THREE POSITIVE ITEMS
We have seen that in verse 2 three matters are mentioned. Verse 3 also mentions three items: worshipping by the Spirit of God, boasting in Christ Jesus, and having no confidence in the flesh (Gk.). These three items are a contrast to the three items found in verse 2. In verse 3 Paul says that we are the circumcision. This means that we, the believers in Christ, are the real circumcision. As the real circumcision, we worship by the Spirit of God. Worshipping by the Spirit of God is in contrast to the dogs. Furthermore, we boast in Christ Jesus. Boasting in Christ is in contrast to the evil workers. Finally, we do not trust in the flesh. Not trusting in the flesh is versus the concision. Because we contact God and worship Him by His Spirit, we are not dogs, and because we are in Christ and boast in Him, we are not rebels or evil workers. Not only have we believed in Christ and received Him, but we are totally in Him. Christ is not only our Savior, but also our life. Hence, instead of being in rebellion, we are in Christ. We are not rebels—we are Christ-men.
We also have no trust in the flesh. The circumcision practiced by the Jews is altogether a matter of the flesh. The Jews trust in the flesh and in what they are in the flesh. We, on the contrary, have no trust whatever in our flesh. The flesh signifies our entire natural being. According to the Bible, the fallen human being is in the flesh. Whether we love or hate, steal or give, we are in the flesh. Do not think that those who rob a bank are in the flesh, but those who donate to charitable organizations are not. The generous ones may be more in the flesh than those who rob, and those who love may be more in the flesh than those who hate. Likewise, those who are humble may be more fleshly than those who are proud. As fallen human beings, we are nothing but flesh. Some people may be very kind, but in the eyes of God, even their kindness is the ugly flesh. Many Christians think of themselves as being capable and intelligent. But whatever comes out of our natural being, whether it be capability or intelligence, is simply the flesh. Therefore, we should not have any confidence in the flesh.
We are those who worship by the Spirit of God, who boast in Christ, and who do not trust in the flesh. We beware of dogs, and we worship by the Spirit of God. We beware of evil workers, and we boast in Christ. We beware of the concision, and we have no trust in the flesh.
ENJOYING CHRIST BY REPUDIATING THE FLESH
The way to enjoy Christ is to repudiate our flesh and our entire natural being. When we reject ourselves in this way, only Christ is left. Then whatever we do will be the experience of Christ. When the unbelievers reject themselves and repudiate their flesh, nothing remains. But when we reject ourselves, we enjoy Christ as the remainder. Christ is what remains after we have rejected our flesh and all we are by nature. This is not merely a doctrine; it is our experience. When the sisters who live together are having problems with one another, perhaps over washing the dishes, they need to reject themselves. When they reject themselves, including their attempt to imitate the pattern of Christ, they will find that Christ remains within them. If a sister washes dishes after doing this, she will have both the experience of Christ and the enjoyment of Christ.
To have no trust in the flesh means to have no trust in ourselves. If we do not trust in ourselves, the self is spontaneously dealt with and Christ is there as the sweet remainder for us to experience. This is the real circumcision because it involves the total rejection of our flesh. The Jews had the form of circumcision but not the reality, which is the cutting off of the flesh. To merely make a mark upon our body actually is not circumcision, but concision. Because we reject our flesh altogether, we are the real circumcision. When the real circumcision takes place, the flesh is gone, and Christ remains. Then whatever we do, say, or think is the enjoyment of Christ.
(The Experience of Christ, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)