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  • East Martin CRC

Beware of the Dogs

Philippians 3:1-11

Verse 2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh.

One of the safeguards that Paul referred to in our key verse yesterday was a touchy subject for these Gentile believers. Paul needed his readers to see the difference between the signs of a choice of tradition and a choice of heart.

Even after all these centuries the same choice remains for us. We may have been raised in the Church and yet the Church isn’t our Savior. Oh, it’s easy to fall into the pattern of thinking that we are safe because we know the ins and outs of the Christian life. We know what is expected and we know just how close to the edge of sin we can get and not feel guilty. Sadly that is the extent of many who claim to be a part of the true Church.

There are those who falsely teach that obedience to the law is the way to salvation. That even though you believe that Jesus is God and that He came to die for our sins, that we still have to follow the letter of the law given to Moses to be saved. This teaching, as innocent as it may sound, is a stumbling block to believing the truth about Christ and His sacrifice.

Paul knew what was required in the law. He had been raised to be the strictest of followers of the law. He was a member of the very sect of people that constantly ridiculed Jesus about not following the law properly, the Pharisees. Jesus was not someone who walked into the country not knowing the law. As a child He had also been raised to know these laws. He would have had to memorize the books of law just as any Jewish boy was required to, but there was one difference, He had been there when the law was originally given to Moses.

Jesus knew not just the law as it was given, He knew the law in the intent in which it was given. Jesus knew that each and every one of those laws not only had a context, they had an intent of changing the people of God from just being rule followers to be God’s holy people. God had given the law not to rule over His people with an oppressive fist but with a desire for relationship with His chosen people.

Making It Personal

What does knowing God’s law mean to you? Do you obey out of obligation or love? What needs to change in your heart about obeying Him?

Making It Personal Kids

Why does Jesus want you to obey Him? Is it easier to obey someone you love? Do you choose to obey Jesus?

Closing Prayer

Father, it is so easy to become a slave to the law and not enjoy obedience in love of You. Help us gain a proper understanding the law and our need for it. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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