I have a few collectable aerospace models. One is a 1/200 scale of the mighty Saturn V rocket that put a man on the moon. Another is the Boeing B-17G “Nine-O-Nine,” a model of an actual plane that I flew on in the early 2000’s. Sadly, it crashed in 2019 killing everyone aboard thereby ending my adventures on World War II aircraft, according to my wife. Full disclosure: I never had the privilege of flying on the Saturn V to the moon, but if they reinstated the mighty rocket and asked for volunteers, I’d sign up (under another name of course). I do tend to go on and on about the Saturn V and the Boeing B-17, which is why I acquired the models. If you ask me about either, I can rattle off a whole bunch of facts about them. I boast in each model and cherish the memories of both flying vehicles.
In Philippians 3:1-7, Paul warns the church of the “false circumcision” or Judaizers who were teaching that a right standing with God was acquired through one’s flesh by the carrying out of the works of the Law (3:2). Paul, who had more reason than most to boast of his own accomplishments (3:4-6), instead states that true believers are those for whom three things are true. He writes, “who worship in the Spirit of God,” “glory in Christ Jesus,” and “put no confidence in the flesh.” The verb “glory” is καυχάομαι (kauchaomai) and it is a favorite of Paul’s, using it 35 of the 37 times it is found in the New Testament. In Paul’s uses, it is translated in the NASB almost exclusively as “boast,” with three renderings as “exult,” once as “take pride,” and this one use as “glory” in Philippians 3:3. The term basically carries the force, “to express an unusually high degree of confidence in someone or something being exceptionally noteworthy” (Louw and Nida, Greek-English Lexicon, 1:430). Well the someone is Christ and he is exceptionally noteworthy. Contextually, Paul is addressing the issue of being right with God, specifically, the righteousness that comes from God through faith in Christ (3:9). In a sense, to “glory” in Christ is to trust him, to make him the object of one’s delight and devotion. In other words, when we trust in Christ, we truly “boast” in him.
We have so many things we delight or boast in, but none can make us right with God. Christ alone is our only real boast.