Phil. 3:3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,
We used to sing a song from this verse back in Bible school days; ‘We are the circumcision we worship God in the Spirit. It’s funny, we were so used to singing that song that it seemed normal to us. Looking back at it, it probably sounded pretty weird to outsiders. Have you ever wondered about this verse? Why would Paul say something that sounds so weird to the natural mind? The jews in Paul’s day called themselves ‘the circumcision’. It was a title that they took great pride in. It meant, they were the people who had a covenant with God. Paul was preaching a very radical message in today’s verse, especially coming from what he called ’a pharisee of pharisees’. He was saying that born again Christians are now the people of the covenant. What is the mark or sign of that covenant? Rejoicing that comes from being filled with the Spirit. Here are some comments from this verse from Matthew Henry.
“They worshipped in the spirit, in opposition to the carnal ordinances of the Old-Testament, which consist in meats, and drinks, and divers washings. Christianity takes us off from these things, and teaches us to be inward with God in all the duties of religious worship. We must worship God in spirit. Whatsoever we do…and we must worship God in the strength and grace of the Divine Spirit, which is so peculiar to the gospel state, which is the ministration of the spirit. They rejoice in Christ Jesus. They rejoice in their relation to Christ and interest in him. God made it the duty of the Israelites to rejoice before him in the courts of his house; but now that the substance has come the shadows are done away, and we are to rejoice in Christ Jesus only. They have no confidence in the flesh, in those carnal ordinances and outward performances. We must be taken off from trusting in our own bottom (foundation), that we may build only on Jesus Christ, the everlasting foundation. Our confidence, as well as our joy, is proper to him.”
To the jews under the Old Covenant, circumcision was essential. What is the true mark on us in the New Covenant? We carry the mark of God Himself, we are sealed (marked) by the Holy Spirit Himself. This is our confidence, this is our joy.