“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