my reputation is crap

Posted in: theological rants, theological raves- Mar 28, 2015 No Comments

A couple of things coalesced in my brain today.

In Philippians 3:8, Paul writes:

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

In the verses right before this, Paul listed his religious bona fides, and it’s quite the impressive list. Had there been a “Holiest Man Alive” game show on Channel IV back then, all of the other contestants would have dropped out when Paul entered. And then Claudius, the network manager, would have been scrambling to fill that time slot, and have I beaten the metaphor into the ground yet?

The word “dung” there comes from the Greek word skubala. There are arguments about how strong the word is in the original Greek. But many agree that the KJV is a bit bowdlerized, and that (at least, in today’s vernacular) the word would be more accurately translated as “crap” (or maybe even something stronger). Regardless, the word refers to fecal waste of some kind, so we’ll stick with “crap”.

Paul is noting that all his religious bona fides are crap. They are worthless. If he leans on them for his standing with God, he’s in deep … well … skubala.

Note that none of this stuff is bad. In fact, in and of themselves, most of the items are good (with a few being relatively neutral in the grand scheme). But when they become as (or more) important than what Christ did for us, now we have a problem.

I’ve heard multiple pastors called to task for taking stances and/or actions that could be injurious to their “credibility” or “reputation”. Never mind that what they were doing was what they believed God was directing them to do — their reputations were at stake, for God’s sake.

Reputations — i.e. what other people (ya know, not God) think of us — go right up there with Paul’s bona fides. They’re not bad — but their position next to Christ’s work for us makes them skubala-tastic. And if we rely on them ….

This is actually quite freeing. To know that Jesus’ opinion is the only one that truly matters allows us to pursue His directions without worrying about the nay-sayers.

The Bible is clear. My reputation — and yours — is utter crap.

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