How do we keep it straight? There’s the “Children of Israel”, the “Jews”, the “Gentiles”, the “Sons of God”, and “The Circumcision,” how do we know what we are? Our verse today cuts a clean line down through all the confusion. And on the tails of the last post, I think we need to know what our standing in God’s family is.
Here is our verse;
“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh.” Philippians 3:3
Okay. So what does that mean? I’m a woman. How could this have anything to do with me? First of all, relax women, the circumcision was never meant for women. Second Paul, is referring to an Old Testament law. We’ve all heard about circumcision and maybe had it done on our sons, but what does it mean? When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he brought with him the Ten Commandments. He also brought down the laws that would begin governing the newly independent nation of Israel. Just imagine the day the Israelites finally escape from Egypt and the Pharaoh. They look around at over 2 million of their countryman and rejoice, but now what? God knew He had to set up housekeeping and fast. He sent Moses down with laws for the people, for their worship protocol and for the priests protocol. One of the laws was, the men had to be circumcised on the Sabbath Day, (the Lord’s Day) and all the baby boys on the eighth day after their births. The men did this to honor the Lord with their bodies and to set themselves apart as God’s people. I’m not going to go over whether to circumcise or not to circumcise, but we do know that God does everything for blessing and/or protection. Studies have shown that circumcision is a much cleaner way to go. Okay, enough about the physical let’s look at the spiritual side of this. In their day and time, this act set them apart from every other male living on the planet. It identified them.
Fast forward to Paul’s day (after the day of Pentecost and God pouring His gift of salvation out on all mankind, which had not been available to Moses) and there were Jews who were saying that anyone NOT circumcised, or of the Jewish race, could not be a child of God. They were basing their whole judgement and identity on that one physical condition. (They were saying that anyone from outside the Jewish nation was still screwed eternally.) A Gentile is just another way of saying everyone who is an unbeliever and not a Jew. There were many leaders and teachers after Jesus Christ and the day of Pentecost who were convinced that the gift of Holy Spirit was still just for the children of Israel and was not given to the Gentiles. Paul, a Hebrew, and a Jew is trying to tell them no. The circumcision, or being set apart by God, is now a spiritual identity not a fleshly circumcision. We have no confidence in the flesh because it doesn’t matter what race, gender, background or country you come from Jesus Christ joined us all.
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but (we are) a new creature.” Galatians 6:15
Paul was scolding the Jews because the Jews were being racist!
WOW! There is truly nothing new under the sun! Racism is an old ploy of the devil’s. How was he, the devil, employing it? Verse 2! Ha! (I sure hope you read yesterday’s post.) He would get them backbiting, then doing evil works, like separating themselves from the other believers, and then they were bringing along with them young believers from Greece or other countries who looked up to them and then circumcising them. YEP! They weren’t even born of the race of Jews nor did they have to be circumcised, but now they were being “adopted in” so to speak simply by the fleshly mutilation(or the cutting of oneself) of circumcision. Wow. Is this going on today? You bet it is. What’s wrong with circumcision? Nothing, absolutely nothing. But circumcision is not how you get born-again. Circumcision is not how you become a set apart into the family of God anymore. Romans 10:9-10 IS. Do you see how the devil convinced and tricked them with this misstep? That would sure keep people out of God’s kingdom, isn’t that what the devil wants?
I’d like to say a few words about the racism. As a topic, what does racism do? Divides people. What does the devil want to do? Divide you from your pack (as I said yesterday). What does Paul say we should identify with? The Christ in us. God is the creator of us all. He cherishes each one of us. He wanted the race thing to change from the “Jews Only” rule. That’s why he sent Jesus Christ. Jesus had to be a Jew to bridge the gap that we now stand in for people. God is the least racist guy ever. He’s the only one who could change the rules, so He did. He gave all humans an opportunity to believe Romans 10:9-10 and receive a rare and perfect gift!
Paul says, “For we are the (true) circumcision, which worship God in the spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh.”
Whether, English, Irish, African, Mexican, Philippine, Chinese, Jewish, none of these make a hill a beans when it comes to the true identity of the Christ in us. When I see that love for God in someone’s eyes, I don’t even realize any difference. The only time I think about race is when it’s brought up in the news, and I pray for the time when it is no longer something that riles people up. If we could really look at it and determine who of the black, white, latino etc., we’d see there are born again believers in all the races, there are also downright evil unbelieving people in all the races. So let’s throw race out the window as a judgment and just focus on what Paul says, we worship in spirit. Those who worship with us are our family and that’s that.
“Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
God bless you today!