Before he was a disciple of the Lord, Paul was a persecutor driven by satan to hunt down and kill Christians. Now saved and a humble servant of Jesus Christ it comes as no surprise one of his gifts would allow him to speak against the hypocrites among the church, self serving false teachers whose goals stem from greed rather than the love of Jesus Christ.
Looking out for the Philippians Paul chooses to reiterate a message already known onto his readers, one warning all Christians about vipers that speak with forked tongues. Through repeated warnings, even in this “epistle of joy”, Paul hoped the Philippians would be safe from such false teaching.
“1 Finally, my brothers, 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.” (Philippians 3:1)
Paul refers to the false teachers “kuōn” which is Greek for “dog”, then “katatome” which means “mutilation” knowing these evil doers aim to dismember the body of Christ which is the church. Paul’s words are by no means sugar coated not should they be in order for the Philippians to take this warning seriously.
“2 Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.” (Philippians 3:2)
The apostle then describes true Christians as “peritome” or the “circumcision” which are those who worship God through faith in Christ Jesus, putting the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes out of themselves.
“3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh.” (Philippians 3:3)
Reinforcing the fact he was once a Jew that put confidence in the flesh, Paul uses his own circumcision to inspire the Philippians. Circumcised according to the Jewish law, Paul exposes his background as one with the flesh, a past with little faith.
“4 Though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has 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.” (Philippians 3:4-5)
The apostle brings to light the attributes of all those living in the flesh according to Jewish law, jealous persecutors of Christians acting on behalf of Satan.
“6 As for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.” (Philippians 3:6)
Paul had given up much to serve as a disciple of Jesus Christ however here he clearly describes those things a loss, not at all a sacrifice, but literally waste which he would thankfully no longer strive for.
“7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” (Philippians 3:7)
Again mentioning the loss he feels toward the things he has given up for Christ, Paul described these things are rubbish, as “skubalon” which literally means ” dung”.
“8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, 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 Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” (Philippians 3:8-9)
Testifying that in deed righteousness comes from faith and not ourselves or the law, the apostle’s hope for his life is that he continues to grow in Christ, sharing in His suffering to one day be raised from the dead to rejoice with Jesus in heaven for all eternity.
“10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:10-11)
What about you? What have you given up to follow Jesus? Do you consider it rubbish, or waste that you sought these things rather than attain favor in Christ?
I extend this warning to you all: That you carefully examine your affections, that which drives your life and eventually become who you are, either in Christ or in flesh.
Seek out the joy that comes with suffering for Christ. Do as Paul did, even though in chains he sought out to gain Christ. Steer from false teachers as you strive for the truth through the holy word of God found in the bible. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre