Daily Good News – Paul Is Upset
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Jul 16, 2015 784
“Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh” (Philippians 3:2).
The religion of Jesus sets before its adherents the immense challenge of doing good to all men—even to the extent of loving one’s enemies. Yet this does not mean that Christians should forsake the courage to protest known wrong. Only rarely did Jesus display anger, and ire is rare even in the language of Paul. But one thing raised his (Paul’s) hackles: when false men in the church misrepresented Christ’s message and turned it into an anti-gospel.
The issue that raised the apostle’s blood pressure in this situation was the insistence on circumcision as a requirement for salvation. Paul, in his rebuttal, parodied the word circumcision, and called his opponents “the concision” (i.e the ‘mutilators’, Philippians 3:2 (http://www.esvbible.org/search/Philippians%203.2/) ), thus making them equal to pagans who slashed themselves with knives. Strong language indeed!
There are many things that matter relatively little. Some ideas are so innocuous, it makes no difference whether they are believed in or not. But the message of Jesus—the gospel—holds concepts within it which are non-negotiable. Either human beings are made safe for God and for eternity by the achievement of Jesus, accessed by faith, or that blessing must be certified by their own work. If the former is true, joy, freedom and hope are in rich supply. If the latter applies, they will never be sure, will never be free, will never know joy.