The Spiritual Mind - Cont'd.
Now the third thing that can steal our joy is things. And certainly living
in the society we do, we can see things can really get in the way of life.
Paul, in this chapter, shows how dependency on things is valueless. Now by
things, he doesn't just mean "tangible things that we can see, but also the
intangibles such as reputation, fame, achievement ." 1 And it
is often the intangible that can be our downfall and can lead to the loss
of joy. But here, just as in the areas we've already examined, the issue
isn't the things themselves but our response to them.
We will see it isn't wrong to have things, tangible or intangible. We will
see the question is how we will respond to that which the Lord has given
us. We will see we are not called to strive for things.
The Spiritual Mind, Chapter 3
Paul's Past (the accountant--"I count") Chapter 3:1-11
Verse 1: Paul calls the Philippians to rejoice. He knows they can,
because the basis of their joy is to be the Lord. In spite of the fact he
remains in jail, he has no compunction about calling them to rejoice. He
wants them to know their joy isn't dependent on outside factors; it is only
dependent on their relationship with the Lord!The quality of the Christian
walk isn't dependent on things, that is works, or position within the church.
Apparently, there were some who were demanding circumcision as a basis of
being identified with the church. "You can't be saved if you aren't circumcised."
You can't be saved if you aren't baptized, specifically by immersion. If
you go to movies or wear makeup or dance, or imbibe alcohol, obviously you
aren't saved, because Christians don't do these things. You are saved by
what you do, or for that matter more frequently by what you don't do. But
Paul calls those who call for circumcision as mutilators of the flesh.
The problem here is people move their confidence from the Lord to the things
of the flesh, in this case circumcision. The Philippians were dealing with
a common problem of the early church, Judaizers. These were individuals who
taught that one must follow the law, in effect become Jews to become Christians.
The thing they focused on was the need for believers to be circumcised, even
if they were gentiles. But Paul notes that as believers we are circumcised,
we are circumcised in the heart.
"In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off
of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men, but
with the circumcision done by Christ,..." (Colossians 2:11).
Verses 2-4a: Paul warns against the Judaizers by calling them dogs.
Keep in mind, the Jews considered gentiles dogs. And it was in the context
of considering gentiles unacceptable, that these men were calling for
circumcision as the first necessary step in the salvation process.Paul said
"You are the dogs, the gentiles, in reality are simply pagans." The Philippians
were to stay away from these men and their works theology. They were to remember
that Christ plus nothing is what saves.