Exploring the Transformative Power of putting No Confidence in the Flesh

In Philippians 3:3, the apostle Paul urges believers to reject any reliance on themselves, their religious practices, or anything intrinsic to who they are. He explains that everything we have is temporary and will eventually cease to be what drives us and that the only way to truly trust in Christ is to have total faith in Him alone.

In this post, we’ll explore the meaning and significance of Paul’s words, and how they apply to our lives as Christians. We’ll tackle passages where Paul lists his physical advantages and how he ultimately counts them as a loss compared to knowing Christ. We’ll also discuss how the Christian faith goes beyond just believing the right doctrines and living an orderly, clean life, and how it requires a complete surrender of ourselves to find our true identity in Christ.

Additionally, we’ll examine God’s original plan for man, and how it involves being free of concern with self and focusing entirely on God. We’ll talk about the gospel’s effect on a person and how it ought to lead us to embody God’s grace, putting our trust and confidence in Him alone.

By the end of this post, we hope you’ll have a deeper understanding of the importance of putting no confidence in the flesh, and how doing so can bring us closer to God and help us live a life that is truly centered on Him. So, let’s begin!

The Importance of Putting No Confidence in the Flesh

Philippians 3:3 states,

“For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”

In this verse, the Apostle Paul is addressing a group of Christians who have been influenced by a group of Jewish teachers who insisted that in order to be a true follower of God, one must obey Jewish laws and traditions, such as circumcision. However, Paul argues that these external practices do not guarantee salvation and that true righteousness comes only through faith in Christ.

To understand why Christians must put no confidence in the flesh, we need to look at the context of this passage. In the previous verses, Paul recounts his own credentials as a Pharisee, stating that he was circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the tribe of Benjamin, and a zealous persecutor of the church.

He then goes on to say that he counted all of these things as loss for the sake of Christ and that he now considers them rubbish in comparison to knowing Christ (Philippians 3:7-8). In other words, Paul is saying that even his impressive religious resume is worthless when compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ.

[blockquote align=”right” author=”The solution, according to Paul, is to have faith in Christ alone”][/blockquote]

Furthermore, Paul warns against those who would put their confidence in the flesh, which he defines as anything that is external to us and that we rely on for our righteousness. This could include our ancestry, education, moral character, religious practices, or any other aspect of ourselves that we might be tempted to rely on for our salvation. The problem with this is that all of these things are temporary and will eventually pass away, leaving us with nothing to stand on.

The solution, according to Paul, is to have faith in Christ alone. This means putting aside all of our own efforts to earn righteousness and instead relying solely on the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. This is not a one-time decision, but an ongoing process of trusting in Christ and submitting to His lordship in our lives.

The importance of putting no confidence in the flesh cannot be overstated. When we rely on external factors for our righteousness, we are essentially saying that we do not need Christ. We are putting our trust in something that will ultimately fail us. On the other hand, when we put our faith in Christ alone, we are acknowledging our own weakness and our need for a Savior. We are trusting in something that is eternal and that can never be taken away from us.

This is not to say that we should neglect our own spiritual growth or that external practices are inherently bad. Rather, the point is that these things should not be the basis of our confidence before God. Instead, our confidence should be in Christ alone. When we do this, we will experience the joy and freedom that comes from knowing that our salvation is secure in Him. We will no longer be burdened by the weight of trying to earn our own righteousness but will be free to live in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The importance of putting no confidence in the flesh is a central theme in the Bible. It reminds us that our own efforts are ultimately futile and that true righteousness comes only through faith in Christ. When we put our trust in Christ alone, we can experience the joy and freedom that comes from knowing that our salvation is secure in Him. May we all strive to put no confidence in the flesh, but to rely solely on the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

The Physical Advantages of Paul and His Stunning Declaration

“Although I myself could have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, from the people of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews. I lived according to the law as a Pharisee. In my zeal for God, I persecuted the church. According to the righteousness stipulated in the law, I was blameless.”  (Philippians 3:4-6)

In Philippians 3:4-6, Paul describes his impressive physical and religious credentials. He was circumcised on the eighth day, which was in accordance with Jewish law and was from the tribe of Benjamin, which was one of the two tribes that remained faithful to Judah. Paul was also a Hebrew of Hebrews, which meant he was raised in a Jewish household and had a deep understanding of Jewish customs and traditions. He was a Pharisee, a member of a highly respected and influential religious group known for their strict adherence to the Law of Moses.

