Not What My Hands Have Done (I Cast It All Away)

Faith and Life Here’s a snippet of  B.B. Warfield’s outstanding exposition of Philippians 3.9 found in Faith and Life (reblogged from July 22, 2011).

“All that he [Paul] is, all that he has sought after, all that he has done – though from a fleshly point of view far superior to what most men can appeal to – all, all, he counts (not merely useless but) loss, all one mass of loss, to be cast away and buried in the sea, ‘that he may gain Christ and be found in him.’  On the one side stand all human works – they are all loss.  On the other hand stands Christ – he is all in all.  That is the contrast.”

“The contrast is between the righteousness which a man can make for himself and the righteousness that a God gives him.  And the contrast is absolute.  On the one, in the height and the breadth of its whole idea – we cannot exaggerate here – Paul pours contempt, as a basis or, nay, even the least part of the basis, of salvation.  On the other, exclusively, he bases the totality of salvation.  The outcome is, that not merely polemically but alien righteousness, with the express exclusion of every item of our own righteousness.  The whole contents of the passage demands this as Paul’s fundamental thought.”

“The gospel, to Paul, consists precisely in this: that we do nothing to earn our salvation or to secure it for ourselves.  God in Christ does it all.”

“It must be faith or works; it can never be faith and works.  And the fundamental exhortation which we must ever be giving our souls is clearly expressed in the words of the hymn, ‘Cast your deadly doing down.’  Only when that is completely done is it really Christ only, Christ all in all, with us; only then, do we obey fully Paul’s final exhortation: ‘let your joy be in the Lord.’  Only then do we renounce utterly ‘our own righteousness, that out of law,’ and rest solely on ‘that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness of God on [by] faith.’”

What a great way to explain Paul’s teaching of sola fide and solus Christus – and what a comfort the gospel is, knowing that salvation belongs totally to the Lord, from start to finish, from beginning to end.

rev shane lems


3 comments on “Not What My Hands Have Done (I Cast It All Away)

  1. dsanger says:

    “It is Finished” Wow, what a great hymn–wish it were in our hymnal. Maybe then we’d hear less about Christianity as “do, do” religion. Here’s the complete text:

    Nothing, either great or small—
    Nothing, sinner, no;
    Jesus died and paid it all,
    Long, long ago.


    “It is finished!” yes, indeed,
    Finished, ev’ry jot;
    Sinner, this is all you need,
    Tell me, is it not?


    When He, from His lofty throne,
    Stooped to do and die,
    Ev’rything was fully done;
    Hearken to His cry!


    Weary, working, burdened one,
    Wherefore toil you so?
    Cease your doing; all was done
    Long, long ago.


    Till to Jesus’ work you cling
    By a simple faith,
    “Doing” is a deadly thing—
    “Doing” ends in death.


    Cast your deadly “doing” down—
    Down at Jesus’ feet;
    Stand in Him, in Him alone,
    Gloriously complete.


  2. Monty Ledford says:

    Great Warfiled quote and great hymn. Warfield has a sort of sovereign confidence in the truths of the Gospel, unintimidated by counter claims of asserted scholarship, which is very gratifying. He also has a elevated, somewhat heavy, but no overdone precision of style that is a pleasure to read.
    His best stuff is his polemics; there his massive erudition and unflappable style delivers the occasional ironic put-down with devastating effect–an irony he usually does not permit himself in his positive exposition of doctrine. His book on miracles is a case in point–as also, are his volumes on perfectionism. Some of this material is pretty funny.


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