1 In addition, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord.
To write to you again about this is no trouble for me and is a safeguard for you.
2 Watch out for the dogs, watch out for the evil workers, watch out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, the ones who worship by the Spirit of God, boast in Christ Jesus, and do not put confidence in the flesh— 4 although I have reasons for confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised the eighth day; of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; regarding the law, a Pharisee; 6 regarding zeal, persecuting the church; regarding the righteousness that is in the law, blameless.
“In addition, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord.” (Philippians 3:1)
Although Paul is only in the middle of his letter, he begins this section with a transitional phrase that reads like he’s about to conclude. It’s like a PS before he’s even finished, but if you’ve ever read a letter from Paul, you know this is typical for him. (If that’s you too, you’re in good company!)
We don’t know if Paul is referring to his repetitive theme of joy or if he’s about to repeat a previous warning, but we know he feels it’s important to say again what he’s already said to them. He passionately desired to see them walking wisely in faith.
“To write to you again about this is no trouble for me and is a safeguard for you.” (Philippians 3:1)
As observed earlier in this letter, Paul pointed out that a sign of immaturity in the Christian is consistent grumbling and complaining. The mark of maturity is joyful obedience. A believer should be continually finding ways to rejoice in their unearned and undeserved salvation.
Paul exhorts (biblically, that’s earnest advice) the reader to be aware of anyone who would lead them to add anything to their salvation. As if anyone could add anything! Paul certainly never preached grace for his own benefit! He was persecuted harshly precisely because he preached the truth that we can only be rescued from our death sentence earned by our sin if we solely trust in Christ alone through faith alone, without a drop of our own work. (Ephesians 2:8-9) He was demoted from respected teacher of the Law to imprisoned apostle. All for one reason: Jesus crucified! He had reminded them that everything else was useless for salvation. It was all Christ.
Sisters, read through the list of Paul’s reasons to boast in today’s focus passage. Take note of Paul’s continual theme. If the song had been available in his day, I think Paul would have told the believers in Philippi to turn to a certain page in their hymn books and begin singing:
“I will not boast in anything – no gifts, no power, no wisdom.
But I will boast in Jesus Christ – His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart: His wounds have paid my ransom.”
(Stuart Townend, “How Deep The Father’s Love)
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