If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 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. Philippians 3:4-9
This week we are circling back to a passage that is located in one of Paul’s prison epistles. The Apostle Paul gives a testament in the humility that he now understands as he has fully submitted to being a servant of Christ. As we study the selected verses, I believe that the wording that he uses is worth noting.
If you were to isolate verse 4, it would immediately appear that Paul is being pompous and arrogant about his previous position in the hierarchy of the Hebrew faith. As we know from the book of Acts, Paul was one of the most educated and feared leaders of the Jewish faith. He persecuted Christians and was a self-admitted member of the Sanhedrin, their highest council. It is reminiscent of the way that we introduce guest pastors in church currently.
The true lesson of this selection is the way that he follows up this statement. Paul writes that all of the earthly accolades and adherence to tradition means very little when weighed against the purpose and message of Jesus. He reinforces the idea that any personal gain is counted as loss in the task of spreading the Gospel. A scene we see played over and over in modern evangelical culture.
When you serve, or evangelize, are you certain that the condition of your heart is correct? Are you giving glory to the one in which it is due? Is the boasting that you do center around what Christ has done for you?
Have a great week!