“Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh.” (Philippians 3:2 NIV)

In the Christian community of believers, the call to “watch out” is normally a plea to avoid the sinful pitfalls that exist out there in the world. But not in this verse. Paul is warning us to watch out for the sinful pitfalls within the Christian community. In Paul’s day, there were converts to Christianity who could not let go of the legalism of Judaism. They heaped legal requirements on top of faith in Jesus Christ as requirements to be saved. Specifically, they required adherence to the rite of circumcision and other external practices. Notice how seriously Paul addresses the issue. He calls them dogs, evildoers and mutilators of the flesh. He recognized that if any legal requirement were added to the message of gospel it would detract from the grace and complete forgiveness the gospel offers. The gospel must stand alone as God’s act of love and mercy that completely makes us right with Him. Faith in what God has done is the only requirement. Any works on our part will lead us to always ask, “have I done it enough?” or ” Have I done it completely enough?”

Is there anything in your understanding of Christianity that is creating doubt in your heart about your salvation? Is there anything in your belief system that is taking away from the full and complete work of salvation that God has performed for you? If so, it must be removed. It must be put in its rightful place in your theological thinking. Most likely, that thing, whatever it is, needs to be put in the area of sanctification (How should I live as a Christian?), then in the area of justification (How do I get right with God?). The only way to get right with God is to believe that He has done it all through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You are made right with God through His grace and His work of salvation.

Let’s remove anything that creates doubt or detracts from the complete work of salvation performed by our God.

Peace!

Pastor Tom

www.firmlyrooted.org

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