It something Paul says a lot, “Rejoice in the Lord”! He also warns against dogs and wolves too! So what exactly is the Apostle talking about?
Rejoice in the Lord
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:1-3).
Rejoice in the Lord! Later on in Philippians 4:4 Paul says to “Rejoice in the Lord Always”. To “rejoice” is to be jubilant, to be happy. Paul says we are always to be happy in the Lord. But more than that, the Greek word for rejoice “chair?“ also means to “live in”. This is a state of being just like being “in Christ”. We will be joyful, jubilant and happy if we live in Christ.
“to me indeed is not grievous” Paul is telling the people of Philippi that to write down what he has already told them is not a bother. It is for their benefit that he does so.
“Beware of dogs” Gentiles were called dogs because they were not part of the first covenant. Jews called themselves “The children of the Most High”. Now we have a role reversal. Paul is warning the newly converted to beware of the Judaizers and false prophets who try to reintroduce customs and ways of old, ways which do not lead to salvation but condemnation.
Earlier in Acts Paul warns, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29).
We face the same dogs and wolves today. There are those who wish to bring Jewish ceremonies, customs and rituals back into the church. One of the biggest problems a Christian faces today is the works and deeds mindset. This is a carryover from the days before Jesus Christ. Our religion is based on faith and not performing certain actions to gain entrance into heaven.
Another problem the Church still faces are those who want to introduce some new thought or precept. There is no new thing. The word of God is a sure thing and just like God himself, the word does not change, alter or falter.
“beware of the concision” this is reference to circumcision. It means to cut up or mutilate. Paul is describing physical circumcision as mutilation. It is also a description of the spiritual condition for those who still abide by the Jewish tradition.
“which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus” When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior we become filled with the Holy Ghost. With the aid and assistance of the Holy Ghost we worship Jesus Christ in spirit and in truth. To love and worship the Son is to love and worship the Father. Conversely, those who hate or reject the Son also hate and reject the Father. The only way to the Father is through the Son. The Holy Ghost mingles with our spirit and enlightens us and guides us to Him.
We, “rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh“. When we are in Christ and Christ is in us we will always be jubilant and at peace. We are spirit filled so we have no confidence in the flesh. The flesh is not only a reference to circumcision but to self. We have no confidence in self because we know that sin is in the skin. Man without the spirit of God within him is nothing but a carnal being. His pursuits are carnal and even his religion is too. We must give up confidence in self and in our abilities and become completely dependent upon God. No man can live in the flesh and be with God. We must live, and move, and have our being in the spirit and in Him.
“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3).
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