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The TREE OF LIFE weekly teaching summary from THE WEEK ENDING: February 27, 2000


PHI 3:8 "Not only this but more than this, I conclude as an expert all things [human celebrityship and achievement] to be loss [singular] because of the surpassing greatness of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have forfeited all things, also, I keep on concluding as an expert them to be piles of dung in order that I may win for Christ,"

"That I may win for Christ" is the ultimate goal of the believer referring to becoming a winner in the Pre-designed Plan Of God (PPOG) as you fulfill your personal sense of destiny.

In PHI 3:9-11 we actually have three verses, which are a part of grace orientation. No matter how far you advance in the spiritual life, you need to remind yourself of grace orientation on a continuous basis. Therefore, we have these three verses in a parenthesis devoted to the subject of grace orientation.

The first is salvation, Paul writes in PHI 3:9 "and 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,"

The second is the believer in time living his life under grace orientation, PHI 3:10 "that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;"

The third is the believer in eternity, PHI 3:11 "in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."

You can see the fantastic genius of Paul inspired by the ministry of God the Holy Spirit. We must constantly remind ourselves of grace orientation in order to stay on balance in the Christian way of life.

We need an introduction to verse 9 before we get into the exegesis of the verse. PHI 3:9 "and 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," The phrase "My own righteousness" refers to a moral self-righteousness as a success standard of Judaism. This morality was a strict system inculcated in Paul since childhood and he kept this moral Law perfectly (PHI 3:6). However, the standards were overt; they were not the inner standards of the soul, which is what God requires, 1SA 16:7, PSA 51:6. It is easy to build up a facade of morality and have it become totally meaningless and insignificant. The attack from Judaism upon Christianity was based upon the premise that Christianity was wrong and needed fixing. The rational was that The Lord Jesus Christ (TLJC) criticized "human good" and those who thought they were righteous could not stand this; after all, they had worked so hard at being moral and righteous. Our Lord used divine sarcasm at times toward those who thought they were righteous, as in MAR 2:17 "{It is} not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Morality is a façade and there is no virtue in it, Paul murdered Christians in the name of morality. In PHI 3:9 the comparison is between what Paul had been keeping (the Law as an unbeliever resulting in self-righteousness) and the righteousness imputed to Paul at the point of salvation. The only righteousness that counts is the righteousness from the source of God, which comes at the point of faith in Christ. At this point, God gave us His very own righteousness, which is infinitely greater than any system of morality and in fact is totally exclusive of morality. In verse 9 there are seven principles of introduction concerning the two types of righteousness that are mentioned.

1. Human good or human righteousness is relative and totally unacceptable to God. Only that which is absolute and perfect righteousness can be acceptable to God, ISA 64:6.

There's always someone worse than you and someone better.

2. Human righteousness is totally unacceptable for salvation, only divine righteousness can save, EPH 2:8-9.

3. Human righteousness is totally unacceptable as a part of the spiritual life of the believer, only divine righteousness can live the spiritual life.

4. Human righteousness is unacceptable at all judgments, only the perfect righteousness of God will be rewarded,1CO 3:11-15, REV 20:12-15. God has opened the door to the greatest possible virtue related to the soul, in your inner being.

5. There is no place for human righteousness where divine righteousness has been provided.

6. There is no place for human power where divine power functions.

7. The imputed righteousness of God does many things for the believer. It justifies us, it is the basis for logistical grace blessings and with it we become objects of God's personal love.

Positional Truth

In PHI 3:9 the phrase "in Him" refers to being in union with Christ and the doctrine of positional truth, our union with TLJC. This is a subject that the kingdom of darkness constantly tries to blind us from. Because of the angelic conflict and the tremendous deception of Satan as the ruler of the world, security in the Christian way of life is of the utmost importance. Each step that you take forward to understand your position "with Christ" prepares you for the next step ISA 28:10 "For He says, 'Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, Line on line, line on line, A little here, a little there." Our faith must rest and rely upon God's scriptural testimony as to what he has already done for us "in Christ." When we perceive that God the Father has made us complete in Christ, then we are able to have the confidence and assurance to trust in Him as He develops that completeness experientially in our life. Even though the work is "complete in Christ" there is nothing automatic about our experience of it COL 2:8-10. The responsibility that we have concerning our union with Christ and our position in Him is simply to believe it. To believe ROM 8:31b "If God is for us, who is against us?" and ROM 8:32 "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?"

