Philippians 3

Philippians 3:1

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.

(a) A safeguard for you. Many of Paul’s letters contain warnings: “Watch out for those who put obstacles in your way contrary to what you have been taught” (Rom. 16:17). “See that no one takes you captive through philosophy which depends on men rather than Christ” (Col. 2:8). “If anyone preaches a different gospel, let him be cursed” (Gal. 1:8). “Charge certain men not to teach a different doctrine” (1 Tim. 1:3).

In addition to preaching the good news, Paul warned his readers about false teachings that cause us to drift from faith in Jesus and lead us down the path of dead works. The issue facing the Philippians was the old covenant law of circumcision.

Philippians 3:2

Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;

(a) Beware of the dogs. Paul warned the Ephesians to beware savage wolves and he warned the Philippians to beware of Judaizing dogs. Dog was a derogatory term normally applied to the Gentiles (Matt. 7:6, 15:26). Here Paul uses the term to describe snarling men bearing circumcision knives.

(b) Evil workers. We tend to think of evil workers as people who do bad things, but in scripture an evil worker or evildoer is anyone who promotes unbelief in the finished work of the cross.

(c) The false circumcision done with knives can be contrasted with the true circumcision of the heart done by the Spirit (Rom. 2:29).

Further reading: “Beware the dogs of law

Philippians 3:20

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;

We eagerly wait. In his eschatological parables Jesus told stories of masters, noblemen, and bridegrooms being gone “a long time” (Matt. 24:48, 25:5, 25:19). Since Jesus has been gone a long time, he exhorts us to “be like servants waiting for their master” (Luke 12:36). The need to wait is echoed by the epistle writers. “Wait eagerly for our adoption as sons” (Rom 8:23); “We hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it” (Rom 8:25); “We eagerly await a Savior” (Php. 3:20); “Be patient brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits…” (Jas. 5:7); “Wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life” (Jude 1:21).

Jesus and every New Testament writer spoke of the need to wait patiently and eagerly for the Lord’s return. We are to be watchful and ready, but we are not to put life on hold. Plant trees and raise families, and do whatever God put you on this earth to do. Invest, build, dig deep and go long. Let your light shine so others may praise your Father in heaven.

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