“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
The Bible is replete with examples of people who, on outward inspection, might have had confidence in their own strength and unaided reason. The Pharaoh and his armies appeared fearsome, powerful, and unstoppable. Nevertheless, the confidence the king of Egypt placed in own resources was very poorly placed indeed. He was easily bested by God through the ministry of Moses, the once disgraced Egyptian courtier (Exodus 2:11-5; Nehemiah 9:10-11). Goliath the giant from Gath was unmatched when it came to sheer size, strength, and fighting prowess; if anyone could have confidence in the flesh it would be him (1 Samuel 17). Despite outward appearances, however, God engineered his utter defeat at the hands of David the young shepherd from Bethlehem. Nebuchadnezzar was the brilliant designer/builder and military tactician responsible for much of Neo Babylon’s beauty, power, and wealth. His successes intoxicated the man, and he saw no problem whatever with putting full confidence in his own abilities (Daniel 4:30). Instantly he was humbled by God. He was committed to seven long years of groveling like a senseless animal before God gave him back his mind, and he finally gave God the glory (Daniel 4:31-37). Many more examples could be added to our list. The point of course is that we ought to have a constant awareness of our absolute, moment by moment dependence upon God (John 15:5). This goes in spades when it comes to salvation, the forgiveness of sins, and of our reconciliation to God. It is a serious error to think we can do anything to earn our way into heaven. “For by grace are ye saved through faith;” wrote Paul, “and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Not only is it a serious error to think we can earn salvation, it is serious error to think we can keep it—or do any one thing to please God for that matter—on our own strength. The thought is humbling to be sure, but let us remember that God resists the proud but grace to the humble (James 4:6). “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God,” wrote Peter, “that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). Humbling ourselves before God brings a special kind of freedom. It is quite liberating to know that our salvation is not dependent on our performance, but on Christ’s. Our good works did nothing to earn our salvation, neither do our flawed performances cause us to lose it. In gratitude we simply love and trust God’s Beloved One in Whom we are accepted (Ephesians 1:6). May we praise and serve Him today, placing our full confidence in the Savior Who loved us first.