Life Under God’s Knife: Philippians 3:3 As Strategy -- By: Gerald M. Bilkes

Journal: Puritan Reformed Journal
Volume: PRJ 06:1 (Jan 2014)
Article: Life Under God’s Knife: Philippians 3:3 As Strategy
Author: Gerald M. Bilkes


Life Under God’s Knife: Philippians 3:3 As Strategy

Gerald M. Bilkes

Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones was fond of saying that “every institution tends to produce its opposite.”1 What he meant by this is that regardless of how someone or something begins, it often ends promoting ideals that it never originally intended.

When you look at the history of denominations and seminaries, there are an alarming number of instances in which this proves true. Many a seminary or mission institution is started with the purpose of studying, teaching, and adhering to the Bible. Yet, after several decades, these seminaries and institutions militate against the Bible and advance a syncretism with culture and society. Likewise, many of the great philosophical movements throughout history did not set out intentionally to undermine the Christian faith. But loosening themselves from the moorings of Scripture, these schools of thought soon paved the way for secular thinking and the development of a system that is militantly anti-Christian.

This trend is also seen on a personal level. Some start out seeming to follow Christ. Over time, however, they transgress into unbiblical thinking and teaching. These are serious issues that churches, worldviews, and individuals are prone to fall prey to in our day and age.

These scenarios are not unique to contemporary society; they were true of many of the Jews during the time of Christ and Paul. Claiming to be sons of Abraham and priding themselves in it, they did not follow in the faith of Abraham; rather, they followed the way of Ishmael, enslaving themselves and others to unbiblical institutions and thoughts (see Gal. 4:21-31). Wherever Paul took the gospel in his

mission to the Gentiles, these Judaizers seemed always to follow close behind, bringing another gospel, which was no gospel (Gal. 1:7).2 As Paul made his missionary journeys throughout the world, the Judaizers were traveling land and sea just to make one convert (cf. Matt. 23:15).3 Upon arriving at the churches Paul established, these zealots attempted to undo the message of the free offer of the gospel received by faith alone, exhorting their hearers to keep the law in order to receive the righteousness that comes by the law. And this message was having success in drawing away the young converts from the simplicity in which they had been established in Christ.

Much of Paul’s polemical mi...

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