Confidence in the flesh
This passage amazes me each time I read it. Paul having every reason to put confidence in his fleshly works based on the law, is talking to the church, saying "hey guys, if anyone has or had any reasons put confidence in the flesh, it was me." Paul was zealous about persecuting the church, a pure Pharisee, probably obeyed the law to the T, but inside the man was dead.
The thing about putting confidence in your abilities, in your power, in your human works, in your religious activities, your "good" deeds, is that you set yourself up as God. And in this state you are in complete opposition with the one and only true God. You are in opposition with grace. And you are not in a place to receive mercy or forgiveness. When your confidence is in the flesh, you either live like you don't need grace and are blinded by your self-righteousness and spiritual ego and/or you live hypocritically, continually covering up your own sin in various ways, all while Christ has offered to be our true righteousness, and to save us from our continually failing selves. To bring us Himself, so that we do not have to keep spinning our fleshly wheels, which will never get us to God.
Christ is the game changer. The love, grace, and mercy found in Christ removes the focus on self, and the spotlight is on God and what He offered. His son Jesus Christ.
This is why Paul is a changed person. Found at the mercy and grace of God in Christ, Paul is now the biggest advocate of the very same movement he was persecuting. He has made a complete turn around and now considers "everything to be a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ, for whose sake he has lost everything". The same man that had all the reasons to put confidence in his flesh, self-sufficient, has now considered all the objects of those reasons to be garbage. He now considers Christ a gain.
Created 10 months ago