Thursday after the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Philippians 3:1-11 (NKJV)
1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
“…the righteousness which is from God by faith…”
Righteousness comes from faith, which means that it is a gift of God, just like faith. Since this righteousness belongs to God, it is an unmerited gift. And the gifts of God greatly exceed any achievements of our own good deeds or desires.
Knowledge of Christ’s resurrection also comes through faith, and without faith there is no knowledge of our own resurrection from the dead. It is only through faith that we know the reality of His resurrection. For what reasoning could demonstrate the resurrection to us? None, but it is through faith. And if the resurrection of Christ in the flesh is known only through faith, how can the incarnation of the Word be comprehended by reason? The resurrection is far more plausible to reason than the Virgin birth.
From this righteousness, knowledge, and faith comes our sharing in his sufferings. How? If we had not believed in him, we would not be suffering with Him. If we had not believed that we will abide and reign with Him, we would not have endured these sufferings. If we had not desired to live as the world chooses not to, they would ignore us, or even welcome us as one of their own. But because we are gifted by the Holy Ghost through the means of grace with righteousness, knowledge, and faith, we suffer all things. Therefore, let us with St. Paul count all things a loss for Christ, who suffered and died for our salvation.