Pristine Grace

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What are the Marks of a Saved Man?

Philipians 3:3

by Heshimu Colar

"For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh (Phil. 3:3)."

The circumcision are the marked-out worshippers of God. The children of Israel were ceremonially distinguished from all other nations because they bore the physical sign of circumcision. God's spiritual children are all marked out as worshipping God in the spirit, rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and having no confidence in the flesh. These three definitions intertwine, for they are different branches of the same root of faith.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH?

Believers have no confidence in our own ability. The painful confession of saints is "I can't worship God". We bless God that we have a desire to seek His glory and serve Him. However, the sincere worshipper knows that he has no ability to worship God in himself. He cannot make Christ real to his heart. We know that God must receive all of the glory and agree that Jesus Christ alone is worthy to be praised, yet we have no control over our own heart. We cannot stir up our own zealous affection. We cannot quicken ourselves. We cannot give ourselves spiritual joy, clarity, and boldness. Worship, all worship, is the gift of God.

The remedy for our condition lies in the Substitute. There is no help in trying harder or doing more; we worship God in a Substitute. Therefore, even when I cannot rejoice, my heart is unaffected, and my works stink in my own nostrils, faith tells me that Christ sufficiently glorified God on my behalf. He suffered the condemnation of my sin in full obedience, and He presented God with death for my transgressions. His obedient sufferings were the most fragrant worship that our Eternal Father shall ever receive. Therefore, when my own depravity has ruined all confidence in me, I look outside of myself to the Savior of sinners. Brethren, we glorify God in the mountain heights of assurance, joy, and peace; and we glorify God in the deepest valleys of self-rejection, whereby we're compelled to cast everything upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Through faith, Peter glorified God by walking on the water; and, he also believed and glorified God when beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me." He didn't call upon the other disciples, he didn't try to swim to the boat, but recognizing himself to be a sinner, he called upon the Lord Jesus Christ the Savior. We are the circumcision, the truly marked children of the Living God, who have no confidence in the flesh.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO WORSHIP GOD IN THE SPIRIT?

We worship God by faith. We believe the testimony of the Holy Spirit. Within us, the manifest fruit of the Spirit comes and goes, but our confidence is in the unchangeable Truth as it is in Christ Jesus. Concerning the work of the Spirit, Lord Jesus said, (John 15:26) "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me." Not just that the Bible is true, but the truth of the finished work and grace of our Lord Jesus. Paul wrote in Col. 1:5-6 "For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth." For the spiritual man, everything revolves around Christ crucified. His Body is our necessary food, and His Blood is our needful drink. We hunger and thirst after Him, and we refuse to believe that God can be merciful anywhere except through His Sacrifice. We refuse to think that we've become so holy, that we can glory in anything except His cross. Therefore, when we spiritually prosper, we return to the cross to give Him glory, recognizing that His blood is the only reason for everything we've received (Luke 17:11-19). Everyone that worships God in the spirit worships God in Jesus Christ alone. He is the testimony of the Holy Spirit.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO REJOICE IN CHRIST JESUS

Of all the things that make us happiest, Christ Jesus is our chief joy (Song 5:8-16). Believers are concerned whenever anything comes into competition with His love. We rejoice when we see Him glorified; it makes us happy to see Him who is worthy seated upon the Throne. We enjoy His saints because they love and speak of Him often (Mal. 3:16). We rejoice after He abases us because we needed to be afflicted to learn of His beauty. We needed to know our sinfulness to see Him as the Savior. Many rejoice in what they do for 'jesus', but it's nothing but confidence in the flesh and thereby self-worship. Paul warns us, "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision (Phil. 3:2)." The true circumcision, those truly consecrated to God, rejoice in the ever-fresh message of His cross. Our rejoicing is in Him as a Person. His grace exalts all of His attributes, and His blood has purchased all things for us.

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