Why We Put No Confidence in the Flesh

Religion is a lie, and Judaism leads the way. Judaism is a false religion. It is a man-made set of rules, rites, and rituals. It brings salvation to no one. It is devoid of Christ, and therefore, it is void of grace.

Judaism appropriated the Law of Moses, as a means of salvation, demanding compliance. Knowing perfect compliance is impossible for sinners, earnestness became the pseudo-standard. Sincere Jews must surely be acceptable to God is their contrived rationale.

Jesus Christ debunked this man-made religion of the Jews, and He did it by raising the standard far higher than even the Pharisees’ interpretation of the Law. Jesus’ interpretation was stricter, and absolute compliance was mandatory. Earnestness and sincerity failed to make the grade.

When the apostle Paul insisted that we should put no confidence in the flesh (Phil 3:3), he was referring to circumcision. Abraham obeyed God and was circumcised (Gen 17). Later, circumcision was more than the sign of the covenant, it was a requirement under the Law (Lev 12:3).

Circumcision was a physical sign of one being an obedient law keeper. Judaism made it a means of salvation. The Judaisers in the New Testament church pressed the circumcision of the flesh, as a requirement for being a true Christian. In other words, one must become a Jew (circumcision) to become a Christian. This was resolved at the Jerusalem council in Acts 15.

The apostle Paul fought vehemently to rid the church of the flesh mutilators, the concision, or false circumcision. The flesh loves religion because it can steal glory from God. The flesh makes promises. It promises to reward obedience to the Law, “If you do this, you will be acceptable to God.” The reward of right standing before God (righteousness) is reserved for Jesus Christ alone. Those positioned in Christ have His righteousness imputed to them. It is a gift (Rom 5:17).

Men who trust in themselves, that is, in their flesh, have failed to attain what they intended to secure. They have no righteousness because they have not come anywhere near the standard of God’s requirement. Their deeds of righteousness, done in the flesh, are a disaster.

The devil loves to spur religious men on to more works, “If you have failed and fallen short, then work harder!” Always accusing and excusing, Satan’s agenda is to keep men enslaved to the elemental things of the Law.

After doing good work after good work, a man may conclude that he himself is a good person. This contradicts God’s assessment of man, that he is not good, nor does he do good (Rom 3:12). Man has put his confidence in his flesh. He claims to know the legal requirement. By having the knowledge of the Law, he imagines he is a faithful keeper of the Law. How wrong he is!

Christ Jesus alone is right before God (1 Cor 1:30; 1 Jn 2:1). His righteousness was secured through perfect obedience to God. God imputes Christ’s righteousness to all believers. We are justified by faith. This means that when God, by His grace, gives a man faith in Christ, that man is declared, “not guilty,” before the judgment seat of God. The man, of course, is guilty of innumerable sins. In his flesh, he is deplorably unrighteous, but Christ, the substitute, has paid the man’s debt of sin. God has accepted Christ’s payment on the Cross, for each of His elect people.

The justified man puts absolutely no confidence in his ability to keep the Law of God. He is neither willing nor able to secure righteousness for Himself. He must be a recipient of grace from God. In this, he declares his sole confidence is Jesus Christ, the only Savior of sinners (Jn 14:6). This is true for both justification and sanctification. Jesus Christ is the only hope of sinners…and saints.

The flesh is weak, and it is ever striving with God’s Spirit (Gal 5:17). Why would anyone put confidence in that which is working against God’s Spirit? Christ, the Lord, is our righteousness (Jer 23:6). He has given Himself for us and to us; therefore, our trust is Christ…not the flesh.

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

October 7, 2021


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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher