Home Bible Study

"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

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Friday, May 17, 2019

Philippians 3:2 - (L 25)

Home Bible Study©

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

WWW. 2Tim215.Net

Established November 2008                                                          Published Weekly on Friday

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men (and women) to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).


Welcome to HBS.

"To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe” (3:1b).

Last week I explained the Bible is a progressive revelation.  We learn from the Scriptures as we diligently study our Bible, rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15, 3:16-17).

When Paul wrote “To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous…,” One thing we learn from this statement is the Bible is repetitive.  God is gracious to us in our weaknesses, and based on mankind’s history, He knows we’re likely to forget what He has said.  Thus, repetition is often used for emphasis or to drive home a spiritual point, but it’s also a teaching tool.  Before summer camp started the staff with a teaching responsibility were required to attend the camp pastor’s training seminar.  One of the things he taught us is “Repeat the main teaching point at least ten times in your Bible lesson,” and he repeated it ten times.   That was about twenty-five years ago, and I still remember these words, which proves repetitious teaching works.

But what does “but for you it is safe” mean?  I’m glad you asked.  Paul’s reminding these Believers of something he said earlier, they are not to be intimidated or “terrifiedby their adversaries i.e. the opposition:

And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.  For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me (1:28-30, 3:1- 4:1).

The adversaries Paul’s referencing above were enemies of the gospel of grace and we’ll get to this in just a minute.  Right now, I want to remind y’all of Paul’s command to the Philippians in 1:27: “Only let your conversation (behavior) be as it becometh the gospel of Christ…”  That is, “your speech full of grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man, (Colossians 4:6; Ephesians 4:29).

Not only are we to study God’s Word to find the answers to all our specific needs, we are called to present the Scriptures, rightly divided, to others as an answer for their needs.  This is one of the things Paul meant when he instructed the Philippians to “Hold forth the word of life;” (2:16a).  Their ministry to the unsaved was to be enhanced by being “blameless and harmless, the sons (and daughters) of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation (2:15).  In other words, their behavior had to be above reproach in order to share the gospel of grace effectively.  This is the pattern Paul set for these Believers and we’re to follow his lead.


Please open your Bible at Philippians 3:2.

Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision” (Literally, a cutting off.  Hence, in scripture, the religious Jews who stressed the need to be circumcised).  For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and (what) rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh (or Old Adam, i.e. our old man). 

Three times in verse 3:2 Paul said “Beware” in effect saying, “Be ever vigilant for dogs, evil workers, and those who herald circumcision.”  Paul used three negative terms to describe one group of people.  These men were adversaries of the gospel of grace, but who were they?  He didn't identify them here by name, but he did identify their characteristics, which in turn underscores their motivation.  So, we understand they are the Judaizers from Judea.  They traveled around in the first century promoting Judaism and they obstinately opposed the gospel of Christ and those who taught it. 

Please turn in your Bible to Acts 15:1-5.  Here we find Paul and Barnabas disputing with these men from Judea because they taught legalistic principles:    

And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.  When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.  And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.  And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.  But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them (Gentile converts), and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

Clearly, the Pharisees of verse 15:5 were attacking Paul's gospel.  They taught the necessity of adopting Jewish customs and practices, especially those found in the Mosaic Law to be saved and circumcision was a Jewish, religious practice.  Acts 15:5 reveals these Pharisees were Christian Believers, but with a twist.  They didn’t denounce Christ Jesus, but they believed it took more to be saved then simply believing Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). 

In 1 Corinthians 7:19, Paul said circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing; in effect saying good works cannot save anyone; what matters is obeying the commandments of God:

Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God (See 1 Corinthians 14:37).

But now,” dispensationaly speaking, Paul declared “the righteousness of God without the law is manifested (made clear), being witnessed by the law and the prophets; (Romans 3:21).

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law (Romans 3:28). 

Circumcision is mentioned about a hundred times in the Bible.  However, I don’t assume everyone understands why the Jews stressed the need  to be circumcised, so let’s take the time to visit Genesis 17 where this operation of man began: 


God’s Covenant of Circumcision

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.  And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.  And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.  Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.  And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.  And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.  And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.  This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.  And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the (Abrahamic) covenant betwixt me and you.  And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.  He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.  And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant (Genesis 17:1-14).

In 17:1-8, the LORD used the term "I will" seven times, revealing all He would do for Abraham and his descendants under the Abrahamic Covenant.  Then, starting with verse 9, He told Abraham what he needed to do for Him.  I split this passage along those lines for your benefit.  

