Philippians 3:2-3 ESV
“Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; 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.”
There are those who do teach salvation by works done in the flesh, to gain favor with God, and to earn one’s own way to heaven. They are in the minority these days, I believe. But they add on externals to the gospel such as requiring physical circumcision of males, or rules about dress, or church attendance, or religious rituals, or indoctrinations, or superstitions, or traditions of human origin. So, this is man-made religion, of the flesh.
So, purportedly, in order to combat this man-made religion, there were those who swung the pendulum the other direction, and they supposedly teach a gospel of grace absent of man-made religion, but what they are teaching is also man-made and of the flesh of man, and is man’s attempts to reach God man’s way, not God’s way. For, they teach a gospel absent of repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as Lord of their lives.
So, both extremes are false, for they do not line up with God’s word or with his divine character, will, and purpose for our lives. For, we can’t create our own God or our own Jesus or our own gospel out of our own minds to suit our own purposes. Well, we can, but it won’t get us anywhere good. For, we will still be living in slavery to sin, doing what our flesh wants to do, living lives separate in our thinking and believing from God’s will for our lives.
What’s Being Aired?
So, what is the primary gospel message that is being aired (propagated) these days, at least here in America? It is that we can “believe” in Jesus, be forgiven our sin, and have heaven guaranteed us when we die.
But “believe” is seldom explained, so it is often reduced to a mere acknowledgment of Jesus and/or of what he did for us in dying on a cross for our sins. And, it is taught as a one-time event that takes place in our lives that “seals the deal” for us regardless of how we live or how we treat God from that time forward.
And, it not only does not teach the forsaking of our sins and us following the Lord Jesus in obedience to his will for our lives, as necessary components of believing faith, but it often teaches that we don’t have to repent of our sins or obey the Lord and his word, and that we don’t have to surrender our lives to Jesus Christ to make him Lord (owner-master) of our lives. So, this “belief” leaves us still in control of our own lives and still bound in sin.
One other thing about this “gospel” is that it denies Jesus as Lord, and it puts him in the backseat of our lives, and it treats God – Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit – as though he (God) is of less value, that he is not important, i.e. this gospel devalues God and it elevates human flesh. For, it allows for the flesh to still reign, to be in the driver’s seat. And, it does not submit to the authority of God or his word.
At the Core
So, what this “gospel” allows for is for man/woman to continue living in their sin, and to remain in bondage (slavery, addiction) to their sin. And, what is at the heart (or the core) of this is a mindset that says that we can believe in Jesus, which is supposed to be a marriage relationship between us and him, but that we can continue living as though we are single (unmarried).
It is a mindset that says we can believe in Jesus, and that we can unite our hearts with “other lovers” of the flesh and of the world, but that we don’t have to unite our hearts with God. We can remain independent of God, still making our own life decisions, living separate from him, yet still be “in Christ” and still on our way to heaven.
It is also a mindset that minimizes sin and that covers it up, and it makes excuses for it, or it doesn’t even acknowledge sin as sin. So, it hides or masks the sin, or it calls it something else, and then it lies about it, or it pretends that something else is going on, i.e. a pretense of righteousness while downplaying or refusing to acknowledge the sin.
Thus, this mindset is an enemy of true (agape) love, for it is a false love, a rival love, i.e. it is the “other woman” who is stealing the hearts of people away from Jesus who is to be their only love. For they are convinced that God doesn’t care if they continue living in sin or else they just don’t have the fear of God within them and they don’t believe God will do as he said.
So, this whole minimizing of sin and the flesh, pretending, lying, and living as though one is single while he is to be married to Jesus, if he truly believes in him, is at the core or at the heart of the enslavement (addiction) to sin of many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ. And, it is an enemy of God.
So, what should our response be to all of this? First, we should not take this false grace gospel into our minds, hearts, and lives. We must reject it at the very core. We must examine its teachings against the teachings of the Scriptures (in context) about salvation from sin and eternal life with God. And, then we must cast it aside and hold on to what is truth.
Secondly, we must expose the fruitless deeds of darkness by bringing them out into the light and by talking about them to others, to warn them against falling into the trap of the devil. We must reveal the lies for what they are, and then counter those lies with the truth of God’s word, for we may, in so doing, save many souls from bondage to sin and from hell.
But, when we don’t accept this false gospel and its false faith into our lives, and rather we expose it for what it is, and we expose it for what it produces in the lives of those who adhere to it, we must watch out for those who will try to twist the Scriptures to convince us that we are wrong and that they are right.
Especially on social media we are going to encounter all kinds of people from all walks of life, and from many different belief systems, even within the Christian faith. And, some of them may be plants (spies) there to purposefully try to trip us up with our words so that they would have cause to discredit us. So, they may bait us to try to get us into an argument with them, but we must be wise, and we must not bite.
And, we must keep believing, and keep spreading the truth so that many will be saved from their sins, and so that they may have eternal life with God. And, we must not fear these “dogs,” these “evil workers,” i.e. these who adhere to a false gospel which glories in the flesh of man but which devalues the God who gave his life up for them so that they could be free from sin. We must not fear them or what they might do to us or say about us. For…
Our God is Greater
Songwriters: Chris Tomlin / Jesse Reeves
Jonas Myrin / Matt Redman
Water You turned into wine
Open the eyes of the blind
There’s no one like You
None like You
Into the darkness You shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There’s no one like You
None like You
Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God…
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