Summary: Who do I need to be cautious of? What is the cost of being a Christian?
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Philippians 3:1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
Reminders, preaching the same truth, even an uncomfortable truth, is something that is needed to keep us honest, focused, and remembering. We humans are notoriously forgetful of history -- even our own!
So what is it he has to write again? Well it's a common theme in Paul's writings, and it swirls around a conflict that was all over the Christian world in his day:
2 Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.
Circumcisers. Preaching that people needed to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses in order to be saved.
They called themselves (with pride) "the circumcision."
3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh--
We do not put confidence in a list of rules and OT regulations that we keep.
The problem with the "circumcision" or the "Judaizers" as they were sometimes called was that they had a wrong focus on the complete other end of the spectrum of the pagans. The pagans were selfishly immoral, selfishly wicked, selfishly idol worshipers, were glorying in self.
But the "circumcision" was selfishly moral, selfishly rule-based, selfishly arrogant and
We are the truly circumcised, whose hearts have been made tender, having cut away the hard-heartedness.
So we do not glory in self, whether for license to sin, or fleshly glorying in rules. We "glory" we rejoice, we celebrate, we exult in, we honor -- Christ.
4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more:
If there's ANYONE who had it all together, who had a RIGHT to look at you and say, "I've got it more together than you do"....
5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee;
6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
What a claim!
7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
This is an accounting term
8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ
There is no cost too great. The greatest sacrifice of self you could make is
9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-- the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
What a phrase... there it is. Jesus got hold of me, and Im reaching out to get hold of what he got hold of me for.
13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.