Watch out for those vicious scavenger dogs, the Apostle Paul warned. Basically he was saying, “Watch out for those who distort true Christianity! There are a lot of people distorting the gospel of Jesus.
The dog may look nice, but it’s vicious. Ever been biten by a “nice” dog? Jesus would say, “That’s not my dog!” – adapted quote from Does your dog bite? – YouTube (funny 1:17 minute illustration).
We must know the Bible well enough – so we can distinguish “nice” teachers from Truth teachers. Know your robbers well enough to see they are not of the Truth. – adapted quote from the movie, Return of The Pink Panther, Seeing Eye Monkey (Minky – Meenky) (funny 1:17 minute illustration). Don’t minky with God’s Truth!
What those conniving dogs say is not biblical Christianity at all.” Ditto that today! They are cleverly devised – but merely human tales. Want to follow dog tails – or God’s Truth?
16 For we did not follow
cleverly devised stories or myths
when we made known to you
the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
but we were [h]eyewitnesses
of His majesty
[His grandeur, His authority, His sovereignty].
– 2 Peter 1: verse 16
The Bible very clearly states what a true Christian is, and what it takes to become one. Are you clear on that? Or are you listening to some other gospel? Are there “troublemakers” in your head, in your church, on your TV – wild scavenger “dogs” – as Paul put it, distorting “how to be saved”?
2 “Look out for the dogs [the Judaizers, the legalists], look out for the troublemakers, look out for the [c]false circumcision [those who claim circumcision is necessary for salvation] – Philippians 3: verse 2
Note from the Amplified Bible (AMP) in Philippians 3:2: [b]“Jews often used “dogs” as a derogatory term to refer to Gentiles, so Paul’s reference to his Jewish opponents in this verse is ironic. Most dogs [in that day] were untamed scavengers and considered disgusting because they ate anything.”
What is necessary for salvation? What actually will save you from That Day of Judgement? Many are distorting the message of Jesus, and thus leading many straight to hell. Did you follow some dog’s tail into a wide gate, onto a broad path? What gate did you enter?
13 “Enter through the narrow gate.
For wide is the gate and broad
and easy to travel
is the path that leads the way to
destruction and eternal loss,
and there are many who enter through it.
14 But small is the gate and narrow
and difficult to travel
is the path that leads the way to [everlasting] life,
and there are few who find it.
15 “Beware of the false prophets,
[teachers] who come to you dressed as sheep
[appearing gentle and innocent],
but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
16 By their fruit you will recognize them
[that is, by their
contrived doctrine and self-focus].
– Matthew 7:13-16
Nowadays the question might be stated: What has been so distorted by your modern way of thinking – that you have been lured away from truly being saved by Christ? Paul explains things here: – Philippians 3: verse 3 Amplified Bible (AMP)
3 for we [who are born-again
have been reborn from above
—spiritually transformed, renewed,
set apart for His purpose
and] are the true circumcision,
who worship in the Spirit of God and glory
and take pride and exult in Christ Jesus
and place no confidence
[in what we have
or who we are]
in the flesh
– Philippians 3: verse 3 Amplified Bible (AMP)
According to the Apostle Paul, the true Christian is reborn spiritually by God, set apart by God, worships God in the Spirit, is exuberant about Jesus, and puts absolutely no trust whatsoever in “the flesh” (as far as what we possess here and who we are physically). This is true Christianity:
1. The true Christian is born again, “reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed“
There is nothing, absolutely not one thing — that you can do… to save yourself from the wrath of God directed against us, human sinners. “Getting right with God” (“ready to meet your Maker”), as it is often said, is “a God thing” — not “a human thing”, not an act of a human. Paul says here that we are reborn “from above”. That means that God Himself does it! Not us.
Even Nicodemus, “a man of the Pharisees”, a ruler of the Jews who secretly came to Jesus at night, recognized that we ourselves could never “rebirth” ourselves!
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born [b]again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born [c]again.’ – John 3: verses 3-7
[Note: (1) “Born of water” is the first birth, from the mother’s watery womb; (2) of “the Spirit” is the second birth, a rebirth by God, by His Spirit.]
So, how do you get “reborn”, you might ask? Other Bible verses show us that we must personally turn to God, confess our sinfulness, and acknowledge Jesus as God of our life (just like the thief on the cross in Luke 23:39-43). But what saves us — is God responding to our confession. If He never responded, then we would never be able to free ourselves from His condemnation. We’d be toast.
God responds to our confession and acceptance of Him. He promises He will. When we come to Him “in sincerity and truth”, God Himself actually then accepts us as His child, making us into a brand new creation of His by His Spirit (verse 5). We don’t make ourselves into a new creation. He does.
That act of becoming born again — is an act of God upon our life. We don’t do it — He does it! And that is why it will never be undone. There is no such thing as an “undone” believer.
The true believer was made so by God, and God promises that His “rebirthing” (“have been reborn from above”-v3) sets us apart forever. From that moment in time we are “forever creatures”, eternal, never to be separated from His love!
All we “do” is reach-out to God. Like the man-over-board drowning (limited illustration only), you must raise your hand for the Savior in the high-hulled lifeboat, so He can grab your out-stretched hand and pull you in. You could never reach the side rail and pull yourself onboard.
We must accept Jesus into our heart – to the extreme point that we sincerely follow Him. If we are not following Him, then we never reached that extreme sincerity of heart to where we actually let Him in.
2. The true Christian is “set apart for His purpose.” Are you “set apart”? Does your life reflect that? Do you “worship in the Spirit of God and glory and take pride and exult in Christ Jesus and place no confidence [in what we have or who we are] in the flesh“? [Philippians 3: verse 3 Amplified Bible (AMP)]
The Bible warns me, warns you, warns us – to examine our life. Make sure it looks like you were “made brand new”. Do you look the part? If you don’t look like, smell like, act like… a brand new creation in Christ — what gives? What’s wrong? Maybe you’re having a rough time with your walk in Christ. But maybe, just maybe, you are not even “in Christ”. Make sure. Read John 5:38-47.
Our salvation is absolutely secure in Christ – if we are truly in Christ. Make sure you are!
10 Therefore, believers, be all the more diligent
to make certain about His calling and choosing you
[be sure that your behavior
reflects and confirms
your relationship with God];
for by [f]doing these things
[actively developing these virtues],
you will never stumble
[in your spiritual growth
and will live a life that leads others away from sin];
11 for in this way
entry into the eternal kingdom
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
will be abundantly provided to you.
– 2 Peter 1: verses 10-11
Come to God. He will respond to your confession. He Himself will save you — forever! Not to worry!
– Hebrews 11:6 (NASB) … without faith
it is impossible to please Him,
for he who comes to God
that He is
that He is a rewarder
of those who seek Him.
– James 4:8 (DLNT) Draw-near to God
and He will draw-near to you.
Cleanse your hands, sinners,
and purify your hearts,
Bible Word Search: new creation
Bible Word Search: child of God.
Bible Word Search: in sincerity