The apostle Paul when it came to qualifications was above all. He would have been certainly comparable to the most academic of today. He might have a couple of PHDs and be at the top of the list for Christian/ Hebrew scholars. He may have gone to Harvard or Yale and taught by the best and most well-known teachers. After all, he was taught by Gamaliel, a famous rabbi, a teacher of the law, and respected by all people. (Acts 5:34; 22:3) From man’s point of view, he would be the epitome of the best of the best. God must be pleased with all his effort and accomplishments.
The apostle said it best himself. “If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: Circumcised the eighth day of the stock of Israel of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law a Pharisee; concerning zeal persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” Phil 3:4-6 More than anyone else, he thought that he met all the qualifications before conversion. He certainly believed he was well on his way by working toward total acceptance from God.
But once converted he realized… “what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord for who I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;…” Phil 3:7-9
Both Greek words for gain and loss were accounting terms. The gain or profit that Paul had, his Jewish qualifications, were worthless. They had no value toward earning God’s acceptance. The very things he cherished he now considered rubbish in order to gain Christ!
Scripture is clear that we are saved unto good works “which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph 2:10 However, they do not save us or earn any merit for us toward God. Are you resting by faith in the person and work of Christ or are you still trying to earn God’s acceptance through works? Consider the apostle Paul for this is a matter of the utmost importance. Your eternal destination hinges on it.