Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. (ch. 3)
This is a clear command from the Apostle: “REJOICE in the Lord!” I don’t know about you, but I find it quite easy to rejoice in my circumstances (when things are going well), to be happy when I’m around my grandchildren, to be really satisfied when I’m lucky enough to win a tennis match. And I’m not sure the Lord is displeased with my reactions. He has made our world, which includes our circumstances, families, and leisure activities.
But how, specifically, am I to REJOICE “in the Lord”? What does that mean? In the context here Paul is reminding these believers that there is opposition to the gospel and they are not to lose their JOY as they live for Jesus. He describes that opposition as “those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh”! Those Judaizers had taken something precious (the Old Testament sign of God’s covenant with Israel — circumcision) and twisted it into something legalistic, works-oriented, and in direct contradiction to the gospel of grace!
In fact Paul confronts their error by saying “we are the circumcision, we who — (1) serve God by His Spirit, (2) boast in Christ Jesus, and (3) who put no confidence in the flesh”! True circumcision means believing the gospel and serving the Lord Jesus with all one’s might!
To REJOICE in the Lord means to keep on keeping on. It means to know one’s opposition and continue to share the grace of the Lord Jesus anyway. This confidence, not in ourselves, but in God Himself, brings JOY. Would you say this is true in your life today?