Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Wednesday after the Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on November 22, 2023 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Philippians 3:2-11 (NKJV)
3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
When Paul says “Beware of dogs,” he is warning the saints in Philippi particularly about the Judaizers, or the circumcision party. This Christian sect was widespread during the ministry of the apostles and caused a great deal of trouble in the churches which Paul had planted. In short, the Judaizers’ theology was ‘faith in Jesus’ plus ‘adherence to the Mosaic ceremonial law.’ They claimed: “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved,” (Acts 15:1).
The true teaching of the Scriptures is that we are saved by faith alone. Paul says: “we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” The party that faithfully understands circumcision worships God by trusting only in Jesus Christ. Men cannot please God simply by performing outward actions. Faith alone in the heart pleases God. Faith boasts nothing of itself, but places all confidence in the saving work of Christ.
We are the circumcision—the true children of Abraham—because like Abraham, we reject all our works as rubbish so that we may gain Christ and the righteousness which He freely gives us by faith.
Collect: O God, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by Thy Holy Spirit, that being ever mindful of the end of all things, and the day of Thy just judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of living here, and dwell with Thee forever hereafter; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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