PHILIPPIANS 3- CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH (blameless law keeping)

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VS THE LIFE VS THE LIFE OF FAITH…

Edward O’Hara Fri 7/31/2020 1:06 PM…

Paul begins this chapter by showing this contrast by reminding the Philippians to “beware of dogs”. He then defines who these are saying they are “evil workers” who are “the concision”. Contrasting these who he says are “in the flesh” with those of us who have believed in Jesus apart from the works of the law. Teaching that we are the true circumcision. Because we have not been circumcised by the hand of man. But, our circumcision comes of a belief in Jesus apart from the works of the law. We have a circumcision that is of the heart performed by the Holy Spirit. And this circumcision is by the “faith of Christ”. The result being that we are the true circumcision because unlike those who were circumcised in their flesh, we are now able to worship God in spirit and in truth. Something Jesus said in John4:24 must be in order to truly worship God at all. Whereas the concision could not because Paul says their confidence is “in the flesh”. So this is Paul’s meaning here when he speaks of one being in the flesh. They who are in the flesh are those who trust in works for righteousness. And not just any works. But, specifically the works of the law. 

Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the ...

So Paul says here that the concision are the dogs that those who have believed in Jesus are to “beware of”. Why? Because they literally have their confidence in the fact that they have been circumcised in their flesh by the cutting off of the foreskin. Works that they have done. They do not consider righteousness to be by “the faith of Christ” without works. To them that notion is anathema. And these would have us believe as they do. To make us as reprobate as they are. 

Paul then uses his life as a Pharisee as an example to make it very clear just what he means by “confidence in the flesh”. He even describes himself as one who could have more confidence in his flesh than others if he was still so disposed by saying “I more” in vs.4. His proof of this claim is that he was “circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless”. These statements are all defining who he was as a man who trusted “in the flesh” to show that those who have confidence in the flesh, those who are in the flesh, are those whose trust is in the keeping of the law and circumcision of Abraham. The two parts that make up the Old Covenant. A keeping of the law that Paul says he performed “blamelessly”. 

In vs.6 Paul claims that “touching the righteousness that is in the law, blameless”. Meaning that as far as the keeping of the law goes he had done so blamelessly. Because any righteousness that comes through the law is through it’s being kept. Paul expresses this in Gal.3 where he contrasts once again what it is to be “in the flesh” with what it is to be “in the spirit” saying, “And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them”. The righteousness of faith is believing apart from works, while to be in the flesh is to be righteous by works. So for Paul to be blameless touching the righteousness that is in the law means that he had to have kept all of it. And kept it so completely that He could be confident if someone tried to point to any part of the law and accuse him of violating it, that he could confidently say he had always kept it blamelessly. 

But, in keeping with Paul’s purpose in contrasting the righteousness of faith with the righteousness of works in vs.7 Paul explains that a righteousness that is of works is not a righteousness unto eternal life. Because in vs.7 Paul says any of the things he gained through blameless law keeping he now considered loss for Christ. He said this because he knew the righteousness that comes through confidence in the flesh is a righteousness that is of works. 

minor pauline epistles scripture pictures

Paul wasn’t saying the law is bad as Gal.3:21 attests saying “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” Paul wrote this to show that it was never God’s purpose in giving the law that it should give life. But, that it’s only purpose was to keep Israel as a people for a bloodline the Messiah would come through. We see this in Gal.3:19 where Paul says “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” 

So we see here the end of the need for the law came when “the seed should come to whom the promise was made”. The seed to whom the promise was made is Jesus. Paul adds in Gal.3:22 that when Jesus came all were concluded under sin. This was not an indictment against them because they broke God’s laws. To the contrary, these were law keepers. Not law breakers. Paul said these trusted in the flesh specifically because these trusted in the law, and kept it. The sin Paul is speaking of in Gal.3:22 is the same sin Jesus was speaking of in John16:9. The sin of not believing in Jesus. Not knowing Him. Making this abundantly clear by saying that the purpose of all being concluded under this sin was so that “the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe”. So that the promise was not to those who claimed deservedness by the works of the flesh. What promise? The promise of eternal life. So eternal life comes only by faith. The faith of Christ. And not by any confidence in the flesh. 

I want to emphasize the fact that Paul is not referring here in this passage to all being made law breakers when Jesus came. And that this is why all men need Jesus. That would go against everything he taught in all of his epistles regarding righteousness. Because he then would be making eternal life dependent upon the flesh. Dependent upon someone’s ability to keep the law. To the contrary, Paul was referring to the fact that the world does not know Jesus to believe in Him. This is confirmed by Jesus’ stated purpose in sending the Holy Spirit. To make men aware of the sin of the world by reproving it of that sin as John16:9 plainly says. The sin of “They believe not on me”. And in John 17:3 Jesus made it abundantly clear that only by faith in Him, that is to know Him, can anyone have eternal life. 

