Count Them as Rubbish
The apostle Paul, after exhorting Christians to "have no confidence in the flesh" (Phil. 3:3), further explained himself in 3:4-6 - "Though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless." Some have thought of these verses as Paul's resume, so to speak. Of course, his purpose in talking about himself was not self-serving but to answer a possible quibble that the Judaizers would have made. The Judaizers were confident in themselves because they were physically circumcised and closely followed the law. They might object to Paul's words in this context by claiming that the reason why Paul had no confidence in the flesh was because he had no physical advantage that would allow him to have confidence. Such a notion was far from true! Paul proved, without a shadow of a doubt, that if anyone could have confidence in his own salvation based upon physical matters (the Law of Moses), it would be Paul. The credentials he listed here were impressive, and very few Jews could compare to Paul in these terms.

However, Paul goes on to admit in Philippians 3:7,8 that none of those things would save him under the New Testament--and that's why he didn't have confidence in the flesh! "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ." Paul wanted these Christians to know that he had it all as a Jew, but none of those things would get him to heaven! His fleshly honors and ancestry wouldn't save him. His education wouldn't save him. His position as a Pharisee wouldn't save him. His dedication to keeping the Old Testament law wouldn't save him! Paul's point was that since these things couldn't save him, they couldn't save anyone! Thus, it was foolish for Judaizers to have confidence in their salvation on the basis of physical circumcision (or any other physical matter of the Old Law)! It was wrong for them to require others to be circumcised as a religious act since the New Testament did not require such.

Paul had come to understand that he had been wrong when he was living as a Jew and persecuting the church. In the past, he too had great confidence in the flesh, but not any longer. Those physical things that were once important to him no longer mattered. He came to realize that he couldn't cling to the Old Testament anymore as a way of salvation and be true to Jesus at the same time (cf. Gal. 5:3,4). So, he made the right choice. He chose Christ and, consequently, started viewing everything else as worthless in comparison. The things he once considered to be profitable or advantageous for him, he now calls "rubbish"; they were like garbage or refuse to him now.

Friends, what about you? Do you have the kind of clear, spiritual perception that Paul demonstrates here? Paul wasn't about to cling to anything other than his relationship to Jesus Christ. He gave up everything to gain Christ. Are you willing to give up everything for the Lord, or will you cling, like the world does, to the most trivial of things at the expense of gaining Christ and salvation through Him? Jesus Himself once declared - "Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:28). Also, "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matt. 16:26). There is nothing more important than a proper relationship with the Lord. Don't let anything hinder you from developing such. Everything else is rubbish--but, do you believe it? And, are you living like you believe it?