Many of us have had the arduous task of making a resume as we seek employment. Merriam-Webster defines a resume as a short account of one’s career and qualifications and a set of accomplishments. If you have made such a document, I would be willing to suggest that you only noted those things that shined a good light on you. Would anyone share their tardiness, previous work problems, or any other blemish that might threaten a possible job? How about those references? Of course, we would provide names of those who would speak positively of us.
As he writes to the church in Philippi, the apostle Paul does so to keep them safe (3:1). Safe from what? The following words are harsh and direct, “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!” (Philippians 3:2). Who are these people? It was the Judaizers! As one person said, they were “Jewish Christians who sought to induce Gentiles to observe Jewish religious customs: to ‘Judaize.'” To them, placing confidence in Christ was not adequate, or so they taught. The Greek word translated confidence, carries the idea of reliance upon. If there was any way to put confidence in self, Paul would be the one. He had the best of all resumes, a Judaizers dream list: circumcised on the eighth day, the stock of Israel, tribe of Benjamin, Hebrew of Hebrew, a Pharisee of the law, zealous to the point of persecuting the church… BLAMELESS! (Philippians 4-6). That last word is powerful, for it means free from fault or defect, irreproachable. The Judaizers would hang posters of Paul in their recruiting office. Combine Christ and this guy Paul and you have it made… or do you?
“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…”
It is important to remember that Paul is writing this to help the Philippian Christians stay safe. Safe from misplaced confidence. Listen to how the ETRV translates v7, “At one time, all these things were important to me. But because of Christ, I decided that they are worth nothing.” What he thought was “gain” (his advantage, as an asset), he now sees them as “loss” (a detriment). Why? Because any list that places reliance on self minimizes the cross of Christ, diminishes His work, and elevates ours. What he once held so dear, he now counts “them as rubbish,” that which is thrown to the dogs, i.e., refuse. Why would he throw away his resume with such a great list of accomplishments? Listen closely to what he goes on to say,
“…and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law,
but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith….”
Paul’s placement of his confidence has changed completely! He had come to realize that no list is adequate, worthy of the claim of righteousness. That only trust in Christ’s work on the cross could enable him to have such confidence. That the best place to be found is “in Him.” The law may have led him to Christ (Galatians 3:24), for which he could be thankful. But all credit for who he knew himself to be now rest in Christ and Him alone. His greatest desire now was simple, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11). His resume would now read, “Paul, dead to self and alive in Christ.” There can be no better resume one could write.