Posted by: SandreS | July 2, 2009

Paul Severed from: Ritual

Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ (Philippians 3:5-8, KJV).

Having seen that Paul had been “separated,” “severed,” or horizoned-off, and having seen the meaning of “horizon,” we will follow the course of Webster’s definition of the word to see a few rich truths that can be brought to light.

Webster says that “horizon” is:

… dividing the world into two parts or hemispheres …

The words “separate” and “sever” has to do with division. Thus the King James Version also translates “aphorizo” as “divide” and “sever.”

Paul was divided from something, and to something. According to Paul’s own testimony in Philippians chapter 3 he was divided, or “severed” from something that he counted as waste, or “refuse” (CLT). In this passage he declares that he had been severed from a sevenfold system. We shall see the first of these now. Paul had been severed from: RITUAL.

Circumcised the eighth day … (:5)

Circumcision was the sign of the covenant that God made with Abraham (Genesis 17:9-14; c.f. Ephesians 2:11; I Samuel 17:26-27). Paul had been proud of his ritual. He was circumcised the eighth day. Some of Paul’s opponents were circumcised as adults. If it came to a showdown on this subject, Paul could not have been beaten.

Although circumcision had been a part of God’s purpose with Israel, Paul had been severed from this ritual. That which, in the past, had been God-honoring, Paul now counted as “refuse.” If this was true of a God-ordained ritual that had passed away with a new dispensation, image how worthless all man-made rituals are.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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