Summary: There is only One in whom we should place our confidence and that is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Text: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded” (Hebrews 10:35).
What is confidence? Is confidence trust? Is it reliance? Is it faith? Is it belief? Is it assurance? Is it certainty? Actually it is all of these things.
Do you place your confidence in things? Do you place your confidence in someone? Do you trust things or do you trust people? Do you rely on things or do you rely on people? Do you believe in things or do you believe in people? We do place our confidence, our trust, our belief in things, but also in people.
When we board an airplane, get into a car, ride the bus, or travel by train, we have confidence that these various modes of transportation will safely get us to our desired destination. We also place our trust in the pilot, the driver, or the engineer believing they know what they are doing and they have everything under control.
We do place our confidence and trust in things and in people. Sometimes things will break and sometimes people will disappoint us. In other words, things are not always for sure and people are not always trustworthy and dependable.
Is there someone who is always present; someone whose dependability is unquestionable; someone you can trust without doubt; and someone who loves you regardless of what you think or how you act? The answer is “Yes!”
Paul talks about this subject of confidence in his letter to the people at Philippi. His advice to the Philippians was that they should not place their confidence or trust in the flesh. There is someone greater than people in whom they should place their confidence. He tells them “….it is a safeguard for you” (Philippians 3:1). Placing their trust in Almighty God is their safeguard just as it is for us.
God’s Word is so written that it alerts or makes us aware of our wrongdoing. God gave each of us a mind to think and make decisions. He wants us to think the right thoughts and to make the right decisions.
We are able to do this by following his Word. We do not need to do what other people are doing, or ask them for advice on how to do something because they are of the flesh just as we are of the flesh and we should not place confidence in the flesh.
Paul is saying that if we follow the ways of the world, we are misplacing our confidence or trust. He told the Philippians to “Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh” (v.2). What was Paul saying? What did he mean by these words?
Paul was talking the group of men called Judaizers. These were Jews who became Christians. There is certainly nothing wrong with this, but the problem was these Jews still insisted on following the Jewish custom of circumcision.
These Judaizers believed that those non-Jews or Gentiles had to become Jews first and follow the laws as written in the Old Testament. They insisted circumcision was absolutely necessary if salvation was to become a reality in the life of the individual man.
Paul referred to these Judaizers as “…those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh” and he called them “dogs” (v.2). They spent their time and effort trying to keep and follow the laws they were raised by. It is true that God made a covenant or promise with Abraham concerning circumcision.
You might ask “Why?” There were probably several reasons. First of all, it was a sign of belonging to His people, the Jews. Second, God wanted to see if the Jews were really obedient to Him at all times. Thirdly, it was a symbol indicating cutting off the old life and living entirely for God.
If one was a Jew, he was considered a real true member of the family of God. Being a member of God’s family meant that all God’s promises were available to him.
Paul told the Romans, “A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God” (Romans 2:28, 29).
Mutilation of the flesh does not in itself bring a man to a closer relationship with Almighty God. Placing one’s faith, confidence, and trust in the Son of God, “worshiping by the Spirit of God and giving all glory to Christ Jesus” (v. 3) is what bring us into a right relationship with the Father.
There are people who place full confidence in the flesh. Paul said, “If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eight day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as a legalistic righteousness faultless” (v. 4-6).