For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh. (Philippians 3:3 NRSV)

"There have been a lot of changes around here," said the old man proudly, "and I want you to know I've been against every one of them."

In every group, though, there are persons who want to turn the clock back. They want to go back to the way things used to be. Sometimes in the church we call them the "Back to Egypt Committee" in honor of those Israelites who wanted to turn back to Egypt rather than endure the march to the Promised Land.

Paul confronted his own Back to Egypt Committee. One group of early Christians wanted the church to remain a Jewish sect. They wanted to enforce strict adherence to the old covenant. They wanted to require new believers to be circumcised as well as baptized. They wanted to force new wine into old wineskins. Paul was adamantly opposed. His response was, in effect, "Been there. Done that. No thanks."

He reminded his listeners that his own credentials as a Jew were impeccable. As an infant he had been circumcised on the eighth day. He was a member of the tribe of Benjamin--a Hebrew born of Hebrews. He had been a Pharisee--a zealous advocate of his faith--so zealous that he persecuted Christians. But that was then; this is now. Something had happened to Paul. He had encountered the living Christ! Are we sure we don't want change?

Loving God, change me into the image of Christ. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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