A Christian missionary who once persecuted the church More ranks everything in his life, both successes and failures, as inferior to “the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus is the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection are God's saving act for humanity More my Lord” (3:8).
In this text, Paul is concerned with the foundational issue of where people put their confidence or faith; on what values do they base their lives?
Paul first instructs the Philippians to beware of those who place their confidence “in the flesh,” that is, in physical pedigrees and practices divorced from spiritual matters. Paul views human life in holistic (not dualistic) terms, integrating physical, psychological, and spiritual elements. As in other letters (especially Galatians), Paul is particularly concerned that some teachers overemphasize the importance of Circumcision is an act of cutting off part of a male (or female) sex organ for religious or health reasons. In the Bible circumcision was performed on males to indicate inclusion into the Jewish religious community. Some church calendars commemorate January 1 as the Circumcision... More, to the point of trying to impose this Jewish ritual on A gentile is anyone who is not Jewish. The term, which is derived from words that the Bible uses to denote the "nations" of the world, reflects beliefs that God had designated Israel as a nation that would be distinct from others, and a blessing... More believers. Though he affirms this ancient practice for Jews as a sign of God’s A covenant is a promise or agreement. In the Bible the promises made between God and God's people are known as covenants; they state or imply a relationship of commitment and obedience. More with Abraham’s descendants (see Genesis 17)—noting that he himself had been “circumcised on the eighth day” (3:5)—he strongly resists making this practice a requirement for Gentiles’ Salvation can mean saved from something (deliverance) or for something (redemption). Paul preached that salvation comes through the death of Christ on the cross which redeemed sinners from death and for a grace-filled life. More. He even resorts to crude, sarcastic denunciation of those who insist on circumcising Gentiles, calling them wild “dogs . . . who mutilate the flesh!” (3:2).
But Paul also engages in self-criticism. He knows well what it means “to be confident in the flesh” from his own experiences not only of circumcision but also membership in “the people of Israel,” A righteous person is one who is ethical and faithful to God's covenant. Righteousness in the Old Testament is an attitude of God; in the New Testament it is a gift of God through grace. In the New Testament righteousness is a relationship with God... More obedience to the law as a The Pharisees were a Jewish group that rigorously applied the Jewish law to matters of everyday life. The Gospels describe Pharisees frequently engaged in disputes with Jesus, and Jesus sometimes criticizes their hypocrisy or rigidity of their interpretations of the law. More, and zealous opposition to “the church” of Jesus Christ (3:4‒6)—all good things done in good faith, except for persecuting the church. But good or bad, all these things Paul now considers “loss,” “rubbish” even, compared to “the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (3:7‒8). All claims to self-righteousness crumble in the face of the higher righteousness “that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness of God based on faith” (3:9). Such righteousness generates from the faith/faithfulness of Christ in his life, death, and resurrection.
Even after believing in Christ and faithfully preaching the gospel of Christ, Paul makes no pretense of perfection. He confesses that he still has a long way to go to fulfill Christ’s purpose for his life. Imagining himself running a long-distance race, Paul strains to set aside his checkered past and “press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus” (3:12‒14). He also urges the Philippian believers to have this same mindset as they run their own life-race, persistently moving forward, making progress, even as we “hold fast to what we have attained” (3:16).