I was taught things that are concealed in the O.T. are often revealed in the N.T. and we have an example before us.  Circumcision is normally thought of in the natural sense, but we soon discover in the N. T. God had a spiritual meaning in mind.  Paul informed us in 1 Corinthians 15:46 the natural comes first and then the spiritual.  This common thread of truth runs throughout the Bible.  First came Cain, and then Abel; Esau preceded Jacob, and Adam, the first man, came before the Son of Man, the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, etc.:

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.  Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual (1Corinthians 15:45-46).

To help you understand God’s spiritual purpose in circumcision let’s visit Deuteronomy 30:6:  And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart (Strong’s Hebrew #3824, meaning:  inner man, mind, will), and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Right off, this is an O. T. Bible verse, so this has to be a prophetic future event.  This verse is also telling us God will do something man is unable to do for themselves.  I don’t think it needs to be said, but just in case, this verse is not referring to the physical heart.  The word “heart” refers to the inner man, i.e. the spirit of man, so the LORD God is saying He will one day future circumcise the spirit of man.   

As a rule, circumcision doesn’t mean all that much to the Gentiles and from what I’ve read over the years the Israelites were not the first to practice it.  However, in the first three chapters of Romans, Paul deals with the condemnation of the entire human race, which underscored mankind’s desperate need for the gospel of grace.  In Romans 2:17-29, Paul began to specifically address the self-righteous Jews saying:

Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.  Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?  thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?  Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery?  thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?  Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?  For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.  Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?  And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?  For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter (of the law); whose praise is not of men, but of God.

In verses 2:28-29, God is contrasting and comparing two different groups of people.  Both are referred to as being Jews, but one group is said to be circumcised by God and the other group by the hands of men.  God initiated natural circumcision in the flesh with Abraham and his seed, etc.  This was a natural, outward token of the Abrahamic Covenant.  This religious rite was not performed by the LORD, this circumcision was performed by man.  So, down through the centuries, this ritual was performed on the male child 8 days after their birth (Leviticus 12:3).  This is the circumcision done by human hands God is speaking of and comparing to the “true” circumcision.  Those who have been circumcised inwardly of the heart (man’s inner spirit) are the “true” Jews.  The heart must be set apart unto God.  This pictured the reality that one must have his or her heart pierced and cut to the core by the sharp, two-edged sword of the Word of God.  So, physical circumcision is a picture of the spiritual circumcision that must take place in the life of every true Believer. 

In Galatians 6:15, Paul wrote:  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

This means there is no saving value whatsoever in physical circumcison.  If you recall, Paul addressed the false teachers, known as the Judaizers; they came into the church after Paul had left.  They told the Galatians to be saved you must obey the Mosaic Law and be circumcised, in effect, putting these grace Believers back under the Law.

We understand the “fickle” Galatian Believers were returning to and in some cases turning away from Paul’s gospel of grace to legalism, the sign of which is circumcision performed by man:  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:6-7).

Then later in Galatians 4:9- we learn these people were considering a complete acceptance of the law: 

But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?  Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.  I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

In Philippians 3:2, Paul used three derogatory terms to identify the Judaizers because they infiltrated the grace churches aiming to discredit him and undermine his gospel (Acts 15:1; Romans 2:16).  So, Paul warned them to beware of dogs, which was an offensive term; everyone knew what Paul meant.  Dogs were filthy, diseased scavengers that often ran in packs.  People detested them.  The Jews referred to the Gentiles as dogs, meaning the lowest of the low.  Jesus Himself used this negative term while speaking to the Canaanite woman (a Gentile) in Matthew 15:26:  But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.

The Judaizers were attacking Paul’s gospel and his ministry, so he responded in kind by borrowing a passage from Isaiah 56:10-11, denouncing their evil practice:

His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, They are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.  Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, And they are shepherds that cannot understand: They all look to their own way, Every one for his gain, from his quarter.

Perhaps now you understand why Paul warned the Philippians x3.  He doesn’t want the Jewish converts returning to legalism, and he doesn’t want the Gentiles forsaking the gospel of grace for something he referred to as “weak and beggarly” (Galatians 4:9; Ephesians 4:14).  Paul identified the Pharisees in three ways so the Philippians (and us today) could recognize them when (not if) they appeared on scene.  He doesn’t want anyone perverting the gospel of Christ Jesus and disturbing the liberty every true Believer presently has in Him. 

