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Philippians Chapter Three                            


I. Content of the Chapter


Not in the Flesh, But in Christ Jesus

A.  “Rejoice” in the Lord (v.1);

B.  Beware of dogs ---- those who boast in the flesh (v.2);

C.  He who is the circumcision rejoices in Christ Jesus and has no confidence in the flesh (v.3);

D.  The testimony of Paul:

1. He might have confidence in the flesh (v.4).

2. He was born a Pharisee (v.5).

3. His excelled others in zeal and works (v.6).

E.  The change of Paul:

1. What things were gain to him, these he has counted loss for Christ (v.7).

2. He counts all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord (v.8a).


Not Think of Having Attained, but Press On 

A.  Suffer the loss of all things to gain Christ (v.8b);

B.  What he will gain:

1. In Him to obtain the righteousness which is from God by faith (v.9);

2. To know Christ and the power of His resurrection (v.10);

3. To attain to the resurrection from the dead (v.11);

4. To lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me (v.12);

5. To press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ (v.14);

C.  The attitude of the pursuit:

1. Not think of having attained, but press on (v.12-13a);

2. Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead and pressing toward the goal (v.13b-14);

D.  The practice of the pursuit:

1. Have the desire of pursuit according to the revelation of God (v.15);

2. To the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind (v.16);


The Heavenly Citizenship Makes One not Set His Mind on Earthly Things

A.  Join in Paul’s example (v.17);

B.  Beware of the enemies of the cross of Christ (v.18);

C.  They set their mind on earthly things (v.19).

D.  Our citizenship is in heaven (v.20).

E.  The Lord will transform our lowly body when He comes again (v.21).


II. Verse by Verse Commentary


Phil. 3:1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.

YLT: “As to the rest, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord; the same things to write to you to me indeed is not tiresome, and for you sure;”

Meaning of Words: “finally”: besides, the rest, furthermore; “tedious”: tardy, indolent, irksome; “safe”: sure, secure, certain;

Literal Meaning: “but for you it is safe”, joy provides Christians positive attitude and is the medicine in their life (Pro. 17:22), removing their physical and mental affliction. Besides, joy keeps in the church life healthy and avoids any division.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Believers should rejoice in the Lord instead of boasting in the works of the law.

2)    “In the Lord”, it is the source of believers’ joy. Our real joy is from the Lord. Therefore, even though we are in unprosperous condition, we still have full joy.

3)    “Self” is the source of all vexations. The more believers draw near the Lord, the more they will be delivered from their “selves” and the more joyful they will be.

4)    Rejoicing in the Lord is the important practice and enjoyment in Christians’ daily life and inner life.

5)    Paul can say “rejoice in the Lord … for me to write the same things to you is not tedious” in prison. Therefore, this is a kind of joy transcending the environment and emotions.

6)    Joy in the Lord has not the slightest “hesitation” (the original meaning is “tedious”), so it is by no means slothful. Besides, such joy is not apparent affectations, but the manifestation of life.

7)    If we have no joy when we are faced with any circumstance, it shows that we are falling in danger. Once Satan robs our joy, we have lost our armor.

8)    Joy is the real value of life. Once man has no joy, his precious value of his life is deprived.


Phil. 3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!

YLT: “look to the dogs, look to the evil-workers, look to the concision;”

Meaning of Words: “beware”: behold, look at, take heed, regard; “mutilation”: a cutting down;

The Background: in the Middle East, dogs are unclean beasts that eat the vomit (see 2Pet. 2:22). The Jews despise the Gentiles and call them “dogs”, which means that they are unclean race.

Literal Meaning: “beware”, Paul means that they shall not only pay attention to them, but also discern them by observation and learning so as not to be harmed by them.

  “Dogs”, Paul uses it to address those who uphold the Jewish laws, for they break into the church and bark out and they are not real Jews (Rom. 2:28) for they refuse the grace of God (Gal. 5:4).

