Living As His Covenant People
For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh
My friend, you and I are the covenant people of God! We have been invited to participate in this glorious covenant and become true children of God through faith in Christ alone. Paul, in Philippians 3:1-4, is doing two things at once. He is warning the Philippians of the destructive teachings of the Judiazers, while also defining the lifestyle of the covenant people of God. In verse 3 we see Paul articulating perfectly the lifestyle of the New Covenant people of God!
Paul boldly proclaims that we, both gentiles and Jews, are the circumcision. Meaning we are the true covenant people of God, the ones who bear His seal! In the Old Covenant, circumcision was the seal of the covenant, but now that seal is the Holy Spirit. Thus we are in essence the true circumcision, the fulfillment of the shadow found in the Old Testament rite.
In the Old Covenant, worship was an outward adherence to a strict set of rules and regulations. Yet in the New Covenant, our worship is found in, through, and by the Spirit. Thus it is not about our ability to flawlessly fulfill a set of commands, but rather our worship is eternally intertwined with this concept of union and relationship. This text is not suggesting that we use the Spirit to worship, but that true worship is found in the Spirit, with Him and in union with Him. Thus Paul is speaking of our relationship with God as our pure form of worship. The New Covenant worship, is not man doing rites and rituals, but rather man united to God, living life dependent on the operation of the Spirit.
As God’s covenant people, we glory, boast, and express our confidence in Christ and Christ alone! We find our strength and ability in Him and His grace, thus abandoning all confidence in the flesh. The flesh refers to self-righteousness, or self-effort. It is mans ability, and as such is hostile to Christ. For in Christ it is all about His ability and His sufficiency.
So we see that to live as His covenant people is to live by faith alone in the finished work of Jesus and the presence of His Spirit within us! We resist the temptation to trust in our ability and learn to rest in Christ’s total sufficiency!