If you’ve ever tried to declutter your home, you know how hard it is! As you go through each item, trying to decide whether to keep it, give it away, or discard it, you realize how attached you are to physical belongings.
We like to hang on to what we value. But in today’s passage, the apostle Paul describes some things he used to consider important but now regarded worthless. These were not pictures or possessions but the confidence he once had in his religious heritage and his track record in keeping God’s Law.
Paul paints a before and after picture for us in these verses that reveals a sharp contrast. Before Christ, he put his confidence in what he calls “the flesh” (v. 3). Paul uses this word in several different ways in his writings. Here it stands for Paul’s efforts to be righteous apart from Jesus Christ. He calls this “a righteousness of my own that comes from the law.” Its opposite is “the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith” (v. 9).
This is what Paul means when he talks about having faith in Christ. Those who place their faith in Jesus depend not on their own righteousness, but the righteousness that comes from God. It can only be received as a gift; we cannot earn it. In this way, those who know Christ also know “the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings” (v. 10). The power of Christ’s resurrection granted by the Holy Spirit enables us to “put to death the misdeeds of the body” (Rom. 8:13). Paul does not say that Christians are perfect. Instead, they are being perfected through the Cross and the power of Christ’s resurrection.
>> What are you depending on for righteousness? Paul says that anything other than Christ is garbage. Let it go! Only Jesus can make you righteous. He alone can give you victory over sin.
We want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of His resurrection and to participate in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death (v. 10). There is no higher calling in life than to know, love, and serve You.