Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 3
Some people believe and teach wrong ideas about the human body. They emphasise its importance while they neglect the need for a right relationship with God. They may even teach that the way to receive a relationship with God is through the acts of a person’s body.
Sometimes people argue those things because they want to please themselves. They desire pleasure, and they do not want even to think about God. However sometimes, especially in religion, people choose to deal strictly and even severely with their bodies. By these acts, they try to earn for themselves a right relationship with God. However, that is impossible. A person can only receive a right relationship with God by God’s free gift, because of Christ’s death (Romans chapter 4). That person receives God’s gift by faith (belief and trust in God).
God told Israel’s people to carry out circumcision, a small operation to the sex part of a male’s body (Genesis chapter 17). That is a mark of their nation’s relationship with God. It reminded the people that they all needed a right relationship with God in their heart and spirit (Deuteronomy 30:6). So that mark on their bodies taught them to give attention to their inner relationship with God. God’s law leads people to Christ (Galatians 3:24).
Among the first Christians, some teachers were using circumcision and other rules from the Bible to teach the opposite. They insisted that a person’s relationship with God depended on that operation (Acts 15:1-2), and therefore not on Christ (Galatians 1:6-9). Paul warned strongly against them; he compares their actions to the cruelty of wild dogs. To carry out that operation without its proper meaning was only to cut the human body. So it was not what God told his people to do (Romans 2:25 to 3:2).
Next part: Tests for whether people truly belong to God (Philippians 3:3)
Please use the links at the top of the page to find our other articles in this series. You can download all our articles if you go to the download page for our free 1000+ page course book.
© 2020, Keith Simons.