  “Evil workers”, the false apostles who declare the words against the truth (2Cor. 11:13) have only godly form but deny the godly power (2Tim. 3:5).

  “The mutilation”: the ignorance of the meaning of the circumcision (Col. 2:11); those who boast of the sign of the circumcision in the flesh only cut off their flesh, just like the gentiles that hurt their bodies (1King 18:28).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The heart of the apostle is large and bears those who are different from him. However, he treats those who announce the heresy without any kindness and call them “dogs” and “evil workers” directly.

2)    It is unnecessary for us to be too kind to the heretics, for they are unclean and may defile the church of God.

3)    Many people care for the external letter, but actually are evil workers. The hypocritically modest men do not fear God in their hearts.

4)    If our love lacks true knowledge, we may be deceived by the heretics.


Phil. 3:3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,

YLT: “for we are the circumcision, who by the Spirit are serving God, and glorying in Christ Jesus, and in flesh having no trust,”

Meaning of Words: “worship”: minister, serve; “rejoice”: boast of;

Literal Meaning:have no confidence in the flesh”: those who do not keep the laws and rules by the flesh;

  This verse points out three conditions in those who are the circumcision: 1) worship God in the Spirit; 2) rejoice in Christ Jesus; 3) have no confidence in the flesh;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Worship is the height of the fellowship between man’s spirit and God’s spirit. If we focus on the letter only in worship, but not worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24), that is not true worship.

2)    True worship should be characterized by its spiritual nature. Therefore, it should not be turned into nominal formalism. True worship should be true and spiritual, not hypocritical.

3)    The most difficulty of the children of God before God is that their flesh has not been dealt with and yet they have confidence in the flesh.

4)    All those who have confidence in themselves are those who have not been truly circumcised.


Phil. 3:4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so:

YLT: “though I also have trust in flesh. If any other one doth think to have trust in flesh, I more;”

Literal Meaning: it refers to Paul’s testimony before he becomes a Christian from verse four to six. At that time, his faith is established on Jewish parentage, privilege and achievements (2Cor. 11:18, 22-23).

  “Have confidence in the flesh”: trust in and rest in the flesh;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Christians are not those who are inferior in works, but do not boast of good works.

2)    The birth of our natural life cannot raise our position before God. Believers do not fear of humble birth condition, but that they do not desire to pursue Christ after being saved.


Phil. 3:5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee;

YLT: “circumcision on the eighth day! of the race of Israel! of the tribe of Benjamin! a Hebrew of Hebrews! according to law a Pharisee!”

The Background: all the Jewish boys have to be circumcised on the eighth day after birth according to the law (Lev.12:3).

  “The tribe of Benjamin”, it is the strongest tribe among the twelve tribes of Israel. The first king of Israel was from this tribe (1Sam10:17-24).

“The Hebrews”, it is another name of the Israel (Ex. 1:16, 22). And this name is especially connected with the election and calling of God and the language. At that time, the Israel who spoke Arian on the land of Palestine called “Hebrews” who were separated from the people of other nations and the “Jews” who spoke Greek (Acts 6:1).

“A Pharisee”, it is the sect whose belief is comparatively right and that keeps the laws of Moses strictly among all the Jewish sects at that time.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    It is the religion, culture, tradition and customs that seize men most deeply. We are occupied and taken over by them from childhood, unconsciously.

2)    If Paul can forsake all these background, what background can we not forsake?


Phil. 3:6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

YLT: “according to zeal persecuting the assembly! according to righteousness that is in law becoming blameless!”

Meaning of Words:persecute”: press forward, flee;

The Background: before Paul had been saved, he was zealous of the law and seized believers of the Lord Jesus everywhere and persecuted the church (Acts 22:3-4; Gal. 1:14, 23).

Literal Meaning:concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless”, Paul says the words according to the standard of the legalists. He has kept all that they are supposed to keep according to the law. No one can pick up his faults. However, after Paul has believed the Lord, he knows that no one can be justified before God by works (Gal. 2:16) according to the standard of God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The salvation of God is too amazing to change an extreme man.