We are saved by faith, live by faith, and we are to walk by faith and grow by faith. Our union with Christ and our position in Him, which we call the doctrine of positional truth, is the "full-provision" for our Christian life and service. You cannot live the adult spiritual life without understanding your union with Christ and your position in Him.

Positional truth is the provision for our Christian life whereas; the cross is the only provision we have for the self-life. Security is of the utmost importance in the Christian life and therefore without the proper doctrinal information, there is bound to be a nagging question regarding salvation or spirituality. Millions of born again believers struggle with this question of whether they are unconditionally and forever saved or if they are on probation?"

TIT 2:11-14 "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds."

The grace of God instructs us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and spiritual in this present age, the Church-age. There is no such word Godliness, the Greek word in verse 12 is "eusebos" from "eusebeia" which is a word describing living the spiritual life and the opposite of the Spiritual life. You will come across those who strongly oppose any thought of unconditional eternal security and grace leading to living the spiritual life. What they fail to understand is that the believer who truly stands in the grace and security of positional truth is the one who truly respects God and realizes that sin hinders their relationship with Him. As one who fears or respects God not as a slave, or in fear of losing his salvation but one who is concerned about grieving God's love. Grace rids one of doubt and gives assurance and confidence, the Law, legalism and religion on the other hand, keeps a person wondering, guessing and hoping. It is the insecure believer who is naturally unstable and goes from one experience to another. Paul puts it this way in 2TI 3:7 "always learning and never able to come to the epignosis knowledge of the truth." Resting in our union with Christ and our position in Him frees us from the endless and sinful self-effort of trying to make our condition the basis for our security. It certainly is not yet manifested in our condition what we already are in our position. But, the believer who understands his union with Christ and his position in Him does not rely upon appearances and is not affected one way or another by his condition. 1JO 4:17 says "By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; BECAUSE AS HE IS, SO ALSO ARE WE IN THIS WORLD."

Understanding such passages as causes the believer to rest in the work which God has done and the words that the Lord has said! As he grows spiritually, the adult believer knows he is accepted and secure not on the basis of his condition but on the basis of his position. There is only one man that God accepts, only one that God elected, only one that God predestined, and we are "in that man", the God-man, TLJC. This does not produce carelessness but confidence, ISA 32:17 "And the work of righteousness will be peace, And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever."

JUD 1:24 "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,"

It is a sad commentary to know that passages like MAT 11:28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest" exists and yet the majority of born again believers run around with a guilt complex working up a relationship with God. It is a pathetic testimony of the grace of love of God to have Christians quoting MAT 11:29 when our Lord said "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls" and yet the average believer is bored and weary concerning their relationship with God.

As one writer put it, "Our position in Christ is one of sitting, our life in the world is one of walking and our attitude toward Satan is one of standing." Christianity begins not with the word "DO", but with the word DONE.

Resting in our union with Christ and our position in Him frees us from the endless and sinful self-effort of trying to make our condition the basis for our security. All of this as a result of possessing and grasping the true meaning of having the gift of divine righteousness and perfect standing with God.

COL 1:22 "yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach"

How many of God's people experience this type of rest and peace and freedom and tranquility? Again, look at JUD 1:24 "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy," He who is able is the one who has the infinite ability to keep you free from falling and to cause you to stand.

Standing in the presence of His glory means more than just being in the face to face presence of Christ, it means in REV: 5 Jesus Christ introduces you to the Father in His court before His holy angels. He introduces you as a winner believer and as a witness who has fulfilled a prosecutorial testimony against Satan in the Church age, that's the true witness. The true witness is not one who simply witnesses to people. We are witnesses in a higher sense against Satan and for the glory of God. So in JUD 1:25 "to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen." Actually, it should sound something like this, "To the unique God the only true God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord be glorification, majesty, government, an authority before all the ages. "

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