April 3, 2021
- By Ed Powell
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"Beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." Philippians 3:2-3
Throughout our churches, we find not only varied forms of customs, creeds, and traditions that comprise worship to many, but also an expanded concept of worship by those who form the body of worshipers. What characterizes a true worshiper? What is the attitude of our heart when we come to worship the Lord? How does our everyday life testify to the faith we proclaim? Are any of these things important to you as a professing Christian? They are more important than you realize!
Paul was concerned with all of these questions. Just before revealing the tremendous testimony of his background to the believers, God's work of grace in his life, and the new focus of his heart and life, he pointedly reminded them, "Be aware of the concision." Who were they? They were distinctly different; they were evil-workers, mutilators of the flesh. Paul says, "We are the circumcision." God had made a covenant with Abraham, and the sign and seal of that covenant was "circumcision." It was evidence of a special relationship the people of Israel had with God. That was a sign identifying them as God's chosen people.
Unfortunately, the people of Israel were well known for their physical circumcision, but many lacked the "circumcision of their spiritual lives." They were very technical in the religious observance of circumcision, but very lax and indifferent to the spiritual circumcision, the reality of having their hearts and lives separated from all that was displeasing to God. It was, as we see in so many churches today: religion without reality and ritual without response. It was creeds without confession and a form of worship denying the power thereof.
Paul said, "We are the circumcision which worship God in the Spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." Among the professed believers in Philippi, Paul saw many who were zealous advocates of the externals of religion, while altogether destitute of its life and the power of God that radically changes lives from within. It was not life produced by their efforts or observances of creeds, customs, or traditions, but FAITH IN THE LIVING CHRIST. It is the result of recognizing our totally lost condition as a sinner before a holy God and receiving Christ as our Savior. It is then that the believer recognizes the true significance of the customs, forms, and traditions of worship that exist to magnify the Lord and exalt Him in His rightful place, not to take the place of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the sole object of our affection and worship. They are not the props of a professing faith, but channels by which we recognize more fully the place He occupies on the throne of our hearts. Jesus Christ is the One sitting at the right hand of the Father, "high and lifted up," to whom we bow in reverential praise and worship, and cry out with the seraphim, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory!" Let not the "concision" confuse, change, alter, or affect the true commitment of your heart to Christ by persuading you to put your confidence in the flesh. WE WORSHIP GOD IN AND BY THE SPIRIT. We exult and glory in Christ Jesus, Our Lord and Savior! It is He who is to be magnified and exalted!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?date=2021-04-03
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