(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011

GJ Heitzman’s Ministry

All Rights Reserved


Saturday, May 11, 2019

Philippians 3:1 - (L 24)

Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
WWW. 2Tim215.Net

Established November 2008                                             Published Weekly on Friday

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).


Welcome to HBS.

Introduction to Philippians 3

After considering a couple of different ways of introducing Philippians 3 to y’all, I
decided the best approach is to open with the gospel of grace for two reasons:
#1 Many people are not aware this is the gospel that saves in the Dispensation of Grace.
#2 It’s being attacked by law-abiding Pharisees in Philippi.

Below we have Paul’s gospel (not the gospel the twelve preached) in its clearest form:
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which
also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in
memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered
unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins
according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third
day according to the scriptures:
(1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 2:16).

These Jewish naysayers perverted this gospel by adding “works of the flesh” to it.
They basically said to be saved you must obey the entire Mosaic Law, and the Mishnah
known as the “Oral Torah.” But Paul received by revelation from the risen Lord a new
set of commands for the Body of Christ (Ephesians 3:1-7).  The Law or religion for that
matter could not keep the Israelites from committing sin.  There was no power in the
Law to save anyone. Paul informed us “by the law is knowledge of sin:”

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by
the law is
the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).

In contrast, the gospel of grace is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Gentile)
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from (what) faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith (Romans 1:16-17).

As I’ve said multiple times many people have no idea Paul’s gospel exists.  I know this
because I never heard it in any of the churches I attended.  Then one day I met a Bible
teacher who taught the Scriptures, rightly divided, and this truth came to light; the rest
is history as they say. Then there are people that reject the idea their salvation is of God
(alone) and to the glory of God (alone) -Ephesians 2:1-10.  I’m referring to those who
preach your salvation is directly linked to the good things you do for God.

Anyone who adds something to Paul’s gospel or takes away from it perverts the gospel
of grace, which is a “free gift” from God (Ephesians 2:8-10).  All the people I know
appreciate gifts; whatever the occasion.  But you must know when you contribute
anything to that gift, it is no longer free, and it is no longer a gift.  You earned it or
purchased it by doing something (Romans 6:23).

So then, Paul’s opening remarks addressed a common problem in the churches then
and now. In the Philippian’s case Judaizers entered their house church saying you must
obey the entire Law to be saved and Paul’s saying, “Not so much.”  I offer a scripture
passage from Galatians as an example of this teaching: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace (not law) of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.  For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ (Galatians 1:6-10).

Jewish Pharisees (Judaizers - a Koine Greek term used only once in the N.T. by Paul when he publicly challenged Peter for compelling Gentile converts in Antioch to ‘judaize’ or adopt Jewish customs and practices, especially those found in the Mosaic Law to be saved) entered this Galatian assembly, seeking to undermine Paul’s apostolic authority and the gospel that saves.  In this case, they added “good works” to it and in doing so corrupted the gospel (Romans 2:16; Galatians 2:16; 2 Timothy 2:8).  In verse 3:2, Paul told the Philippians to beware” of these men, but we’ll get to that in the next lesson.


Please open your Bible at Philippians 3:1.

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me
indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

As you can plainly read, Paul begins by writing “Finally.”  When I use the word finally
it means I’m about to wrap up my discussion with the following statement.  But that’s
not what Paul means to say.  We know this because this letter does not end here, and
what’s more there’s another “finally” coming up later at verse 4:8.  The word “Finally” means a continuation or “more needs to be said.”  Today a common substitute for this word is “furthermore” or “in addition…”  So, this verse could read: Furthermore, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.”

It may not be obvious to the casual Bible reader, so I point out our Apostle Paul is
commanding these Believers (and us) to “rejoice in the Lord.”  That’s right this is a
command.  Philippians is often referred to as the epistle of “joy,” but here for the first
time he commands the saints in Philippi “to rejoice (Chairo: to experience joy and
gladness in a high degree), in the Lord.”

Paul is moving on from his previous topic in 2:19-30 where he wrote about the future
visits of two faithful co-laborers namely Timothy and Epaphroditus.  Both these men
served God and Paul on the front lines of the faith and suffered for it.  Then, starting in
3:1 and continuing to 4:1 he takes on a new subject which is the Philippian’s religious
enemies (adversaries), introducing it with the command “Rejoice in the Lord.”  I tend
to think this command ends his previous discussion regarding Epaphroditus’s severe
illness and his restored health thanks to God’s intervention.  God is good, all the time!
But I see no problem in allowing it to introduce this next section of scripture; it works
both ways.

