Text: Philippians 3:4-7
Paul could have confidence in the flesh if there was any to be had. Paul gives seven areas of confidence in the flesh.
Circumcised the eighth day
- Paul is a part of God’s covenant people.
- People will say they were baptized in the Catholic church as a baby. Now, that’s not the same thing as being a Jew, but the principle they’re operating on is the same. The confidence in the flesh has to do with their affiliation as a child.
- People will say they were members of the Baptist church since they were children. That’s their confidence in the flesh.
- Paul gets to the truth of the matter regarding circumcision in Romans 4:1-11
- Righteousness was imputed by belief
- Circumcision came after righteousness.
- Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
- Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Of the stock of Israel
- Paul’s heritage as an Israelite was a reason to have confidence in the flesh.
- People will say they’re proud to be an American (just like every other country will say of itself). God bless America!
- Some folks said to the Lord Jesus Christ, we be Abraham’s children.
- The fact that he was of the stock of Israel wasn’t reason to have confidence in the flesh, however was there an advantage to being an Israelite? Definitely!
- Romans 3:1-2 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? 2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
- Romans 9:1-5
- Paul gets the truth of his heritage in Galatians 3:26-29
Tribe of Benjamin
- Paul’s tribe was the tribe that stuck with Judah in the south and kept Jerusalem as the capital of Israel during the nation’s split.
- The first king of Israel wasn’t from Judah, he was from Benjamin.
Hebrew of the Hebrews
- His place among his people. His status. His wealth.
Touching the law, a Pharisee
- Paul’s education, the fact that he was a teacher of the law (wouldn’t you hate to be in Paul’s class!) Paul’s testimony is that he did all that the law said to do as he understood it. Paul’s testimony is he’s fully invested in obtaining righteousness, completely sold out for who he thought was God. It was how he made a living.
- Galatians 1:13-14 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
…concerning zeal, persecuting the church…
- Saul goes to the high priest and gets a warrant to bring in anyone trying to turn Israel to this strange god named Jesus Christ – Acts 22:3-5. See also Acts 8:1-4.
- Is Paul forgiven by God because he’s sincere in what he’s doing? No. In fact, people who say they are sincere in their belief system betray their own belief system on a regular basis.
- Paul was so zealous he did more than show up at synagogue on Saturday. It wasn’t enough for Paul to sit at the feet of Gamaliel and learn. It was Gamaliel that recommended the Jews back off the apostles in Acts 5:33-39. Paul considered that counsel, but, as good as it sounded, Paul went against his own mentor and buckled down on driving out what he thought was false doctrine.
touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless
- His righteousness according to the law was matchless. There wasn’t anyone else comparable to Paul’s application of the law and going above and beyond the law to make sure the law was carried out.
- Now, don’t you find that odd that the Holy Spirit would use Paul to write that he was a murderer and at the same time blameless.
- Deuteronomy 13:6-11. Saul is the driving force behind the persecution in what he thinks is obedience to Deuteronomy 13.
- 1 Timothy 1:12-15 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
He’s not a bum or getting saved out of the gutter. If you were at a dead end in your life then receiving Jesus Christ means you didn’t have anything to give up. Paul gave up everything literally.