STOP — Philippians 3:1–6
Paul wanted the Philippians to have joy and to worship in addition to honoring Epaphroditus, because God had been merciful.
Now that Paul has updated the Philippians he moved to provide some teaching. He wanted to warn them of false teachers. These teachers taught that it was important to be circumcised and follow other aspects of old covenant law in order to follow Jesus. Paul taught that it was not, that these things were merely external things that they should not place their confidence in. If they mattered Paul would have more reason than anyone to boast with confidence because his credentials were the best.
Our confidence is in the saving work of Jesus and the transforming work of the Spirit.
- Paul wanted to provide an update on himself, Timothy, and Epaphroditus to show the Philippians how God had been at work and provide them with a reason to rejoice, to thank God for what He was doing.
- The subject of false teaching was something Paul had addressed before, but he knew that it was something that needed to be revisited. False teaching is able to lead people astray and if we don’t stay vigilance it is easy to believe that they are teaching the truth.
- The line Paul draws between true faith and the false teaching is what we put our confidence in. Is our confidence in what we have done and who we are or is it in what Jesus has done and who the Spirit says we are.
- Verse 3 is key. Circumcision was the sign that people were part of God’s people in the old covenant. God’s people, the circumcision, in the new covenant are identified by their Spirit-guided worship and are confident in Jesus’s death and resurrection for salvation. Their confidence is in the actions of God and not in what they have accomplished.
- Paul wrote that if our confidence was in the things of the flesh, our ancestry and our actions, then he would have more confidence than anyone else. Very few other people could match Paul’s credentials.
Heavenly Father, thank You for providing the way of new life through Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection and the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. May I continue to rely on You for what I need.
Tomorrow: Philippians 3:7-11