by John and Ruth Greene
In this world Christians face all manner of temptations, many of them through mental and emotional conditioning of the past and reaction to the present. This conditioning occurs on many levels through government, media and culture. As we live and grow, we see the distortion of earthly things over time and tend to identify with those things that we experience. We can be easily deceived through the attitudes and understandings of the world, especially when this knowledge is separated from scripture. Because Christians haven’t experienced either perfection or heaven, the perception of earthly things is often experienced as expression of ‘reality.’ In a world of commerce and influence, the reality of real spiritual law set by YHWH is overlooked or fashioned into another set of man-made laws. One place that disciples of Messiah are warned about this spiritual battle is in Philippians 3. (“Temptations & Tough Choices“; “Breaking the Hold of Addictions through Temptation“; “Breaking the Hold of the World: Addiction and Distorted Behavior“; “Source & Solution of Temptations“)
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Master. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs [false prophets], beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. [being cut off from YHWH]” – Philippians 3:1-2, RNKJV
To the apostle, it was not tedious to repeat to his brothers and sisters in truth about what was safe as they lived from day to day. (Luke 17:3; James 5:20; 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 4:2; 2 Thessalonians 3:13-15; Romans 15:14) So it is with any Christian that cares for faithful disciples of the Messiah. Just as Yahshua [Jesus] warned in Matthew 24, Paul warns of deception by evil workers, notably the Judaizers of the day, who opposed the fellow workers in the Messiah. Christians need to have the same concerns today. Paul warned his spiritual brothers to watch that their belief or faith was not mutilated or corrupted. He emphasized this so that they would not be cut off or separated from the truth of the Messiah and the face of YHWH. (2 Corinthians 11:18; Galatians 6:13; Ephesians 6:12; “Disciple: Renewing the Mind“; “Giving to Others While Trusting in YHWH for Your Needs“)
“For we are the circumcision, which worship YHWH in the spirit, and rejoice in the Messiah, and have no confidence in the flesh.” – Philippians 3:3, RNKJV
Disciples of Messiah are spiritually circumcised in the heart through belief. (Mark 1:15; John 4:24; Acts 15:1-20; 1 Corinthians 7:18-20; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, 11:14-15; Colossians 2:11) While physical circumcision was originally established through Abraham as a covenant, a physical mark of belonging to YHWH, Paul had warned the congregation in Philippi not to have confidence in the flesh, but in their relationship with the Father. (Romans 2:25-29; Galatians 5:6; Colossians 2:11; Ephesians 2:11) He admonishes all to rejoice in the sacrifice of Yahushua [Jesus] and to accept the Holy Spirit, worshiping YHWH in Spirit and truth. (Luke 24:44-48; “Abiding in Trust“; “YHWH is Your Shield and Salvation“; “Freedom from Spiritual Bondage“)
In contrast, Paul pointed out the thinking of the world and what values that the worldly thinking holds. You see this same thinking today as so many bask in the glow of their earthly credentials. (Philippians 3:4-6) He gave up glorifying these accomplishments of status and making himself a god before men. He willingly gave up this idolatry for his Messiah.
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for the Messiah. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of the Messiah Yahushua my Master: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win the Messiah, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of the Messiah, the righteousness which is of YHWH by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” – Philippians 3:7-11, RNKJV
The message can be lost in the words, so let’s review what is being said to us. Instead of following the ways of the world, disciples live in YHWH’s track of righteousness as a new man in Messiah, counting the things of the world as trash. (2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:9-17; Titus 3:5) This demonstrates love and obedience to the teaching of the Messiah and the righteousness that completion through the Messiah brings. (1 John 2:1, 3:1, 4:7-11) We are to be made conformable or similar to Him as an example, even to obedience! (Luke 6:46; Matthew 6:24, 7:21-27) This means that disciples must trust Him. This is not a sacrifice to anyone that loves YHWH and His sacrifice for us. It is a way of life born of the Spirit, how a disciple comes to know Elohim [YHWH], trusting in the power of His promised resurrection. However, this is not only about resurrection, but also the recovery of spiritual truth through the power of Elohim’s Spirit. (Mark 9:23-24; Romans 4:20-22; Hebrews 11:6; Proverbs 4:20-25; “Disciple: Renewing the Mind“; “YHWH’s Track of Righteousness“; “Disciples of Messiah: You are a Spiritual Watchman“)
“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of the Messiah Yahushua. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of YHWH in the Messiah Yahushua.” – Philippians 3:12-14, RNKJV
Because of the Messiah, Christians are not to be perfect as the religious and secular world often expresses. The Messiah and the Word of YHWH isn’t about perfectionism. Rather, Yahushua [Jesus] completes YHWH’s people, not only to His Father, but through His teaching of righteousness as a living example to others. Even as Paul pressed on in trust in his daily life, so all disciples of the Messiah must do. Disciples must look ahead, focusing on the Messiah as a watchman, searching for the truth of YHWH in life. Yahshua [Jesus] completes His disciples through trust and the Holy Spirit brings them to spiritual maturity. A watchful attitude will keep us from separation and through His Spirit, error will be revealed. We need to walk by the standard of YHWH as an expression of love and trust for Him. (Colossians 2:10-15; “What is the Standard of Life Conduct in a Disciple of Messiah?“; “Ambassadors for Messiah? Trust in His Promises“; “Credentials of a Disciple of Messiah“; “Beginning of Life Renewal“)
“Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, YHWH shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. ” – Philippians 3:15-16, RNKJV
We are reminded that men and women of the world are enemies of the Messiah, whose end is destruction. They set their minds on earthly things. Christians are to be followers of Yahshua [Jesus] the Messiah as a life pattern. (Philippians 3:17-19; Romans 12:1-2; “Disciple: The Pattern of Your Life“; “The Unpardonable Sin“)
“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Master Yahushua the Messiah: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. ” – Philippians 3:20-21, RNKJV
In reality, disciples of the Messiah are not simply passive citizens in a kingdom, some instrument that is the design of nations or even an entitlement of birth. The Greek word “politeuma” indicates active involvement and active intent, just as inheriting YHWH’s Kingdom requires an active role. Sitting on the sidelines or straddling the fence is not an option for those that love the provisions of Heaven. The word “apekdechomai” means that disciples of Yahshua [Jesus] wait expectantly for our Savior. The phrase ‘lowly bodies’ [tapeinosis] does not imply a negative attitude to the human body, but a perspective showing that the bodies that we will receive at the resurrection will be glorious like the Messiah, like His resurrected body. Our imperfect bodies are not vile, but lowly in rank, racked with the humiliation of sin. Those that struggle with pain, physical limitations or disabilities can be assured of wonderful expectation in the resurrection. The phrase, “according to the working,” is actually energy [energeia] where He has power [dunamai] even to subordinate all to Himself. (1 Corinthians 15:35; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; “Wavering Between Two Opinions“; “The Abomination That Causes Desolation“; “Messiah Teaches about Fruit in the Lives of People“; “Bible Truth: What is a Christian?“)
By willingly submitting to the teaching of the Messiah Yahushua and the counsel of the Holy Spirit, disciples become marked through personal belief, through their thinking. In this way, personal trust is sounded deeply into our hearts. This belief always has spiritual fruit which is demonstrated as the new man in Messiah. Disciples of the Messiah are marked through the Holy Spirit as the Father’s truth is sounded into our hearts. (Ephesians 1:13; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22) Where you place your confidence is reflected in the way that you live your life.