Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Grace, it never gets old.

I have been annoying my (very) significant other recently by reading a book over the last few weeks and raving about how good it is. It is Extreme Righteousness by a man called Tom Hovestol and it is brilliant, one of the best books I have read in a long time. It is about the Pharisees and the lessons that we can learn from them. Here’s an illustration from near the end that underlines how pathetic our efforts at building up spiritual brownie points are compared with what Christ has already done for us:

“Imagine that you were a shrewd businessperson who had built a nest egg of $50,000. Bill Gates, the multibillionaire founder of Microsoft, befriends you and later decides to bequeath much of his considerable wealth to you. What would you do? Probably you would view all the money you had worked so hard to accumulate as unworthy of your attention. You might even eliminate it from your accounting, for it is as rubbish next to your newly acquired billions. In the asset column you would have great difficulty writing an amount because the figure is too large. Instead you may simply write “Inheritance from William Gates.” Furthermore, any future assets that you would accumulate from your job would seem inconsequential in comparison.

So it was for the apostle Paul:

If others think they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. Philippians 3:4b-7

So it should be with us.” (Hovestol, pages 219-220)

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