Philippians 3:1-3, NASB
1) Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it
is a safeguard for you.
2) Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;
3) for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,
-I love that Paul says, "finally my brethren" when we are just beginning the 3rd of 4 chapters.
-It would seem that Paul has written a previous letter to the Philippians and covered a lot of the same material.
- Paul warns of "dogs," evil workers, and false circumcision.
-We put no confidence in flesh, but in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.
Anytime Paul has warnings in his letters we need to take note. Are you familiar with the saying, "the more things change the more they stay the same?" I believe that is true in our churches today. Yes times are different and things have certainly changed, but there are those things which continue to take place because of the fallenness of man, because we are still fallible and "prone to wander." (a line from my favorite hymn, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing) I don't believe that any of us purpose to wander from the truth, more likely it is something that happens gradually as we take in all the voices out there vying for our attention. Paul is warning us that there are some folks we should not be listening too. The question for us seems to be: are we satisfied with the sufficiency of Christ, with His death and resurrection to save us from all of our sin; past, present and future? It would seem the church in Philippi was being tempted to add circumcision on top of the work of Christ- they were being told they needed something more. This was not something unique to the Philippians, but an issue that had to be addressed by Paul on several occasions. In fact in Acts 15 it is recorded that Paul and Barnabas traveled to Jerusalem to bring the issue before the apostles and elders where Peter made it clear that this was a burden not meant to be placed on people for we are all saved through grace not the act of circumcision.
Paul called those who promoted this idea "dogs," and "evil workers." I am always struck by such "name-calling" as today we would never dream of such a thing, in fact if we question the doctrine of anyone we have to be very careful not to say they are false teachers, even when they are, and that is so tame compared to what Paul wrote here or the things that Jesus Himself said at times. Jesus, Paul, Peter-- they all warn us about the dangers of listening to such people. It was very important then, and it is just as important today. Are there things being taught today that place a burden on us that the Apostles would warn us against?
This photo was taken on top of the Grand Mesa in Colorado. You feel like you can see the world from up there...the view goes on and on; so vast it is hard to take it all in. However the focus of this photo is my son in the midst of it all, for in this immense landscape he is what matters to me. Just like in my photo we must focus on what is important amid all that tries to grab our attention; to distract us from what really matters.
The big question that confronts me today then, is how to avoid being deceived by false teachers and thus distracted from what really matters. And once again I am struck by the importance of reading the Word; for if error is to be avoided one must be solidly grounded in the Bible. We must know what it says so that we are not confused by pleasant sounding teachers who think they have discovered something new that we should be doing, or try to bring us back under the law, earning our way to salvation through good works. Obeying rules and regulations, while there may be some merit to them in living our lives well here on earth, are not how we are saved. They are works of the flesh which Paul is about to address as we dig deeper into Philippians.
Grace and Peace,
I am a woman with a Mary heart and these are my musings as I read and study God's Word
Join me on facebook
Follow me on Twitter