Since this is a command from God, we ought to understand what it means.  We recently
studied the messenger for the Philippian church Epaphroditus.  He carried their
monetary gift to Paul who was imprisoned in Rome.  Along the way he became
seriously ill and almost died.  I’ll take the time here to remind y’all of a biblical truth.
Every true Believer will suffer for the sake of Christ Jesus:

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to
suffer for his sake; (Philippians 1:29; 2 Corinthians 4:17; 2 Timothy 3:12).

The Lord Jesus Christ was ridiculed, scorned, and persecuted unto death on the cross.
Paul experienced more suffering than any other apostle (2 Corinthians 11:16-33).  So, I
ask you, what makes us think we’ll live the utopian life?  Paul clearly teaches conflict
(persecution) is coming our way.  I hold up Paul’s right behavior while visiting
Philippi.  He and Silas were falsely accused, arrested, beaten with rods, and imprisoned.
What was their reaction to this persecution? Anyone remember?  There was no
complaining or disgruntled behavior.  Instead, they sang hymns of praise unto God and
prayed aloud, in effect, rejoicing in the Lord (Acts 16:16-40).  These godly men were
not caught up in their persecution and suffering, instead their focus was on the
glorification of God and openly expressing thanksgiving for all the things His Son
accomplished for them on the cross.

If you recall, Paul’s prison letters have been referred to as “the deep end of the pool,”
meaning they contain deeper spiritual truth for the Body of Christ.  In this letter Paul
emphasizes the true joy (gladness) that comes from knowing the Lord Jesus Christ
personally.  So, when he wrote: “rejoice in the Lord,” in effect, he’s saying God the
Father has provided wonderful and glorious spiritual blessings to the one who has put
his or her faith in Christ.  He has given all these spiritual blessings to us because he
loves us (Romans 5:8-9).

We find Paul proclaiming many of these blessings in the opening verses of Ephesians.  I
point out to y’all these blessings are to the praise of the glory of God’s grace:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all
spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest (down payment) of our inheritance until (denotes a future time, specifically) the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of (whose glory) his glory (Ephesians 1:3-6).

These blessings are often referred to as a “spiritual package.”  When a person believes
the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), he or she enters a new relationship with God.  The
Believer is no longer God’s enemy they are now an adopted son or daughter of God.  That change alone should elicit joyful praise from us from sunup to sundown, But there’s more. The individual now stands in an unending stream of God’s grace from which all blessings flow.  These blessings, though real, must be appropriated by faith before the person can experience them.  The Scriptures declare what God said about these present possessions for those who have placed their faith in His Son and left it there.  Believe them!  Thus, the path to salvation in the Believer’s life is through faith (alone) apart from works of any kind or believing God’s “good news” in the dispensation of grace.

It needs to be said or reaffirmed this “spiritual package” of blessings from God the Father are for those who have placed their faith in the gospel of grace.  For those who reject Christ’s love and redemption, only judgment and condemnation awaits.  In other words, God doesn’t send people to Hell and then the Lake of Fire; it’s the path they chose for themselves because of their unbelief. God merely accommodates their choice. So, let’s be clear, Jesus came to save all lost mankind.  He desires all to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1Timothy 2:3-4).  His death, burial, and resurrection solved humanity’s sin and death problem; all we need do is believe it.  I know that sounds too simple, but it’s the truth.

There’s always a flipside and here it is.  Jesus warned judgment awaits those who refuse
God’s love and “free gift” of grace: We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (1 Thessalonians 1:3-9).

I don’t think this scripture passage needs explaining.  I chose it because its message is
abundantly clear.  Choose God and receive eternal life.  Choose any other path and
you’ll receive His eternal condemnation, so don’t blame God for a decision you made.
For those willing to put their faith in Christ, God has provided incomprehensible
blessings.  We are rich beyond our wildest imagination.  I’ve placed some of the specific
blessings below.  I won’t take the time to define each one; I leave that to the dedicated
Bible student:

Eternal Life
Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

So, Paul is telling us we can “Rejoice in the Lord” or experience “gladness” because
this emotion stems from our eternal relationship with God the Father through faith in
the shed blood of His Son.  Furthermore, God won’t ever “unfriend” us for something
we said, something we did, or didn’t do.  If you believed the gospel of grace, then all
your sins, past, present, and future have been erased.  There’s no need to ask God to
forgive you; your sin is covered by the blood of Jesus Christ:  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it (Colossians 2:13-14).

