Summary: Many profess to KNOW Jesus, but what does that mean?
To KNOW Christ means:
We have no confidence in the flesh (vv 2-6).
Paul here is contrasting his life with that of the Judaizers. The Judaizers were a group of Jews who believed that in order for you to become a Christian you had to follow the Jewish law. Specifically, Paul addresses circumcision. Circumcision was a sign of the covenant that God had made with Abraham (Genesis 17:1-14), which God promised that he would be a great nation. In fact, it was originally stated in Genesis 12:1-3, and the last phrase says “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” That’s a messianic prophecy because that is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. As a covenant, circumcision was to point them to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.
What is interesting to note, in Genesis 17, all male children were to be circumcised on the 8th day of their birth. With today’s medicine they can do it before you leave the hospital. However, science shows us that the 8th day of a male child’s life, he has the highest count of vitamin K. Do you know what vitamin K does? (helps blood to clot).
Paul calls the Judaizers dogs and evil workers. Then he has a play on words, which I think is funny in light of the topic – he says “beware of the mutilation!”
Paul says in verse 3, “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” Although circumcision was a physical act, it had a spiritual meaning. We are not and cannot be justified before God on our own merits.
Philippians 3:4 - though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so:
Paul is saying if my relationship with Jesus Christ was about following the law and being a Jew, I would have the utmost justification. Paul’s list can be divided into two categories: (1) genealogy, the Greek word for stock is genos, which is where the word genealogy is derived from. (2) Personal achievement. If that was the standard Paul has it ALL TOGETHER!!!.
I’m not saved because my mama is saved, or my grandmother is saved. I’m not saved because I go to church every Sunday and pay my tithes. I’m not saved because I wear a 3 piece suit and talk like the KJV bible.
I’m saved because of JESUS CHRIST!!!!
We count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord (vv 7-8)
This is a transitional section from verses 2-5, and 9-11. Verses 2-5 speak of what Paul loss and verses 9-11 speaks of the gains Paul had. Literally Paul uses business accounting terms to make his point. Verse 7 he says “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.” It would be a bad feeling to think your business is making money, only to find out you’re operating at a loss. Paul is saying I thought (past tense) I was in the black (making a profit), but I realize (present tense) I’m in the red (loosing money).
It is interesting that verse 7 is presented in past tense, while verse 8 is in present tense. Because verse 8 begins as almost a repetition of the end of verse 7. Verse 7 he says “I have counted loss” (pass tense) where as in verse 8 he says “Yet indeed I also count all things loss” (present tense). And if you look further what you see is actual transition, because Paul talks about a “gain/loss” in verse 7, and then he talks about a “loss/gain” in verse 8. The transition or the difference maker between what he loss that he thought was a gain, and the loss that cause him a gain is:
“the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord”
His transition shows that he sought his worth or value in who he was, but now he place his value in who Jesus is. Excellence is a word used to express value in the text. In the Greek it is a compound word, from hupér (5228) meaning, above, over, and échō (2192), meaning to have. It literally means: to hold over or extend over something and figuratively its used here to mean: to hold one above, superior or better than another.
Paul is talking about knowing “about Christ”. But he doesn’t stop at knowing about Christ, because he then uses the possessive pronoun “MY” in connection with “Lord” indicating his relationship, and express not only knowing “about Christ” but also knowing “about who Christ is”. This tells us that we can know a lot of information about Jesus and not experience a relationship WITH Him.