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
This week I came to the conclusion that I have been trying to work out my salvation through understanding every last bit of God. The task is insurmountable. Not just because of the sheer amount of information, but because of the nature of God.
Because He IS.
Yet, my heart was in this position, and my spirit was with inner turmoil:
that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
I wanted salvation. It was something I was willing to work for, fight for, educate my mind, and discipline my body for (1 Cor. 9:24-27). But surrender for? Believe that God was working it out for me?
No, I had forgotten this.
I was a Pharisee.
It’s hard to be in that place. You know something is wrong, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. All the striving won’t help because a piece is missing.
And if a piece is missing, you need the manual to figure it out, then you have to go out and buy it (Matthew 13:44).
Thankfully, the manual we have is living and timely. It is my experience that the discipline of reading the Bible brings about the change God desires, shaping you perfectly through the act of submission to this task.
It is here that I found myself studying Hebrews with my wife.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
And it clicks.
Again? More fully?
But certainly in a way it should have ‘clicked’ in the past decade.
‘Oh, I need faith!’
I can’t understand the creation without faith. Or salvation without faith. These are too big for me.
Not that I can’t cling to or explain these concepts. Or hold them to be true.
It’s just that I can’t work them out myself.
Nor obtain them without recognizing that God, as the good Father He is, has a greater understanding than I and is working them out.
And the gap that fell short when striving and working hard, was immediately made full. And it helps that,
These all [Able, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob] died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they werestrangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
It’s not that I’ve solved all my confusion. It’s just to call a spade, a spade. To recognize that I have been a Pharisee and that with this in my trajectory I need to be careful to guard my heart. Filling up myself with faith and not with self-righteousness.
Faith > Pharisee.