Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Wednesday after the Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on November 17, 2021 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.
“Beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit.”
“The mutilation” means the Jews. He calls them “the mutilation” because they were physically circumcised, but not spiritually. They did not understand that the promise of circumcision had pointed to the Christ. Since the Jews deny the Christ, their circumcision is without meaning and nothing more than self-mutilation.
In contrast to this, St. Paul declares, “We are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit.” We who are born again through Baptism and the Spirit have the circumcision of the heart—which is repentance unto life in the Lord Jesus Christ. Even in the Old Testament, circumcision helped no one if it was not accompanied by true repentance, for Moses had said, “circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer” (Deut. 10:16).
Now that the Christ has fulfilled the Old Testament, physical circumcision has no spiritual purpose. What matters is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, as received through the sacrament of Baptism. It is written: “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith” (Col. 2:11–12).
Prayer: 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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