Philippians 3: 1-11
V 1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.
Paul implored the Philippians Christians (and us) to rejoice in Christ. Repetition was not tedious for Paul but necessary for their (and our) benefit.
V 2, Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!
Paul addressed the Judaisers as dogs, evildoers, and mutilators. Greek for dog is “kuon”, which means a mongrel dog, and not a pet dog. Judaisers were Jews who insisted that Gentiles Christians undergo circumcision as a prerequisite to salvation. They insisted that salvation is faith in Christ plus circumcision, ritual observances, temple sacrifices, religiosity, legalism, and law-keeping.
VV 3-4, 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so:
Christians worship God in the Spirit and rejoice in Christ. A true Jew is a person whose heart is transformed spiritually by the Holy Spirit to conform with the will of God. True circumcision is spiritual, not physical, an inward attitude of the heart, not outward mutilation of the flesh. True circumcision is a spiritual heart transplant. Romans 2:28-29, NLT, “For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people”.
VV 5- 7, 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
Paul was a Jew, a Benjaminite, circumcised in the flesh on the 8th day of his life, a legalistic, zealous, law-keeping, and self-righteous Pharisee. Paul considered all these things as of no spiritual value in the kingdom of Christ.
VV 8-11, 8 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 9 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; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
The Greek word for rubbish is “skubalon”, which means dung or human excrement. Paul considered all his Jewish roots, circumcision, ritual observances, temple worship, law-keeping, religiosity, and legalism as of no spiritual value as far as righteousness is concerned. What is of spiritual value is the imputed righteousness of Christ, the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings, and the promise of the resurrection of the dead in Christ.