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A Call to Rejoice and a Warning

My beloved ones, don’t ever limit your joy or fail to rejoice in the wonderful experience of knowing our Lord Jesus!

I don’t mind repeating what I’ve already written you because it protects you— beware of those religious hypocrites[a] who teach that you should be circumcised to please God. For we have already experienced “heart-circumcision,” and we worship God in the power and freedom of the Holy Spirit, not in laws and religious duties. We are those who boast in what Jesus Christ has done, and not in what we can accomplish in our own strength.

It’s true that I once relied on all that I had become. I had a reason to boast and impress people with my accomplishments—more than others—for my pedigree was impeccable.

The Example of Paul

I was born a true Hebrew of the heritage of Israel[b] as the son of a Jewish man from the tribe of Benjamin.[c] I was circumcised eight days after my birth and was raised in the strict tradition of Orthodox Judaism, living a separated[d] and devout life as a Pharisee. And concerning the righteousness of the Torah,[e] no one surpassed me; I was without a peer. Furthermore, as a fiery defender of the truth, I persecuted the messianic believers with religious zeal.

Yet all of the accomplishments that I once took credit for, I’ve now forsaken them and I regard it all as nothing compared to the delight of experiencing Jesus Christ as my Lord! To truly know him meant letting go of everything from my past and throwing all my boasting on the garbage heap. It’s all like a pile of manure to me now, so that I may be enriched in the reality of knowing Jesus Christ and embrace him as Lord in all of his greatness.

My passion is to be consumed with him and not clinging to my own “righteousness” based in keeping the written Law. My “righteousness” will be his, based on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ—the very righteousness that comes from God. 10 And I continually long to know the wonders of Jesus more fully and to experience the overflowing power of his resurrection working in me. I will be one with him in his sufferings and I will be one with him in his death.

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  1. Philippians 3:2 Literally “dogs,” which is a figure of speech for religious hypocrites
  2. Philippians 3:5 This meant that he could trace his family line all the way back to Abraham. There is also an inference that Paul spoke Hebrew-Aramaic as his native tongue and did not adopt Greek customs.
  3. Philippians 3:5 The tribe of Benjamin was honored as the tribe most loyal to the house of David. Benjamin means “son of my right hand.”
  4. Philippians 3:5 A Pharisee was known as a “separated one,” who religiously followed all the laws of Judaism.
  5. Philippians 3:6 Or “the written law.”

Jesus Is Flogged

19 Then Pilate ordered Jesus to be brutally beaten with a whip of leather straps embedded with metal.[a] And the soldiers also wove thorn-branches into a crown and set it on his head and placed a purple[b] robe over his shoulders. Then, one by one, they came in front of him to mock him by saying, “Hail, to the king of the Jews!” And one after the other, they repeatedly punched him in the face.[c]

Once more Pilate went out and said to the Jewish officials, “I will bring him out once more so that you know that I’ve found nothing wrong with him.” So when Jesus emerged, bleeding, wearing the purple robe and the crown of thorns on his head, Pilate said to them, “Look at him! Here is your man!”[d]

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  1. John 19:1 This leather whip, embedded with sharpened pieces of bone and metal, was known as “the scorpion.” Historians record that many people never survived this cruel flogging. The whips were known to break open the flesh and cut through muscle and sinew all the way to the bone. It was his love for you that enabled him to endure such treatment.
  2. John 19:2 The color purple has long symbolized royalty. Purple’s elite status stems from the rarity and cost of the dye originally used to produce it. Jesus is the true king for all eternity.
  3. John 19:3 Or “they slapped his face” (Aramaic). He turned the other cheek and they slapped him on both sides of his face. See Isa. 53:5-7.
  4. John 19:5 See Zech. 6:12.