What Constitutes Confidence in the Flesh
Php 3:4-6 ˇ°though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth 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 for legalistic righteousness, faultless.ˇ±
Notice the categories of things concerning the flesh of which we should avoid placing our confidence and the inferences I would make.
circumcised on the eighth day - We shouldn't put our confidence in - shall we say - things like infant baptism. What is done to the flesh of an infant has no bearing upon their salvation status.
of the people of Israel - God's chosen people
of the tribe of Benjamin - One of the two surviving tribes of Israel
a Hebrew of Hebrews - that is, both his parents were Hebrews, in contrast to the Hellenistic mixed marriages of his day.
We put no confidence in our pedigree, our race or ethnic background as a basis for a righteous standing before God. And along those lines we put no confidence in the righteousness of our parents or ancestors to save us. Nor do we reckon others disqualified based upon their race, ethnic background or upon the basis of the unrighteousness of their parents or ancestors. (This is one of those things the other apostles had to learn over time in overcoming their prejudice against Gentile Christians)
in regard to the law, a Pharisee - Pledging allegiance to a particular denomination is not basis for such confidence concerning our salvation status.
as for zeal, persecuting the church - Being zealously religious is not a basis for confidence. You cannot be saved by being zealously religious. In fact today it is rather obvious in the case of Islam that murderers and evil men can be quite religiously zealous. Nor are we to place confidence in the degree to which people get all emotionally aroused over religion. These kind of things are associated with the flesh.
as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. Conformity to God's commands will not save you. The righteous do not place confidence in their own good works to save them .ˇ°For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.ˇ± Rom 3:28