Despite Paul’s impressive credentials, he comes to the conclusion that they are worthless compared to knowing Christ. In verse 7, he states that he considers everything he once valued as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus his Lord. Paul’s shift in focus from his physical advantages to his relationship with Christ shows the importance of prioritizing spiritual over physical advantages.

[blockquote align=”right” author=”The only way to find true satisfaction is through a relationship with Christ.”][/blockquote]

Paul’s declaration challenges us to evaluate our own priorities. We can be easily caught up in the materialistic and worldly aspects of life and forget about the spiritual realm. It’s easy to place our confidence in our accomplishments, abilities, and possessions, but ultimately, these things are temporary and cannot provide lasting fulfilment. The only way to find true satisfaction is through a relationship with Christ.

Paul’s message also highlights the danger of relying solely on our own abilities and strengths. We may have impressive credentials and accomplishments, but we are still human and fallible. It’s essential to recognize that we cannot rely solely on ourselves and must put our trust in God.

As Psalm 118:8-9 says,

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.”

In conclusion, Paul’s stunning declaration in Philippians 3:7 challenges us to prioritize our relationship with Christ over worldly achievements. We must recognize that our physical advantages are temporary and ultimately meaningless compared to knowing Christ. We must also be careful not to rely solely on our own abilities and strengths but instead, put our trust in God. As we continue to grow in our relationship with Christ, we will experience true satisfaction and fulfilment.

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The Christian Faith that Goes Beyond Believing and Living Righteously

More than that, I now regard all things as liabilities compared to the far greater value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things—indeed, I regard them as dung!—that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not because I have my own righteousness derived from the law, but because I have the righteousness that comes by way of Christ’s faithfulness—a righteousness from God that is in fact based on Christ’s faithfulness. (Philippians 3:8-9)

In Philippians 3:8-9, Paul explains that he counts everything as loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ. He is willing to give up everything he has ever known or accomplished to have a deeper connection with Jesus. Paul’s message is that true Christian faith goes beyond just believing and living righteously; it is about having a personal relationship with God that transforms every aspect of your life.

Paul’s teaching is radical, as he is saying that to truly know Christ, we have to lose our sense of self and everything that gives us confidence in our religious beliefs. This means that we have to be willing to give up everything that we have relied on to feel good about ourselves and our relationship with God. Paul’s point is that true faith is not about our own abilities, but it is about relying on Christ alone.

[blockquote align=”right” author=”To truly know Christ, we must humble ourselves before Him and recognize that we are nothing without Him.”][/blockquote]

Paul’s message is consistent with what Jesus taught in the Gospels. Jesus told his disciples that they must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow him (Matthew 16:24). In other words, we must be willing to let go of our own desires and plans and follow Jesus wherever he leads us. This requires a deep level of faith and trust in God.

Furthermore, Paul’s teaching emphasizes the importance of humility. To truly know Christ, we must humble ourselves before Him and recognize that we are nothing without Him. This means that we must be willing to admit our weaknesses and failures and ask for God’s help. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul writes that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. This means that when we are weak, we are actually stronger because we are relying on God’s strength.

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Paul’s message in Philippians 3 is that true Christian faith goes beyond just believing and living righteously. It is about having a personal relationship with God that transforms every aspect of your life. This requires us to let go of our own desires and plans and follow Jesus wherever he leads us. We must be willing to humble ourselves before God and recognize that we are nothing without him. When we do this, we will experience the true power and transformational effects of a life lived in Christ.

God’s Original Plan for Man

In Philippians 3:7-8, Paul speaks about his previous identity and the advantages he had in the flesh. However, he declares that he has willingly given up everything to gain Christ. This is because he believes that he has found the true purpose of his existence and that his life should be fully dedicated to serving God. Paul’s message in this passage is that we should all strive to attain this level of devotion and commitment to Christ.

In the beginning, when God created Adam and Eve, His original plan for man was to have a close relationship with Him. They were created to live in perfect harmony with God, to enjoy His presence, and to worship Him. However, sin entered the world through Adam’s disobedience, and humanity’s relationship with God was severed. This sin created a separation between humanity and God that could not be bridged by man’s efforts alone.

