Recovering Pharisee-Step 10

Notes from the book,
“12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (like me)”, by John Fischer

 Step 10:  We embrace the state of astonishment as a permanent and glorious reality.

     The only way to save a Pharisee is to break a Pharisee’s back with the burden of law.  There was, and is, hope for the Pharisee, and that hope comes in the form of failure.  Failure is the doorway to freedom.  It is realizing that the true demands of righteousness are beyond reach.  In other words, righteousness can only come via the Spirit of God and only to forgiven sinners who have claimed total spiritual bankruptcy. It is only the spiritually bankrupt, the sorrowful, the humble, and the unrighteous who get the blessing.   Jam 2:10; Gal 3:10; Matt 5:3-6

     That’s what the law was for in the first place, to show us up for who we really are.  I was the poor, sad sinner Jesus was talking about, and that could mean only one thing: I was blessed.  My loss was my gain.  This is when the surprise hits, and it is completely paradoxical to the way we have though and operated all or lives.  We give up and we get it.  We lose and we win.  Suddenly we realize that the Sermon on the Mount was all about us.  Matt 5;   Gal 3:24

     From childhood on, we have always earned our place in life.  We have learned that good performances are rewarded and poor performances are punished.  All false gospels are based on works because that’s what we’re after.  The gift of salvation is simply too preposterous for our imagination.  Even if you wanted to contribute to your righteousness, you couldn’t.  Anything more than this is arrogance.  Pharisees think they deserve their place in the spiritual hierarchy.  Recovering Pharisees can’t believe they even get a place at all.  For all practical purposes this shouldn’t be happening.  Treasures are never put in such common containers.    But their usefulness is not in their beauty, but in what they carry.  There is nothing in us that would indicate why God would choose us over any other vessel.  We can only be amazed as anyone.  Rom 9; 10:4; 2 Cor 4:7; 2 Tim 2:20-21;

     Astonishment comes from being surprised.  Unfortunately, those who are counting on their own righteousness are missing out on the surprise.  If anything, their surprise will come in not having their works accepted.  Our degree of astonishment is related to our personal knowledge of sin.  If I do not continue to face the sin in my life, I am not likely to be very impressed with my salvation.  Our worship is in the form of astonishment.  What could I possibly have done to deserve this?    Psa 8; Ezek 16:1-15; Eph 2:8-9; Matt 7:21-23


One thought on “Recovering Pharisee-Step 10

  1. In my own experience, it really does take a total brokenness to finally give up on our coping mechanisms and self-reliance. We cannot accomplish what God can, which is why salvation is a gift.

    Turning things over completely is an amazing way to live. And this never came easy to me until I faced the brink of total disaster.

    Can’t imagine it is too much different for any self-reliant thinking… like compliance to they law and performance-based salvation.

    Just glad I finally hit the bottom I did. Life is so much better since I stopped trying to do God’s work in my own life.



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