In Part 10 of this series, we were studying on who a Christian should truly fear, namely the One True God who holds all power and might in His mighty hands. Also, how the 18th and 19th century Christians failed to know or appreciate these modern dogmas that have developed mainly in the latter part of the 20th century. This fact alone should cause immediate alarm and concern in every Christian who hears these false doctrines! So why has there not been a hue and cry concerning these things?
Quite frankly, the bulk of the Christian church has been steadily lulled to sleep by the “enemies of the Cross of Christ!” Let’s look at the Scriptures where this particular phrase occurs:
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
So who are these enemies of the Cross of Christ? They look, talk, dress and act like Christians, but they are preoccupied with things of the flesh. They lead younger Christians off the path of righteousness. Then, there are the preachers who are afraid of preaching hard messages, either because they are burdened with a carnal board of directors or they have a few people in the congregation who shoulder most of the church expenses and so the preacher is fearful of offending them. Overall, they are only serving themselves.
But let’s read what Paul said, “For our conversation (or our lifestyle) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul’s focus and those who followed him was completely on the Lord Jesus and serving Him. Remember that Christ gave up all to come down to earth and He had to learn obedience to the Father while He was living in the flesh. He set his face like flint and literally laid down His life. The Lord Jesus had to deal with those who were hindering others from entering into the Kingdom of God.
Woe unto you lawyers! For ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
So let’s examine the rest of Chapter 3 and see what Paul had to say: in v2, Paul tells the Philippian church to beware of “dogs, evil workers and the concision.” In the Jewish psyche, dogs were the epitome of the lowest class of animals, right next to pigs; therefore, this is why they labeled the Roman soldiers with this epithet as well as labeling all Gentiles as such. Then Paul lists evil workers as the next set of people that the church should beware of, and of course this includes anyone who is willing to work evil towards others.
Finally, Paul lists those people that belonged to the concision. These were the Judaizers. What and who were they? These were devout Jews who were or had been converted to Christianity but still believed that (please pay attention) the keeping of the Laws of God via the flesh only’ was still a vital and necessary component to make one righteous before God. They believed that the only true conversion to Christianity was by proselytizing them to Judaism first and then after they had learned Judaism in all of its intricacies, THEN they could get born again and become Christians. After all, is this not the way that they had become Christians? Of course it was, so this must be the right way for everyone.
For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
God the Father always desired for His people Israel to realize that the true circumcision was to happen in the heart of mankind, not just the flesh. But God has a true sense of humor, doesn’t He? Man couldn’t physically see his heart, so God chose a portion of his flesh that most men would see every day.
Paul continues in v4-8 by acknowledging that he had been a Jew of the sect of the Pharisees, keeping the law with a rigor to match none else…he said he had been a “Hebrew of the Hebrews, as touching the law, a Pharisee.” But he had counted all things (his former life) loss, so that he might win Christ.
In v9 Paul acknowledges that he wants to “be found in HIM,” as opposed to “having his own righteousness, which is of the law.” Paul desired to have “that (righteousness) which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
We will continue in Part 12.