Paul’s writings have two characteristics that “jump out of the page” honesty and thoroughness. When the Apostle calls us to rejoice in the LORD, he is not writing out of a hypothetical philosophical framework, some academic or cultural construct but out of the reality of his personal experience; Paul knows it is possible to rejoice in the LORD when, on the one hand, we rest free and secure on the righteousness that is not our own, and on the other hand we consider all of life. The joy coming from knowing we are in “good shape” before the Triune God allows us to see the real value of what this life has to offer. Thoroughly, then, Paul proceeds to give us a description of how to invest here better: know His Beauty (His Person and Work), imitate Him in service that is humble, compassionate, and generous – no matter how painful it may be – and keep your eyes on the approaching glory. Nothing else will do; everything else can be considered a loss.
For your consideration
- The passage contains a contrast between treasures. What makes it so difficult to choose the right one? (note: the right treasure begins with “… that I may gain Christ,” and it ends with ” I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”)
- React to the phrase “we have not been created to amass wealth.”
- How is this Alien Righteousness liberating?
- React to the phrase “this righteousness is yours now because your Champion has fought and won.”
- How is it possible that this Alien Righteousness makes our joy circumstances independent?
- What is the role of grace and faith here?
- Besides reading all the passages for this Sunday included in the Lectionarium, also consider Zechariah 3:1-5