Wed, 7 November 2018
(Phil.3:3-8; Ps.105:2-7; Lk.15:1-10)
“I have come to rate all as loss
in the light of the surpassing knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul tells us, “Those things I used to consider gain I have now reappraised as loss in the light of Christ.” The “legal observance” he grasped so tightly – having been “circumcised on the eighth day,” “a Hebrew of Hebrew origins,” himself a Pharisee – he now looses to the wind, desiring only to be among those “who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus,” and “seek[ing] to serve Him constantly.” What matters but Jesus and His love, and “the judgments He has uttered”?
But this justice those who remain as Paul was cannot begin to consider, for they say to themselves as Paul once said of himself: “I [am] above reproach when it [comes] to justice based on the law”… yet do they hold tightly to their fine legal observances, looking down upon those who are below their reproach and judging them all as loss, as wayward sheep destined for the fires of Gehenna. And this Man eats with them! But what is loss in their eyes becomes great gain in the eyes of God, for there is “more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent”; and the angels sing in praise as they see the Son of Man sitting and ministering to these sinners, drawing them, as He has been sent to do, into the kingdom’s gates.
The Lord “light[s] a lamp and sweep[s] the house in a diligent search” for straying souls. When He succeeds, He calls us all, saying, “Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.” And will we be jealous of the Lord’s discovery, as the Pharisees and scribes, or will we realize that we all have need of repentance, that we are all that lost sheep, that lost coin which the Lord treasures so once He holds it in His hand again?
Brothers and sisters, it is in the Lord’s hands we must always place ourselves; this is to be in the light of the surpassing knowledge of Christ. By our own hands, in our own wills – “putting our trust in the flesh” – what do we make but corruption, even as our first parents who desired so to hold the apple in their hands and eat it at their pleasure? In things themselves, and our willful manipulation of them, we find only a knowledge that brings death, that leads to darkness. And who will lead us out of such darkness? Jesus, who is Light. In trust in Him we realize we do not know the good we do, for all of any worth is of His making. And so all our desire is for knowledge of “the wondrous deeds that He has wrought” and forgetfulness of our sinful selves. Rejoice in the Lord’s salvation!
O LORD, help us to repent of our sin
and leave behind all things of the flesh,
that we might live in the glory of your Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ.
YHWH, how you desire our repentance, our return to you. For this you send your only Son to sit among us and call us to your side – for this He shall even die. May the light He shines find a place in our hearts that we shall be found by Him and lifted up on His shoulders… that we might be raised to Heaven.
We are all poor sinners, LORD, lost to ourselves and lost to you. We are all blinded by the things of this world and the pride we take in our work among them. And so, darkness overtakes us.
Yet you call us to glory in you and in the wondrous deeds that you have wrought in your mercy. Yet we may be gathered into your arms and rejoice in your NAME. Yet if we listen to your Son we shall know redemption, we shall return to you.
And you will rejoice with all your angels that we have come to you, that we have found your glory. Our joy will be your joy, good God, for your love will be our own.