Paul had been very proud of his religious credentials. He had followed every rule to the letter in order to be right with God. Then he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus and everything changed for him. He realised for the first time that all his legalistic righteousness was utterly useless as a way of pleasing God. He realised that what God was looking for was relationship, not religion.
But how was this relationship, in fact a covenant relationship, going to be possible? He discovered that the answer was to be found in following Jesus, the only One who had a perfect relationship with Father God. If Paul’s own life could be completely surrendered to Jesus, the Son of God, he could also really know the Father.
Routines can sometimes be of value in the discipline of a Christian life but, if we see religious routines and rules as the way to be right with God, we will miss the precious relationship with Him that Jesus has made possible for us. Sadly, many world religions leave their devotees without any certainty as to whether they have obeyed sufficient rules to please their deity. In Christ, we have the absolute assurance of being God’s children.
Paul doesn’t mince his words in describing the change that had happened in his own life, the difference between the before and the after of meeting Jesus. His past religious practices had been rubbish compared with the value of knowing Christ.
Prayer: Father God, I`m so grateful that knowing You, and pleasing You, doesn`t depend upon my religious effort but rather upon my simple surrender to Your Son. What a relief! Amen.
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