“Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh…” (Philippians 3:2-3)
Worship is all about where we place our confidence.
“Confidence in the flesh” was the greatest threat to the worship of the Philippian church in the apostle Paul’s day. Those to whom he referred as “dogs” were putting pressure on the Philippians to make the Hebrew custom of circumcision a prerequisite for authentic worship. They were essentially teaching that faith in Christ wasn’t enough to make them clean before God. Something more was needed to cleanse them—something that they could accomplish without God.
But Paul reminds the Philippians that there are only two options before them—trusting in Jesus or the flesh. All who trust in Christ alone are, in fact, the true circumcision—those of whom Moses prophesied, “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live” (Deut. 30:6).
According to John Calvin, the flesh is “anything that is outside of Christ.” If that’s true, things are the same in our day as they were in Paul’s. We too have a tendency to put our confidence in the flesh—moral rectitude, political affiliation, church tradition, religious performance, social status, etc. Like “the dogs,” we tend toward wanting to make worship about what we can accomplish without God.
But to worship Him truly, all confidence in the flesh must be cut away from our hearts. We must realize that confidence in Christ—the kind of confidence that occurs supernaturally by grace through faith—is what makes us clean before God. It’s what makes us “circumcised” in His eyes. And therefore it’s all that truly counts.
So perhaps now’s the time to prayerfully ask, In what areas of my life do I routinely find myself misplacing my confidence? Where am I still living as if Jesus isn’t enough? What Christ-substitutes do I keep running to and why?
To stir our hearts in worship as we ask these questions, I want to introduce you to a new song we’ll be singing for this first time in LifePoint’s gathering this Sunday. It’s called Devotion. The lyrics of the song remind us of what it means to love Jesus with a devotion that stems from confidence in Him alone:
My life is a story bought by grace
Love unrelenting called my name
O what a mystery, O what grace
I am changed
All my affection, all of my praise
All my devotion for all of my days
Pour out my worship, lift up Your name
Jesus You’re all that I needed and more
Your riches of mercy overflow
Love that surpasses all I know
I’m filled with the wonder of who You are
Who You are
You have my heart
You have my soul
You have my yes
You have my all
(© 2016 SHOUT! Music Publishing, Thankyou Music, and Tim Hughes Designee)
Those are words we need to sing. They’re what our hearts need to hear. For without complete confidence in Christ there can be no true worship of God. So let’s be ready to sing this on the Lord’s Day in order that together we might devote ourselves to the Savior whose grace and love have transformed our lives.
For further preparation for the Lord’s Day read or study Philippians 3:2-11.
Set List for Sunday, August 06, 2017:
10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) – Matt Redman (J. Myrin, M. Redman)
The Lion And The Lamb – Bethel Music (B. Brown, B. Johnson, L. Mooring)
Holy, Holy, Holy (Savior And King) – Gateway Worship (W. Beach, J. B. Dykes)
Doxology – traditional (T. Ken)
Devotion – Worship Central (L. Hellebronthe, T. Hughes, D. Ussher)
All I Have Is Christ – Sovereign Grace Music (J. Kauflin)
You can also listen to a playlist of LifePoint’s current song rotation on Spotify.