Beware of the Concision
Now the Book of Philippians makes it clear that the greatest danger we face as Christians, is not sufferings, trials and tribulations, etc., because if we trust the Lord, all of these things will cause us to become more dependent upon the Lord. Also, as we trust in the Lord and not in ourselves, these things will bring forth in us a faithful and lasting endurance in the Lord (Romans 5:1-5). Therefore the greatest danger facing Christians, who are growing in the Lord, is the message of the false cross. The message of the false cross is not a spiritual message, because only the Lord, by His Spirit, can give us that which is truly spiritual. No! The false cross is a seductive religious message that is designed by satan to appeal to the religious self-life of the people of God. Now the majority of us who are Christians know that satan knows exactly how to seduce and satisfy the sinful and lustful desires of our adamic nature. And we know that we must resist the devil in all these things.
Nevertheless, we must also realize that the message of the false cross has been methodically and subtly designed by satan to satisfy, to please, to delight, to appease, to indulge and to fulfill the religious part of our self-life. The message of the false cross is designed to satisfy our self-righteousness, to satisfy our self-preeminence, to satisfy our self- indulgence, to satisfy our self-esteem, to satisfy our self-importance in the realm of religiosity. The false cross is very religious, and it is always the direct opposite of the True Way of the Cross and its principle of self-denial. Paul understood this when he cried at the end of his life, "that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" ((Phil. 3:8, 9). Paul is telling us that even the good things about our human nature and what it can accomplish is nothing bur dung, useless waste in the sight of God.
No wonder we are warned to "beware of the concision" - the cutting of ourselves - because it refers to the message of the false cross, it refers to the circumcision made with hands, and not the circumcision that can be found in Christ only. The message of the false cross is the message that does everything to cause us to have confidence in the flesh, to trust in ourselves and in our natural abilities, even in the holy things of God. However, if we are really maturing in the Lord, we will be able to say by the Spirit: "For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." In other words, we worship God, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, because we are those who have no confidence in the flesh, and no trust in human worthiness and attainment (Phil. 3:3).
So as we proceed, let us keep in mind that first of all, the false cross is satan's counterfeit of the Altar of the Lord, it is the counterfeit of the Shed Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ upon His Cross. Then, secondly, it is satan's counterfeit of the true "circumcision of the heart, in and by the Spirit" (Romans 2:29). It is the counterfeit of THE TRUE CIRCUMCISION WHICH IS ONLY IN CHRIST.
Remember, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write these three warnings to the Christians at Philippi, who were among those who were maturing in the Lord: "beware of the gods, beware of the evil workers, beware of the concision." Now in order to understand more fully the meaning of the concision, and what it means to "cut themselves," we need to consider the other two warnings, because all three of these warnings are intertwined together, as satan works to seduce the bondservants of the Lord with the message of the false cross.
"Beware of the Dogs"
In the Bible, "the dogs" are figurative of that which was unclean, they are symbolic of that which would defile the holy things of God, for Jesus said: "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you" (Matthew 7:6). In Revelation 22:14 and 15, we find the last time that "the dogs" are mentioned in the Word of God, and these scriptures confirm that 'the dogs" speak of that which is filthy, unclean and defiling. Therefore, God's final judgment upon "the dogs" that would trample the holy things under their feet, and defile them, is this: they shall in no wise enter into the Holy City of God! "Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." And In Revelation 21:27, the Word of God clearly states: "And there shall in no wise enter into it [the holy city] anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's Book of Life."
So the Word of God defines "the dogs" as anything that defiles, or whosoever, or whatsoever, worketh abomination, or loveth and maketh a lie. In other words, "the dogs" have their portion in the lie of the devil, for he is a liar, and the father of it - he is the father of the lie (John 8:44). Beloved, we have learned that from the beginning, "THE LIE" of the serpent, who is called the devil and satan, has been that man can worship and serve God without the Cross of Jesus Christ: - without the Shed Blood of Jesus Christ "Which taketh away the sin of the whole world" - without the Cross and its principle of self-denial, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me" (John 1:29; Luke 9:23). Therefore, "the dogs" are messengers of satan, and their message is the lie of the devil, it is the message of the false cross.
Furthermore, in Revelation, chapters 21 and 22, the Word of God makes it clear that "the dogs" are messengers of satan, because they are determined to defile the holy city, new Jerusalem, that cometh down from above, they are determined to defile the bride of Christ (Revelation 21:2, 9 and 10). In other words, "the dogs" are part of satan's evil strategy to destroy the union between Christ and His bride.
Now we have seen that "the dogs" and the lie and the abominations of satan have no place in the holy city that cometh down from above, because John records this in the Holy Word of God: "I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, all arrayed like a bride beautified and adorned for her husband." 2000 years ago, the Lord showed John, in the Spirit - through the Eternal eyes of the Holy Spirit - the holy city, the new Jerusalem, "the bride, the Lamb's wife" as she would be in the fullness of times, when all things are completely finished in Christ. He showed John the bride, the Lamb's wife in perfect union with the Lamb of God. Beloved, John saw no temple in this holy city, which cometh down from above: "for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof" (Revelation 21:2, 9, 22, 23).
2000 years ago, the Lord God revealed to John the eternal glories of His purpose in and by and through the Lamb for His people; and the Lord has continued to reveal this to the churches throughout the ages. Nevertheless, we must keep in mind that the Lord Jesus Christ revealed this to John at the same time He inspired John to write to the churches that in grave danger of being seduced by that woman Jezebel, and by many other evil strategies of satan (see chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation). That old serpent, called the devil and satan, has created havoc and caused division among the people of God since the fall of Adam, and he is still doing his evil all to destroy the union, the bridal union, between the Lord and His people. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches (Revelation 3:22). Therefore, beware of the gods, beware of the evil workers, beware of the concision: "FOR THEY ARE THE ENEMIES OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST" (Phil. 3:2, 3 and 18).
(continued with # 3)