John 17:3 – Verse Images

Paul is not saying that the keeping of the law is bad. He is saying that the keeping of the law has no part in how men receive eternal life. Because the best the law can do is make one a moral person. It can not give life. Because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. It only serves as a preservative until faith comes. Well, faith has come. And His name is Jesus. That’s right. And since faith has come there is no more need for Israel to be under the law. 

In vs.8 Paul continues saying that he counts all that he had gained through blamelessly keeping the law as loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ. And that it is for this excellency he suffered the loss of all things. Counting them as dung that he may win Christ. It doesn’t get any more plain than that. Paul is making it clear that knowing Christ and law keeping are mutually exclusive. One has nothing to do I with the other. Because one is works and confidence in the flesh. And the other is faith and confidence in Jesus and our relationship by faith with Him. We who have believed are not led by the law. But, by the Holy Spirit who has shed God’s love, our guiding principle, abroad in our hearts. 

After coming to faith in Jesus Paul realized that it is that relationship that is righteousness. Because the righteousness of works that comes by the law can not give eternal life. But, the righteousness that is knowing Jesus is eternal life. This is why Paul said we must know Him so that we can know the power of His resurrection. The only power that gives eternal life to those who Heb.2:14 says “were all their lifetimes in the fear of death”. This is why Jesus is the only way, truth, and life. Because no one else has ever conquered death. And apart from a personal relationship with Him no one else ever will. 

Skipping down to vs.17 we see Paul exhorting them to follow after him as he follows after Christ. Saying that there are many who do not, and because they do not their end is destruction. Not because they are bad or have broken God’s laws. To the contrary, these all kept the law. Their destruction comes because they continue in a belief that they are righteous because they have kept the law. That if they will live by the moral code the law gave Israel they will have eternal life. But, what Paul is teaching them here is that nothing could be further from the truth. Let me give you an example.

Have you ever spoken with someone about Jesus who told you that they believe they will go to heaven because they are a good person? Without knowing it they are saying they are good enough for God to accept them because they have kept God’s laws. Where do you think they got the idea that being a good person gets you to heaven? I’ll tell you where. From the pulpits of the Roman Catholic and protestant religions. That’s where. These teach a salvation that is by faith in the works of the law making them “good enough” for God to accept them. So naturally, and I do mean naturally, it is because people have heard and believed their message that they have come to the same false conclusions. That it is by being good that God will accept them. How sad that they got this false teaching right from the pulpits that should be telling them the truth. But, they do not teach the truth because they have believed the lie. 

What Paul is actually talking about here is the same thing he has been talking about in this whole chapter. And in all of his epistles. He is teaching the difference between those who try to achieve a righteousness that is by faith in the works of the law. Whether done by themselves or by someone else. And those whose righteousness comes solely from their relationship with Jesus. A righteousness that is by the faith of Christ. A faith that causes us to say to Jesus what He said to the Father, “Nevertheless not my will but thine be done”. Only when we believe in Jesus as He believed the Father are we righteous. Not in His works of the law. And not in our own works of the law. But, in Him. In Jesus Himself as our savior and Lord. And His resurrection. 

A piece of my Heart lives in Heaven ♥ it will always be ...

For as vs.20,21 in this 3rd chapter of Philippians says our lives are in heaven; “from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ”. A savior who saves from death to life by having first conquered death by His resurrection. And then delivering all who will trust in Him and the power of that resurrection. Knowing that He “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Which He is able to do by His power as God because of His resurrection. 

Will you believe in Jesus and His resurrection? Will you believe He has raised from the dead to conquer death for you so that you can pass through the wall of death as Jesus did into eternal life with Him? Will you turn from trusting in the flesh to faith in Jesus as Lord? If you will then you too will have eternal life. Pray this prayer if you want Jesus to save you from the power of death. Dear Jesus, thank you for joining with me in my death so that I could join with you in your life. Thank you for conquering death for me by your resurrection. I trust in you now as Lord of my life and your resurrection. Thank you for giving me your eternal life. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

God bless you in your new life in Christ. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you as you begin to read the Bible and believe what it plainly says. He will. And you will know the truth and you will be set free. 

See you there or in the air!!

This message can also be heard at: Click

PHILIPPIANS3- CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH(blameless law keeping) VS THE LIFE OF FAITHIn chapter 3 of Philippians Paul makes the case for the righteousness that leads to eternal life. He lays out the case that the concision, those whose confid…m.youtube.com

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