by Kevin Pauley
But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ - Philippians 3:7-8 HCSB
Back in the eighteenth century, Eton college had a Latin grammar class which listed a series of words that all meant “of little or no value.” Some smart-aleck student put the words together and added the suffix “-fication” to turn it into a noun. So floccinaucinihilipilification, which is the action or habit of judging something as worthless, was created.
Many people today want their good works, good morals, church attendance, or family background to be valued. When you ask them if they think they are going to heaven, their answer reveals their expectation to get there is based on their good works. They respond, “Oh, I don’t know, but I’ve been a pretty good person.”
Another answers, “My uncle was a deacon for twenty years” as though his uncle’s religiosity could be genetically inherited.
“I’ve been a Sunday School teacher for thirty years. I’ve attended the First Church of Any Town for forty years” is still another type of answer that is commonly heard.
If anybody could look at his own efforts with some degree of satisfaction, you’d think that the author of some two-thirds of the New Testament, the healer of diseases who even raised people from the dead could feel pretty good about himself. However Paul identified himself as a “floccinaucinihilipilificator.” His family ties were meaningless. His position within his religion was so much tripe. His works were also deemed worthless. Compared to Christ, it was all nothing more than a pile of garbage.
No matter how much you work, you could never outperform the Messiah. Regardless of your family history, it could never beat the Son of God. No matter how good you are, you will never be better than the Perfect Sacrifice. Apparently, God the Father thought that Jesus Christ was the only sacrifice worthy enough to pay the price of our sins. Trying to replace the Master’s death and resurrection with our own good works, position or family associations can never be anything more than a slap in the face of God.
We need to quit trying to pay God in a currency He doesn’t accept. We need to accept the consequences of our own willful sin and be willing to admit that we cannot make up for it on our own. We need the “only Mediator between God and Man” to take us as His clients and be our Advocate. If we keep trying to represent ourselves, we are going to lose the most important case in our lives – the fate of our souls. Let’s all “floccinaucinihilipilificate” our own works.
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Kevin Pauley is a pastor and writer. He lives in Illinois with his wife, Lynn, their five children and two dogs. His internet address is Berea.
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