By Ernest O'Neill

What Are We to Depend on For Our Salvation?

By Rev. Ernest O'Neill

You remember that Paul went to great lengths to express that his hope of salvation was not based upon his being a part of the Jewish nation.  His hope of being received by the Creator after this life is over was not based on his having participated in the actions of God’s chosen people.  His hope was based on his own belief and his own readiness to be reconstituted and remade in Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Now, he says that in writing to the church at Philippi -- Philippians 3:3:  "For we are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit, and glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh.  Though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also.  If any other man thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more:  circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law a Pharisee, as to zeal a persecutor of the church, as to righteousness under the law blameless.  But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith; that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible, I may attain the resurrection from the dead."

Paul says, "No.  I'm not depending on the fact that I’m a Jew, or that I'm part of a larger group that God has chosen for a special purpose.  I'm not depending on that for my salvation.  I'm not depending on that for God to accept me at the end of this life.  I'm depending on my readiness to be destroyed and remade in Jesus' death and resurrection, and to be changed into the image of God in this life."