[blockquote align=”left” author=”As Christians, we have been redeemed by Christ and have access to a restored relationship with God. Our lives should be dedicated to serving God and fulfilling His purposes, just as Paul’s life was.”][/blockquote]

God’s original plan for man was to live a life fully devoted to Him, free of the distractions and temptations that sin brings. In Genesis 1:26-27, God created man in His image and likeness, intending for him to live in perfect fellowship with Him. However, sin disrupted this plan, and humanity was left with a sense of emptiness and a longing to be reconciled with God.

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.” God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)

Through Christ’s death and resurrection, humanity was given the opportunity to once again be reconciled with God. As Christians, we have been redeemed by Christ and have access to a restored relationship with God. Our lives should be dedicated to serving God and fulfilling His purposes, just as Paul’s life was.

“and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:9-11)

In Philippians 3:9-11, Paul speaks about his desire to be found in Christ, not having a righteousness of his own, but one that comes through faith in Christ. He states that he wants to know Christ and the power of His resurrection, share in His sufferings and become like Him in His death.

To truly experience God’s original plan for man, we must strive to have a close relationship with Him, one that is not hindered by sin or self-centeredness. We must be willing to lay down our own desires and fully devote ourselves to serving God. This is what it means to be a true Christian, one who has given up everything to gain Christ.

Paul’s message in Philippians 3 is a call to Christians to fully devote themselves to God and to lay aside all distractions and self-centeredness. We must strive to live a life that is fully focused on Christ and His purposes, putting aside all of our own ambitions and desires. By doing so, we can experience God’s original plan for man and enjoy a close relationship with Him.

The Gospel’s Effect on a Person

The Gospel of Christ has the power to transform a person completely. It takes us from a place of hopelessness and despair to a place of hope and joy.

As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17,

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

This new creation is one that is no longer focused on self but on Christ.

The gospel’s effect on a person is to bring about a sense of weakness, a realization that we are hopeless without Christ.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul writes,

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

This weakness allows us to fully rely on God’s grace and power.

As we continue to walk in the gospel, we should live as epistles of grace, weak in ourselves but strong in Christ. We should embody God’s grace, putting our trust and confidence in Him rather than in our own righteousness. This means that we no longer seek to prove ourselves or rely on our own abilities, but instead, we submit ourselves to God and trust in His plan for our lives.

The gospel transforms our perspective on life. We no longer live for ourselves but for Christ.

Galatians 2:20 says,

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

This means that our desires, ambitions, and goals are all aligned with God’s will for our lives. The gospel also transforms our relationships with others. We are no longer self-centred but other-centred.

[blockquote align=”right” author=”As we continue to walk in the gospel, we should live as epistles of grace, weak in ourselves but strong in Christ.”][/blockquote]

Philippians 2:3-4 says,

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.”

We seek to love and serve others as Christ did. The gospel’s effect on a person is to transform them completely. It brings about a sense of weakness and humility that allows us to rely fully on God’s grace and power. We live as epistles of grace, embodying God’s grace and trusting in Him rather than our own righteousness. Our desires, ambitions, and goals are aligned with God’s will for our lives, and we seek to love and serve others as Christ did.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the book of Philippians is a beautiful letter that teaches us to prioritize our relationship with God above everything else. The themes of joy, humility, and contentment are woven throughout the letter, and we are encouraged to put our trust in Christ alone and not in ourselves or anything else. As we live our lives, we should strive to be epistles of grace, embodying God’s love and putting our faith in Him rather than in our own abilities. By doing so, we can experience true freedom and find our true identity in Christ. Let us take to heart the lessons from this letter and strive to live a life that brings glory to God.

Let Us Pray

Loving Father,

Thank you for the insight provided in this post, reminding us of the importance of putting no confidence in the flesh and relying solely on Christ. Help us to let go of our pride and self-reliance and instead, place our trust in you. May we not only believe the right doctrines and live righteously but also develop a deeper connection with you that transforms us from the inside out.

We pray that you will help us to experience weakness and complete confidence in you while feeling no sense of personal righteousness. Help us to embody your grace and put our trust and confidence in you alone. We ask for your help in living out your original plan for us by focusing entirely on you and giving you all the praise and glory. May we become more complete in your eyes, standing tall in your sight.

Thank you for your grace and salvation through Christ. May we continue to live as epistles of grace, weak in ourselves but strong in Christ. Help us to be a reflection of your love and grace to those around us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Blessings,

Godwin.

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Godwin Shon Sequeira
Godwin Shon Sequeira
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Blessings to you.