For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3).
The Apostle Paul used the Scripture above to chide religious Jews who criticized the Gentiles and considered them unserious Christians because they weren't obeying the law. As far as those religious Jews were concerned, if you don't pray seven times a day, or turn towards Jerusalem when you prayed, and performed all ceremonial washings as stipulated in the Law, then you were not a Christian. They believed in the gospel of performance--trying to impress God with their good works.
But that doesn't work. Paul said there's no use having confidence in your so-called good works, for that's not Christianity. As Christians, we don't rely on our own works of righteousness to answer for us before God. Paul revealed how worthless it is for anyone to boast in such pharisaic conducts as observing the rudiments of the law: "...If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 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."(Philippians 3:4-6)
Paul displayed his credentials as far as obeying the Law was concerned. There was no jot of the law he didn't fulfil as a Jew, yet he said: "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Philippians 3:8-9).
This is the summary of the gospel: to be found in Christ, not having your own righteousness, but embracing God's righteousness which is through the faith of Christ. Don't try to impress God with your religious performances--don't try to please Him by obeying the Law. The Law and its ordinances were abolished through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:15). Therefore put away religion, and be a Christian!
I embrace the righteousness which is through the faith of Christ, for I am of the true circumcision which worship God in the Spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh.
Rhapsody of Realities November 12, 2007
-Pastor Chris Oyakhilome