Twilight: The Garbage of Self-Righteousness
by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Philippians is Paul's love letter. The epistle is also a good instrument for learning the secret of this great man. Paul considered living Christ and dying gain. And, although he wrote from a prison cell, his refrain was "Rejoice in the Lord always."
Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss ... compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (Phil. 3:7–8).
"If anyone can claim to have the right stuff for self-righteousness," says Paul, "I can." Then he throws all his old credit cards on the table: Born a Hebrew, of the tribe of Benjamin, he was circumcised on the eighth day, according to law. He had the blue-blood privileges of which people say: "Either you have them or you don't."
The pride of ancestry, the imagined importance of the clan, the nation—all of it has done untold harm in our world. And all of it has been cancelled with one stroke by God's revelation of righteousness—in Christ alone.
"In regard to the law, a Pharisee," the strictest and the best, Paul continues. "As for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless."
The pride of moral earnestness and of orthodoxy are deep and strong. Many people intend to present this badge on the day when they appear before their Judge.
And Paul says, I know all about it. I had these credit cards, and I wore these badges myself. But I made this great discovery: all of it is rubbish.
Of course, we don't assign all the "virtues of the flesh" to the rubbish heap. We need them for the resume and the letter of recommendation. But they give us no standing before God.
When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss
and pour contempt on all my pride.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version
Be sure to read the "Preface" and the "Acknowledgments" by the author.