"Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more" (Phillipians 3:4).
In our text Paul introduces his background and religious credentials into a discussion of having confidence in earthly accomplishments. He proceeds to list four areas that had brought him self-confidence as a proud Pharisee.
- "Circumcised the eighth day" (v.5) recounts his pride in ritual.
- ". . . of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews" (v.5). Here Paul presents his pride in relationships.
- ". . . as touching the law, a Pharisee" (v.5). Paul took pride in his rearing.
- "Concerning zeal, persecuting the church" (v.6). Paul was proud of his religious activity.
- ". . . touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless" (v.6). Lastly, Paul was proud of his reputation.
After reviewing this pedigree and accomplishments Paul concludes, "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ" (v.7). There was a day on the road to Damascus when Paul discovered that his zeal and religious activity were worthless towards meriting salvation before God (Acts 9).
Paul came to find that by giving up his pride and humbling himself before the Savior, Jesus Christ, he was able to live anew. "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" (Philippians 3:8). Paul went on to urge others to the same attitude "That no flesh should glory in His presence" (I Corinthians 1:29). DW