Paul was the super pharisee. If one wanted a poster child for how to “do religion” Paul was easily that guy. He was circumcised, Part of the tribe of Benjamin, trained by Gamaliel the ultimate Rabbi. He knew all the traditions, all the law and exactly what to do. He attacked the Christians with zeal and complete abandon. Any Jewish leader would be proud of Paul’s record. Paul, however, realized that it was not his knowledge or performance that made him righteous. Paul went as far as to say that stuff was bio-waste compared to the surpassing greatness of Christ, Paul no longer needed to flaunt a resume–He simply needed to trust God and allow God to transform him into the image of Christ.
We are the same. We are not a product of our accomplishments. We can never “DO” Christianity to a level that our actions bring us justification. In fact, as Paul so elegantly articulated it, our efforts to earn salvation look, smell and feel like bio-waste! We need to know Christ! As we get to know him we quickly see that it is His grace and His mercy, not our background or performance that brings us salvation. If we will simply trust and follow His lead–He will restore our relationship with God, and he will prepare us for the journey that lies ahead. In addition, the Lord will change our hearts and our desires to conform to His image. There is simply no greater gift than the salvation we receive by trusting Christ alone.
God Bless You
Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 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; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.