Thanks for joining me for our Philippians on Friday devotion! Today we are continuing with chapter 3 and verse 3:
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.
The Concision or the Circumcision?
In our last study we discussed how Paul labeled the Jewish establishment of his day as the “concision” rather than the “circumcision.” This term, concision, was not a compliment. It was an indictment against the Jews which pointed out how far they had strayed from God’s original purpose and intent.
Now in contrast, Paul tells the Philippians that we are the true circumcision. We Christians are the children of Abraham by faith. Unlike the Jewish establishment of Paul’s day, we are embracing God’s purpose and plan.
We are not performing stale, hollow rituals that have lost their spiritual life. We are worshipping God, “in the Spirit!” The religious Jews of Paul’s day had lost sight of the beauty and purpose of the ceremonies, feasts and commandments. They had become vain, repetitious routines, rather than signs pointing to Christ. Those of us who see the Old Testament as a schoolmaster that brings us to Christ, worship God in the Spirit! Our worship is not dry and ritualistic. The revelation of Jesus Christ has breathed life and breath into our worship.
The Jews were (and are still) God’s chosen people. They received the commandments from God Himself. Yet their religious practices had turned into dead, dry rituals. They lost the “spirit” of it all. Be careful that your religious service doesn’t turn into hollow, stale rituals. Always worship God, “in the Spirit.” Don’t allow your walk with God to become dry and formalistic.
Another Key to Joy
The Jews, by and large, trusted in the flesh. They put their confidence in their own righteousness. They believed they could be righteous by their strict adherence to the Law. That error is what contributed to their religious experience becoming dead and ritualistic. Christians, on the other hand, put their confidence in Christ’s work, not their own! That understanding is what breathes life into the worship of a Christian.
For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
Paul is giving the Philippians yet another key to joy. We “rejoice in Christ Jesus!” We rejoice because our trust is in His righteousness not our own. We rejoice because our confidence is in Christ not ourselves. We can rejoice when our focus is on what He has done, not what we have done.
There is a joy that fills us when we trust in what He has done rather than what we have done.
This is a key to having joy in the Christian life. When people, like the Jews in Paul’s day, are trusting in their own righteousness, they will never have joy. They will have no joy because they will never measure up! Think about it – as long as our confidence is in our own righteousness and our own abilies – we will be repeatedly disappointed.
The Righteousness of Christ
There is a joy that comes when we surrender to the righteousness of Christ. There is a joy that fills us when we trust in what He has done rather than what we have done. We will never measure up. None of us. We don’t have it in us. But Christ measures up! Christ’s righteousness is sufficient. His strength is perfect. His ability is unmatched. And when we trust in Him and what He has done, and put our faith in the Cross of Calvary – then and only then – can we rejoice.
Perhaps you are lacking in joy because you are trusting in your own righteousness and are repeatedly disappointed with yourself. Remember, none of us are righteous, no not one. So let us “Put on Christ” in baptism and trust in His blood and righteousness. That’s a secret to joy!
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.