Carpenter's Gallery

Chuck it to the Dogs

If anyone could gain salvation through effort or position or being good enough, it was Paul. In Philippians 3:4, Paul lists his impressive credentials.  He ticked all the right boxes.  He had the right heritage, and upbringing. He was one of God’s chosen people.  He was from the tribe of Benjamin, which was one of two tribes that remained after the other ten tribes had broken off.  Paul was a pharisee.  Pharisees were fiercely devoted to studying the Word of God.  They sought to keep God’s commands with all their might.  The Pharisees worked hard to obey rules that were more strict than scripture, paying attention to minute details.  Paul knew the Word of God inside and out.  He was a teacher of the Bible.  Paul was full of zeal and passion.  He loved what he believed to be right.  He hated what he believed to be wrong.  He tried to silence people he believed to be wrong.  He went all out in whatever he did.  Paul sought to live by the standards of God’s law.  He was outwardly moral and tried his best to be a good person.  Paul appeared to have everything going for him. 

But in verse 7, Paul says, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.” Despite his efforts, all the credentials that Paul had worked his whole life to gather and count as gain, were now tossed out the window and counted as loss.  Was he nuts?  Why would Paul cast all his accomplishments aside?

On the road to Damascus when the great light shone on Paul, he saw Jesus and learned what God’s righteousness was like.  Paul thought before, that he had attained righteousness by keeping the law, but when he saw Jesus, he knew that his righteousness was worthless.  

Paul received a massive wake up call.  Everything changed.  Rather than thinking he was big stuff, Paul saw the reality, that all the credentials and impressiveness and works that a man could muster were really nothing.  He saw that Jesus was everything.

What accomplishments do you have today that you think God would find valuable?  God is no more impressed with what you have done than what Paul had done.  He is not going to let you into heaven on the basis of something you have done.  Romans 3:10 says, “…There is none righteous, no, not one:”

Philippians 3:8.  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.  

Why was Paul willing to count all his accomplishments and credentials as nothing but dung?

Paul found out that knowing Jesus is the only thing that is worthwhile.

To know Jesus Christ is the pinnacle of excellence. 

Paul uses the word dung to describe his credentials.  It is a word that means something that is thrown to the dogs.  Dung is something disgusting. 

Paul suddenly saw that all the things that he had been proud of before were actually things that would condemn him before God, not gain him salvation.  Gag, get it away from me.  It is filth, it is worthless.  I can’t stomach those things any more now that I see what they really are in comparison to Christ.  My works are but dung that only a dog could gag down.  How could God be pleased with that?  Chuck it to the dogs.

This reference to what a dog would eat harkens back to verse 2.  

“Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.”

Those who try to say you have to do something to be saved.  

Dogs in those days were dangerous.  So is the idea that you could do anything to earn your salvation.

Do you really think that what Jesus did isn’t enough, but what you do can be sufficient?

Do you really think that Jesus can’t do it well enough but you can?  Why would you do something to attempt to earn salvation when Jesus has completely done that?  

God has already given us the best.  God has given us Jesus.  He doesn’t need anything else.

Paul came to know salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  We are justified by faith alone.  

We must turn away from anything else we are trusting in and instead trust in Jesus as the only hope.

As I write this, I am a little sad because my dog has lyme disease.  How ironic that he should be sick like this when I am writing about dogs. His back legs really aren’t working and he can barely get around.  He has no strength.  I think he might die.  It’s sad and pathetic and I feel so badly for him.  We love him a lot, but his anxiety doesn’t allow him trust anyone. He won’t be helped.  Don’t be like him.  

Before we are saved we are all sick and dying in our sins. We have no strength of our own.  God loved us more than anyone.  Will you trust Him to let Him help you, or do you, like my dog, insist on trying to do things in your own strength to earn your salvation? 

Jesus is God. That is the only credential that God will accept.  He loved us enough to die in our place to rescue us from sin.  Only Jesus’s life is valuable enough to pay for our sin.

What do you hold dear today?  What is it’s value to God?  Would you part with it to gain Christ?

What if we could see Christ in His splendor as Paul had?  We would know that we can trust in Him and that is all that matters.

Picture of Ed Brill
Ed Brill

Mr. Brill has spent many years as a tool engineer for plastic injection molds working closely with craftsmen. This experience has given him unique insight into the character traits involved in craftsmanship. His engineering background has taught him to sort through things not readily apparent and get to the heart of the real issue. Mr. Brill has done a good deal of work on buildings, having remodeled an old house and having been on the board of trustees and then as a deacon at his church for many years. He has been a student and teacher of the Bible for many years as he serves in his local church.

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