In Philippians chapter three, verses seven through eleven, Paul writes, “I once thought these things were valuable but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather I become righteous through my faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead.”
In the verses preceding this passage, Paul talks about having been raised in the Pharisee sect and adhering strictly to the law they followed. Then he experienced his vision from Christ on the road to Damascus, and became an apostle of Christ, spreading the Good News of Salvation all over the world.
He stresses very clearly that that it is God’s grace that gives us this Salvation, and it is because of his mercy and kindness and his love for human beings. The law, while useful to protect the vulnerable, can get in the way of human love and mercy, something that Jesus was very adamant about pointing out in the Gospels.
Paul made it his mission in life to preach to people to accept the spiritual purification that Jesus Christ offers us, by repenting of our sins and asking forgiveness, and leading lives of dedication to obeying Christ’s commandments. He implored his followers in his writings to turn away from worldly acts and values and to live as Christ would have us live, following Christ’s commandments and giving all our efforts to live lives of spiritual purity.
He tells us again and again that it is our faith in God and Christ and our obedience to their teachings that saves us, and he dedicated a great measure of his time to redirecting the focus of his followers and congregations away from zealous dedication to human law, and toward the spiritual purification and salvation that is offered to us through God and Christ.
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