14 Oct. Philippians 3:1-21

14 Oct. Why following religious rituals is worthless

"My brothers and sisters, be full of joy in the Lord... Watch out for those who do evil, are like dogs, who insist on cutting the body [by completely removing the foreskin]. We are the ones who are truly circumcised [by completely cutting evil out of our lives, and becoming the true children of God]."

"We worship God through his Spirit, and our pride is in Christ Jesus. We do not put trust in ourselves, or anything we can do [such as religious rituals]…"

"I was circumcised eight days after my birth. I am [a Jew] from the people of Israel [descendants of Jacob] and the tribe of Benjamin... I had a strict view of the [Jewish] law, which is why I became a Pharisee. "

"I was so enthusiastic I tried to hurt the [Christian] church. No one could find fault with the way I obeyed the law of Moses. Those things were important to me, but now I think they are worth nothing because of Christ."

"Not only those things, but I think that all things are worth nothing compared with the greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him, I have lost all those things, and now I know they are worthless rubbish..."

"I want to know Christ and the power that raised him from the dead. I want to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death, Then I have hope that I myself will be raised from the dead..."

"I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be... Forgetting the past and straining towards what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above..."

"Brothers and sisters, all of you should try to follow my example and to copy those who live the way we showed you. Many people live like enemies of the cross of Christ... But our homeland is in heaven, and we are waiting for our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come from heaven."

"By his power to rule all things, he will change our simple bodies and make them like his own glorious body."

          (Philippians 3:1-21)

 

 

Paul warns the believers in Philippi to be on their guard against those who claim that Gentile believers must be circumcised according to the Jewish law. Even though Paul himself was circumcised when a week old, he has not been put right with God by “anything we can do” (Philippians 3:3).

Although he was a Pharisee and has kept all the Jewish religious laws, he counts all these things as nothing when compared to his knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord. He regards following religious rituals as worthless, so all he wants to do is to know “Christ and the power that raised him from the dead” (Philippians 3:10).

Therefore he keeps “trying to reach the goal” (Philippians 3:14) and hopes to receive the "prize" which is God’s call to eternal life in Jesus Christ.

Paul is in tears as he begs the believers to give up their selfish bodily desires which will lead them to destruction. Instead, he tells them they are citizens of an earthly colony of heaven, for “our homeland is in heaven, and we are waiting for our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come from heaven” to rule on earth (Philippians 3:20). Then “he will change our simple bodies and make them like his own glorious body” (Philippians 3:21).

The photo shows the theatre in Philippi, where blood sports and gladiatorial fights would have been the everyday entertainment for Roman citizens in Paul's time.

You can read more from Paul's Letter to the Philippians @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/warnings-about-the-jewis…/


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