“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.”
Paul starts chapter 3 telling the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord. What a great way to open a chapter. I just love to rejoice in the Lord There is so much to be thankful for and so little to complain about. I’d rather not listen to the complaints of the world, which are many, but instead lift up the name of my Savior and my Lord and rejoice in His goodness, mercy and grace. He then tells the church that they need to be aware a people among them who might be causing difficulties. Here we see a warning against dogs, evil workers and the concision. I’ve done a little research to find out exactly what these all mean so I’m giving my best attempt to narrow this down to what it means for us today.
The first warning is against dogs. These were people that would come against the doctrine of the Gospel and against the teachers, ready to tear apart anybody they would argue with them. Today it is obvious that we have a growing number of people that are opposing not only the gospel but even symbols that show our Christian faith. Some of these symbols have been standing for generations. Crosses in the middle of the desert, manger scenes on public property, the Ten Commandments in schools are just a few examples of ways the dogs are sneaking in and stealing the Christian identity from our country.
I blame the church for allowing this to happen. We have become so divided and so quiet. We take the verse that says blessed are the meek and we become so meek that we’re not speaking out for the rights of Christians in this country. I need to do a better job myself of standing up when these things happen. Most of the people and I know who don’t have a problem with what’s going on say that we are a diverse nation and we’ve always been dominated by Christianity. They say it’s time to become more diverse than our Christian symbols. I couldn’t disagree more. It is God, and our belief in God, that make this country great. If we let that slide, the country will slide as well. Let’s be aware of these dogs who want to come in and reshape our country into what it wasn’t meant to be
The evil workers in those days for the Judaizers who would sow seeds of discord and contention among the churches. They were in direct opposition not only the Gospel but to the very nature of the message of Christ because they didn’t understand it. Today we see a very watered-down Christianity which applies a grace only message and leaves out the fact that there is judgement to come for those who are not walking in the ways of Our Lord. I believe we’re in an age of grace where many will be deceived. Jesus said that even the very elect will be deceived in the last days (Matt 24:14). Are we in those days? Most would say we are. And the message of grace alone is a very deceiving message that mixers biblical truth with the doctrines of the world. Be careful of these evil workers
The concision in those days was were those who insisted circumcision had to still be observed in order to follow Christ. I hope we all know that the law was fulfilled by Christ and we no longer live under the law. However, there is still a law that we must follow and that is Christ. In many ways, He made what was written in the law more difficult. He made the law of adultery more difficult (Matt 5:28), he made the law of murder more difficult (Matt 5:22). Jesus did not negate the law – He fulfilled it and became our sacrifice for sin. When we accept Him as our Lord and Savior we need to follow Him completely and not leave anything out.
Paul’s warning to the Philippians transcends time. We need to be aware of these people still today. They are everywhere trying to rob the true gospel, soften it down, water it down and make it easy to get into the kingdom of heaven. Even Jesus said the gate is narrow and many will miss it (Matt 7:13). I don’t plan to be one that misses it. How about you?
Lord, keep me ever vigilant in following your word. Help me to come against those who might try to enter my church with a false message. Help me to always stand for the truth of the Gospel in it’s entirety, not just parts of it mixed with the message of the world. Keep me wise so I can always see the difference.