Philippians 3:2-4a ESV
Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also.
A dog is symbolic for someone who is despicable, lowdown, and dirty, i.e. who is spiritually unclean, wicked, dishonest, unfair and morally filthy. This is a person who practices (in lifestyle) what is evil, i.e. what is sinful, criminal, and perverse. And a dog, too, is often symbolic of false teachers, i.e. of false shepherds of the people who willfully lead God’s people astray.
These are people who glory in their flesh rather than glory in the Spirit of God and in the holiness and righteousness of God. And, so they will lead you to follow after your flesh rather than teach you to walk in the fear of God by the Spirit of God. For, they do not make it their practice to put the flesh to death, but they coddle it and entertain it, instead.
They are the ones today who are teaching you that faith in Jesus Christ requires no repentance, no obedience to Christ and to his Word, and no submission to Christ Jesus as Lord of our lives. Their idea of faith in Jesus Christ is that God forgives us our sins and promises us heaven when we die, but that faith doesn’t really have to alter our lifestyles all that much.
But, the true gospel of our salvation puts the flesh to death. We die with Christ to sin, and we are raised with Christ to newness of life in him when we believe in Jesus Christ. Sin no longer has mastery over our lives, but now we are becoming slaves of Christ’s righteousness by the Spirit of God. And, now we walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit of God and no longer according to the flesh. And, now we have eternal life with God.
Philippians 3:7-11 ESV
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Faith in Jesus Christ leaves our old lives of living for sin and self behind us, and it follows Jesus Christ in walks of obedience to his commands. It submits to Christ as Lord of our lives and humbly surrenders our lives over to God to do what is pleasing to him, in his strength and power at work within us.
We willingly forsake what is sinful and is of the flesh out of love for our Lord, who gave his life up for us that we might die with him to sin and live with him to his righteousness. We see our lives as no longer our own, no longer to be lived how we want, but we see now that we are God’s possession and that we are to honor him with our lives.
But, this is not us, in our flesh, trying to earn or to deserve our own salvation. This is us, having crucified the flesh with its deceitful desires, by the Spirit of God, now walking in the ways of the Lord, empowered by the Spirit of God now at work and living within us in transforming our hearts away from sin to walking in purity of devotion to our Lord.
Philippians 3:12-16 ESV
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
But, when we believe in Jesus Christ, we don’t become instantly perfect and then we never have to fight off temptation to sin ever again. We still live in flesh bodies. We still have the propensity to sin against God, and we still will be tempted to sin. And, we may even sin against God sometimes, but this is not to be our norm, i.e. what we practice. For, sin is no longer our master, but now we’re putting sin to death as a matter of course in our lives, by the Spirit of God, and we are putting on Christ and his righteousness.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are all in process, which is a process of sanctification, of Christ making us holy and of conforming us to his likeness. And, this process involves daily putting sin to death in our lives and daily walking in the fear of the Lord by the Spirit of God. And, no matter how long we have been on this journey, we are still growing, still changing, still progressing in our faith, and we are still putting our flesh to death, for it is still at war with our spirits and with the Holy Spirit.
But, the fact that we have not yet arrived, and that we are not yet perfect people, and that we are still in process, is never to be used as an excuse for continued and willful sinning against God, which seems many people do. But, we are not to be people who are continually going backward, then forward, then backward, etc. We are to hold on to what we have already attained by the Spirit of God, and we are to be moving forward.
Philippians 3:17-21 ESV
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
So, it is very important that we are following the right kind of leadership, and the right kind of teaching, so that we don’t remain living for sin and self and then sacrifice the eternal life with God that could be ours through God-given faith in Christ Jesus, dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
For, there are many teachers of the scriptures, and many pastors and lay leaders within our congregations who walk as enemies of the cross of Christ, because they are teaching what is in opposition to the cross of Christ, because they are living what is opposed to the cross of Christ. For, they are not teaching death to sin and living to righteousness, but they are teaching a cheap grace which delivers no one from hell or from sin.
Many of them are busy building their earthly kingdoms rather than being on board with God in working for his heavenly kingdom. For, they are more concerned with pleasing the masses and with not offending the people of this world than they are with pleasing God and not offending him.
So, we need to be discerning people, and we need to check out everything we hear against the Word of God, but in context, for many false doctrines are formed out of scriptures taken out of context to make them say what tickles itching ears. We need to be students of the Word of God, too, and not rely solely on the teachings of others. And, then we need to obey the truth of God’s Word, and honor God with our lives, for He’s to be our only Lord.
His Tender Mercies
An Original Work / January 26, 2014
Fear not! I’m with you.
Be not dismayed!
God watches o’er you.
Trust Him today.
He’ll lead and guide you;
Give you His aid.
He’ll love and keep you
With Him always.
Walk in His footsteps.
He’ll lead the way.
Trust in His love;
Believe that He cares.
He will not leave you.
Faithful He’ll be.
His tender mercies
Now you will see.
Fellowship with Him
Throughout the day.
Tell Him your heartaches.
He’ll heal always.
Rest in His comfort.
He is your friend.
Your faith He’ll strengthen,
True to the end.
Sunday, July 28, 2019