by Bruce Hanson

Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh—though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:1-14

There is a verse in Romans that reads as follows:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Many moons ago, the writers of the Living Bible added the word FREE before GIFT. They did so for the very reason Paul was writing to Philippi. Those dogs he spoke of were the Judaizers. They wanted to add conditions to that free gift. Paul extols his accomplishments, which were many, and then says that as notable as they may have been, they were literally dog doo when compared to that God-given free gift.  “Dung” is the literal translation of the Greek word skubalon (garbage, refuse).

Our concern right now at South Fellowship is with our spiritual and emotional health.  It is something we cannot ignore if we are to be Jesus’ ambassadors.

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

We are sinners. The corollary to that truth is that if we are sinners, we are guaranteed to have sinned. Repeatedly!! The King of those Judaizers (Satan) wants us to carry those sins around with us everywhere we go. Backs broken. Spiritual lights dimmed.

God has given us a provision and it is one we must take full advantage of.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

The wonderful result of that is this:

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12

Give those judaizing dogs a swift kick!! Satan wants us to stumble around with all our baggage. Wherever we go. That is not what God intends. Paul tells us to forget what is behind, and move forward as God has planned for us. There is assuredly a cost to our sinning, but leave the sins behind. If God can forget them, we certainly ought to do the same.

Put on those white robes and . . . . 

Forward March

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