Scripture: “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8)

Observation: Paul’s opponents were stressing the need for circumcision in order to be true Christians.  Paul reacts to this by speaking of his ‘pedigree’ – circumcised on the eighth day, Hebrew of Hebrews, a zealous Pharisee (v. 4-6).  He uses this to say that all of those things which he once counted to his credit, he now considers useless – a “loss” (v. 7) and “rubbish” (v. 8).  He sees that they are nothing when compared to the surpassing greatness of Christ and what he gains by knowing Christ and the power of the resurrection (v. 10)

Application: Circumcision epitomizes a work of the flesh – for it has only to do with the flesh.  However, we can easily replace that work of flesh in our lives with other works of the flesh.  Any deed that we do in and of ourselves and to our own credit can be considered a work of the flesh. And Paul reminds us that ultimately these works are of no use to us.  This in fact is a New Testament rendition of what Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes – “meaningless!” (That was last week’s reading!) Whether it is Paul or Solomon, the message rings true. All of the works of man perish and are useless toward ones salvation and ones eternity.  Nothing we can accomplish in the flesh can compare with the great work that Christ has done for us.  Nothing we can hope to attain compares with the promise of the resurrection that God has given us freely by grace through Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Lord, help me to understand all my works of the flesh properly in light of my salvation.  Fill me with such confidence in You, that I consider my works as valuable only as they are useful for Your Kingdom purposes. Amen.