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About-Him.Com Devotional 08-23s-2014
The Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ
Philippians 3:1 ¶ 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.
I consider the third chapter of Philippians to be a treasure that we can return to, time and time again. Paul admonishes us to simply rejoice in the Lord. Rejoice when things are bright and all is going well. Rejoice when the clouds hang low and you can barely see the path in front of you. We don’t rejoice in our attainments but in the attainments of Christ on our behalf. We rejoice in Him as our Savior, our King, our Redeemer, and our burden bearer. We rejoice in Him for He gives us the breath that we breath and the will to keep pressing on to victory. We rejoice in Him because He has overcome the world (Jn. 16:33). We acknowledge Him as the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, our eternal everlasting God who has conquered death and now holds the keys to death and hell (Re. 1:11,18).
Philippians 3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
Paul refers to the Jews with the same term that they once used for the gentiles. They were legalistic followers of the letter of the law, but who never discerned its true meaning. Jesus denounced these professors of religion. They were hypocrites who wouldn’t enter the kingdom, but who obstructed others from entering. They would make a long prayer after repossessing a widow’s house. They would tithe scrupulously, while ignoring the weightier matters of the law, such as judgment, mercy and faith. They were clean on the outside but were full of extortion and excess (Mt. 23:13-15, 23-29, Lu. 11:43).
They protected the commandments with endless rules and then another layer of rules to keep you from breaking the first rule. Just to be safe they added other layers of rules for further insulation. No wonder Peter said that this was a yoke that neither they or their fathers were able to bear (Ac. 15:10). Isn’t it a whole lot easier, when the laws of God are inscribed on our hearts. When we became new creatures in Him, the old things of the law passed away and we became a new creation in Jesus (2 Co. 5:17). Paul is simply saying, “Don’t let anybody destroy your liberty in Christ.” Not liberty to run wild, but liberty to explore the very deep things of His word and Spirit.
Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
We worship God in the Spirit, just as Jesus instructed the woman at the well in Samaria (Jn. 4:24). Fleshly circumcision was given for the Jew to bind them to God’s covenant, but He also commanded Israel to circumcise their hearts and to cease from doing evil (De. 10:16, 30:6; Jer. 4:4). The believer is bound to a covenant with God, that was sealed with the blood of Jesus. Our hearts and spirits are circumcised by the Spirit of God, rather than by the letter of the law (Ro. 2:29). We were circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by the circumcision of Christ (Co. 2:11).
Philippians 3:4 ¶ Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
If the works of the flesh would bring salvation, Paul considered that he would be at the head of the pack. He was circumcised as the law demanded. He came from the tribe of Benjamin, a tribe that never rebelled and bowed to idolatry. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees. We still have that hierarchy today. A Baptist of the Baptist and a Pentecostal of the Pentecostals or an Apostolic above all other Apostolics. That might impress men, but it doesn’t impress God.
Philippians 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Paul was zealous and he considered himself to be a blameless adherent of the law, even to the extent of persecuting the church and caused Christians to be put to death.
Philippians 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
Everything he had done and all of his accomplishments in life were nothing but excrement. All was cast away that he might delve into the depths of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord.
May we ever strive for the same goal, the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Song: My God, My King and My Redeemer
Grace does not grant permission to live in the flesh; it supplies power to live in the Spirit. - John MacArthur
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Don and Marie Spooner
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