and more and to reach the goal and win the prize (v14).
Which word would you use to describe your efforts in discipleship? Are you coasting or straining? Are you pushing forward to what lies ahead (eternal life) or are you desperately clinging to what lies behind (v13)?
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Knowing God is of surpassing worth, which makes all else seem like garbage (v8)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will make it clear to you those things in which you think differently than what He desires.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: