Philippians 3:1 "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.
2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless."
I don't know about you but I hate repetition. I hate repetitive songs, I hate repetitive sounds like a barking dog or a pounding hammer. I hate watching a movie over again unless it has been years. I hate being told something more than once. Clearly Paul does not feel the same way. He is repetitive and makes no apologies. He says it is for their good.
As an educator I know the value of repetition. We train our brains to learn new things by repetition. We find out what people are passionate about by listening to what they talk about most. Repetition certainly has a place. Here in chapter 3 Paul begins by saying I am going to be repetitive for your safety.
What is he being repetitive about?
Do you remember that in Galatians the problem was men coming into the church preaching another gospel? Do you remember that in Colossae and Laodicea men were coming in to teach that more was needed than Jesus? Now here on Philippi Paul tells them to be aware of the dogs, the evil workers, the mutilators. What's happening in Philippi? Men are telling them they need to be circumcised like the Jews of old. Paul says you circumcised if you worship God in the Spirit and rejoice in all that Jesus has done and have no confidence in your flesh.
He goes on to say that he isn't saying this from some lack on his part. He isn't trying to change the rules to suit his lack. It's not Iike that at all. On the contrary he is saying if I could impress God with my credentials and wow Him with my resume I would be in good shape. He wouldn't have had to join the Jews, he was born one. He wouldn't have had to get circumcised as an adult because he was circumcised on the 8th day after his birth just like Jesus and all good Jewish boys. He wouldn't have to learn and keep all the Jewish feasts and customs and practices because he had been doing it all for life! He was even running around squashing the heretical uprising that was teaching that the carpenter from Nazareth was the Lamb of God and undermining all things Jewish.
We can't have it both ways. Satan knows that if we make our faith about more than Jesus eventually the more takes over completely and Jesus disappears. Eventually how we dress or what we do or what traditions we keep become the sum and substance of our religion and Jesus the Person, Jesus the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the whole world is lost sight of in our endless attempts to prove ourselves worthy and purchase what Jesus has already given freely.
What is Paul being repetitive?
Jesus alone. Jesus only. Jesus paid it all. Jesus 1 - Flesh 0
Get over yourself today and repeat it tomorrow, and the next day, and the next... Jesus paid once for all. It is the truth that bears constant repetition. Trying to add to it ends up throwing Him away...