Thursday, June 9, 2011
For Your Own Safety
Php 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. 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
Having told the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord, Paul now tells them something for their own safety. He says that he is not even grieved to have to warn them about false teachers. Such is the heart of the soul winner, church planter and faithful shepherd. The sheep come first. The feelings of sheep devourers he could care less about.
Beware of dogs - Isaiah (56:10) calls false prophets "dumb dogs". These are they who bring in false doctrines, damnable heresies. If their work results in just one soul spending eternity in hell, they must be called what they are, dogs! Their works must be made manifest and brought to light. Elsewhere, Paul reminds us that dogs return to their own vomit. These Judaizers profess faith in Christ but turn back to the old ways, preaching works and appearances for righteousness.
Beware of evil workers - Their evil works subvert the true gospel. Paul calls for them to be pronounced "anathema" that is, accursed. They are to be shunned, not even to be wished "god speed".
Beware of the concision - in the next verse, true believers are called the "circumcision", that is, they are made to be peculiar, a covenanted people in Christ. But these dogs and evil workers are merely called "the concision." It is kind of a play on words. “Katatome” means mutilation or amputation. In other words, there are those true believers whose hearts are marked by their faith in Christ, and then there are these false believers/teachers whose lives, messages and works are marked by mutilation. They tear down rather than build up, they cut rather than repair, they dissemble instead of gather together.
Believe me, these wolves are hopping from church to church in our day, leaving decimation and ruin in their wakes. They must be identified and challenged to repent or be exposed and run off.
David felt no compunction for the bear or the lion he slew to save his sheep. Paul felt no grief in warning his spiritual prodigy. Neither should we leaders be sheepish in exposing the dogs, evil workers and mutilators.