Paul’s Expectation

Paul’s Expectation

That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.
–Philippians 3:10

In Genesis, Adam and Eve sinned against God. But the best they could do, weaving together ill-fitting fig leaves, could not cover their guilt and shame. So God used the skin of an innocent animal to cover Adam and Eve. God covered them with His own covering, thereby teaching all of us that something innocent has to die to cover the guilty.

When we come before God in faith, we are saying, “God, I can’t cover my own sin. I need a covering that You offer.” That’s what God did for us when He sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins. When Jesus died on that cross, two things happened. First, God took our guilt and placed it on Christ. But it didn’t stop there. Second, when we trust in Christ as our Savior, God wraps us in the perfection of Jesus Christ. The best you can do–your heritage, your good works, your church membership–is not enough to save you. The only foundation on which you can stand is the foundation of Christ’s death for you. That’s why Paul prayed in Philippians 3:9 that he “may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”

But Paul’s prayer didn’t stop with salvation. Notice his expectation: “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection” (v. 10). Why did God go to such lengths to save you? There used to be a saying around churches: “I’m saved to serve,” as if the reason Christ died for you is so you can teach a Sunday school class or sing in the choir. That’s not why Christ died for you. Now, you ought to serve Christ in some way. But the reason God saved you is so that you can know Him. Isn’t that an incomparable thought? The God of the universe loves you and wants a relationship with you, so He went to whatever lengths necessary by sending His Son to die for you. Not so you could have your ticket to heaven and then go live however you want to. No, God saved you so that you “may know Him”–not just intellectually but experientially–“and the power of His resurrection.” The same power that lifted Jesus out of the grave is now in your life, if you’re a Christian, to give you victory over sin. Paul continued, “And the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (vv. 10-11). Paul was saying, “It is my expectation that one day I will be like Christ, and I will be with Christ forever.”

What are you depending on to save you from your sins and get you to heaven when you die? God’s grace? Or your works? It’s one or the other. It can’t be both.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Treasure or Trash?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2007.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.