Reading: Philippians 3:2-12
Rock the Resume
The issue Paul is addressing here is remaining confusion about whether new Gentile converts to Christianity need to be circumcised, the outward, visible mark of the original covenant between Abraham and God. Paul’s play on words here is “confidence in the flesh,” (because… get it?) and then he proceeds to name-drop his entire Jewish lineage CV. He was circumcised right on time, born into one of the two tribes descending from Rachel, the preferred wife of Israel, knows the law like a Pharisee, first in line to persecute the early church, and even had time to achieve righteousness under the law. (If you’re not following all of that or if you’re new—the theory we’re operating under as Christians is that Jesus came because it’s impossible to achieve righteousness under the law. Nobody likes a show-off, Paul.)
He fails to mention here that he was also a Roman citizen; he does elsewhere. Voted Most Likely to be Content in all Circumstances by the 3rd shift guards gets left out as well. The point of all of it is this: none of it matters, no matter how good you are. If it came down to what you do, Paul would appear to have it licked. But Paul sets it all aside—even calls it rubbish—for the joy of knowing Christ Jesus as Lord. He wants nothing to do with anything he could achieve on his own, preferring to chase deeper and farther into the knowledge of Christ. He goes so far as to say that he would follow as closely as experiencing Jesus’ death if he could also experience the resurrection!
What do you rely on for confidence in faith? Is it easier to rely on God, or yourself?
Which are you more inclined to do? Why?
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