February 25th, 2009 by David Dansker
While many a home owner has posted this notice to ward off unwelcome intruders, this warning comes from the Bible. Here it is spoken by the Apostle Paul to the Philippians. “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision” (Php 3:2). According to Albert Barnes (1798-1870), these dogs are evil workers and are of the concision. The word Paul uses for the Judaizing teachers is a contemptuous replacement for the word circumcision. The word “concision” means to mutilation, and Paul is here referencing those Jews who would come behind him and teach that circumcision was still a requirement for salvation. They were mutilating doctrine (and no doubt a few simple souls).
Today, it means virtually the same thing; false teachers who require faith plus some other show in the flesh to merit salvation. The show, of course, is what they are putting on, and they are successful in “beguiling unstable souls” to perform in them. They are also classed as “evil workers,” and they are the same sort Paul describes in 1Corinthians, where they are refered to as deceitful:
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works (2Cor 11: 13-15).
They are marvelously deceptive, and because of them the way of truth is evil spoken of. The thing to remember is that they are dogs, and Paul’s injunction to aviod thier snares is to learn about what the Apostles taught in doctrine and by their lives, and to identify others who do likwise for examples:
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) (Php 3: 17-19).
He also returns to the subject of the dogs, and declare they are actually enemies of Christ. He says in another place that they too should be marked, or identified, in order to warn others who could be cut by them. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Rom 16:17)
How is it that these can impersonate Christian pastors and teachers? Is is possible that they were once saved, but they got carried away with fame and fortune and are no longer Christians? No. These are false teachers. A groomed dog will always be a dog just as a washed pig will always be a pig. Peter speaks of these false teachers, and there adherents, who escape the pollutants of the world for a while through knowledge of religion and instruction to the extent that they abandon for a time some vices, but who were not saved and become entangled again. “But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (2Pet 2:22).
When a person is in Christ they are not just washed on the outside, they are made into a new creature. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2Co 5:17). And we who are in Christ are to mark those who teach things separate from doctrine and contrary to it, who cause others to stumble, and to mark them for a warning.