Permit me to illustrate: Superhydrophobic coating repels any liquid.  It’s amazing stuff!
I witnessed a test trial.  Buckets of mud were thrown at two men in suits.  The treated
man was left untouched, while the other gentleman was completely covered in grime.
No matter what material they coated, liquids ran right off, even if it was a sticky
substance.  This illustration serves to teach this biblical truth: Jesus’ sacrificial death of
the cross for all may be likened to Superhydrophobic coating.  When a person receives
God’s gift of forgiveness, condemnation for all sin simply rolls right off, past, present,
and future.  It has nothing to do with the material of the person who is coated in Jesus’
forgiveness but has everything to do with the perfection of what they are coated with,
specifically, the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ.  The perfection that comes
from faith in Jesus’ sacrifice has no end, even though those who have been made perfect
are still in the process of present sanctification or “being made holy.”  What makes us
perfect in the eyes of God is not what we do or don’t do, but what God’s Son did on our
behalf – it truly “is finished.”  Therefore, we can “Rejoice in the Lord” for all He has
done for us!

Let’s look at verse 3:1b.

…To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

I’ll begin by saying I’ve heard a few people teach this statement implies Paul wrote more than one letter to the Philippians and he’s repeating himself here.  I don’t know if this is true or not.  I do know people are undecided about whether there was a “lost letter,” often referred to as “the sorrowful letter” in between 1 and 2 Corinthians.  Here’s the Bible verse: For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season (2 Corinthians 7:8).

The thing I’m sure of is the Bible is a progressive revelation.  God does not reveal all His
truths to us in the book of Genesis, instead we collect them as we move along, line-byline, verse-by-verse.  The other thing I’m certain of is the Bible is repetitious; it says the same thing or close to the same thing again and again.  Paul was repetitious in his preaching and I follow that entrenched program for the gospel’s sake, as well as yours.  Years ago, I began a house-to-house Bible study.  We’d move from one person’s living-room to another twice a month.  There were as many as six married couples, not including myself and my ex-spouse, and two single people.  I wanted more people to be invited, but that idea was shot down repeatedly.  I taught these people the scriptures, rightly divided, for more than 7 years, one-on-one, in some cases.  I provided hand-outs of the lesson each week, I had visual aids when possible, and had them read the Bible passages under study.  After all the years of repetitious, in-depth, Bible study, I had one of my students approach me with the question, “What is Pauline Doctrine?"  Another individual asked me in a round-about-way "You mean, if it were not for the apostle Paul, we would not have Christianity today?"
Some others wouldn’t even ask me a question during the class or afterwards for fear of being recognized as “lost in space…”  So, I’m not surprised to find Paul telling the Philippians “To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

Every Believer in Christ is not the same.  Each one is at a different place on their spiritual walk with the Lord.  Some have a better understanding of the Scriptures than others and I recognize the fact we must allow the Holy Spirit to bring them along.  The things they do not understand today will someday come to light, as they spend more time in God’s Word.  So, we need to be patient when we share the Word of Truth with others, especially the unsaved.  I heard it said more than once the gospel that saves today must be heard seven times before it is acted upon.

Here’s my teaching point: Some folks are simply unwilling to learn despite your best efforts. They choose to remain “ignorant.”  Some of these folks, not all, had been denominationally indoctrinated and they refuse to learn anything new.  This was one of the difficulties I faced month-after-month.  My students would identify themselves as “a Baptist,” “a Methodist,” or some other church denomination.  Only two people in attendance said they were a “diligent student of God’s Word.”  Most of them chose to follow the “teachings of men,” rather than the commandments of God.  Paul addressed this concern in 1 Corinthians 14:37-38: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be (what) ignorant, let him be ignorant.”

I pointed out in the introduction of this lesson God wants all men to come to the
knowledge of the truth and be saved.  So, is the passage above a contradiction?  Hardly.
If God the Father wanted people to remain ignorant of the Truth, we would not have the Bible.  Fact of the matter is people choose to remain in the dark rather than enlightened by the Word of truth.  Again, men and women choose this path it’s not in accordance with God’s will (Ephesians 1:8-9).

In keeping with the context of this Bible passage, Paul’s referring to those folks who may or may not be aware of his God-given apostolic authority.  If someone prefers to believe Paul’s writings are only the teaching of men, and not the Lord’s commandments, then he or she is to remain ignorant.  The Creator God values free will.  We know this because every person born into this world possesses the ability to make choices.  No one is commanded to take God’s truths to heart, and those who opt to go this way obviously choose ignorance over knowledge of the truth:  

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

(To be continued)

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