Dogs?

The previous post in this series is:

Safeguard

The first post in this devotional series covering the book of Philippians is Devoted to Philippians.

Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision. (Philippians 3:2)

This verse always takes me by surprise. OK, not really surprising, but it hits pretty hard. Name-calling doesn’t seem to befit God. On the other hand, if the name fits ….

These “evil workers” and “dogs” were people who tried to force gentile believers to obey the Law of Moses. They were Paul’s worst enemies. They always came behind him wherever he preached the Gospel, and tried to convert those who accepted Christ to Judaism.

But, the Law cannot be kept. It is impossible to obey the Law. The purpose of the Law is to make humans understand that we simply cannot obey God enough.

The adherents of the Law1, if they are honest, admit they do not obey it fully. But, they want to force Christians to obey it. They think they are enhancing Christianity, but they have it exactly backward: Christians understand that we cannot obey fully, and thus we MUST have someone intervene for us. That Someone is Jesus.

Jesus fulfilled the Law. He was the only person who ever did. To try to attain salvation by going back to the Law is a slap in the face to Jesus. We would be saying in effect, “Your sacrifice wasn’t good enough. I need more.”

No wonder Paul calls them dogs and evil workers. They demand Christians to thumb their collective noses at God. Not good. Not good at all.

We do good out of gratitude for Jesus’s finished work, not because He requires us to.

The next post in this series is:

True vs. False Circumcision

  1. Here I include all legalists in Christianity as well. The same argument applies in full to modern legalists and legalism.

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