2)    Not only does “a bad one” need salvation, but also “a good man” needs salvation.

3)    Unless our righteousness surpass of the scribes and Pharisees, we shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 5:20).


Phil. 3:7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.

YLT: “But what things were to me gains, these I have counted, because of the Christ, loss;”

Meaning of Words: “gain”: earn, lucre; “loss”: damage;

Literal Meaning: according to the statement from verse four to six, Paul thinks that all the boastful things in the past are valueless and harmful.

  “Were gain” and “have counted”, the two different tenses indicate that his life has been changed because of Christ.

  “Gain”, “loss”, the two words show that they have big difference between recognition, lying on the two ends of the balance.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The interests, thoughts and opinions of a man will surely be changed after he has believed the Lord.

2)    Christ is the standard according to which believers estimate everything.

3)    All the boasts in the past have now become unworthy of boasting on account of Christ. If believers have boasts outside of the Lord, they have not truly known the preciousness of the Lord.

4)    If man estimates things falsely and counts loss as gain, he just counts debts as assets and his whole life will be in danger of destruction and bankruptcy.


Phil. 3:8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ

YLT: “yes, indeed, and I count all things to be loss, because of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, because of whom of the all things I suffered loss, and do count them to be refuse, that Christ I may gain, and be found in him,”

Meaning of Words: “count”: consider, regard; “excellence”: superior, higher; “loss”: damage, injure; “rubbish”: dung, ordure;

Literal Meaning: here “all things” are opposite to “Christ”, and “rubbish” is opposite to “excellence”, and “loss” is opposite to “gain”.

  According to the previous verses, here “all things” do not refer to physical enjoyment but religious customs and letters and traditions and etc.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    All that are not of Christ are loss and should be rejected.

2)    All that prevent men from true knowledge of Christ should be counted as loss, even though they are good according to human insight.

3)    Knowledge is before actions. The mind of “counting as loss” brings about the action of “rejection”.

4)    Many times, we cannot reject things of the world, for we have not counted them loss but profit.

5)    If we can really count all things loss and as rubbish, we will naturally reject all things.

6)    To experience Christ is not an impulsive action. Man should count first. If he has not counted clearly, he may pick up again what he had counted as loss.

7)    Christ is excellence and all things are rubbish. What a tremendous difference between their values!

8)    Christ and “all things” cannot co-exist in us. The measure of all things that we have counted as loss decides the measure of Christ that we will gain. How much we have emptied our heart decides how much Christ we have been filled with.

9)    If we seize any best thing, we may loss Christ, for it may replace Christ and rob our enjoyment in Christ.

10) A candle can only shine after it is burnt. A believer can only benefit others after he has suffered loss first.

11) The condition of one’s spiritual life is decided by his knowledge of Christ. Christ is precious to us who have believed. How much we have known of him decides how much we can have part in Him.

12) One counts what he boasts of as precious, and his character is shown by what he boasts of.

13) Paul counts only “something” loss in verse seven and count “all things” as loss in this verse. The deeper believers know the Lord, the more they will count loss.

14) Men in the world hold the opposite opinions toward the world, so they seize and pursue fiercely. Only when God opens one’s inner eyes, he will know the greatest value of the Lord and will reject all things in the world.

15) If one counts all things loss but have not gained Christ (be disillusioned with the world, or devote much money to the temples in which men worship idols), this is of no value at all.


Phil. 3:9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;

YLT: “not having my righteousness, which of law, but that which through faith of Christ -- the righteousness that is of God by the faith,”

Literal Meaning:and be found in Him, it is not only the past experience but also a kind of continual relationship at present.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    We may be found in Christ in the gathering. However, in our daily life, we can not be found in Christ.

2)    The righteousness by faith gives us right relation with God and makes us found in Christ.

3)    To believe Christ is to believe God. He who believes God but not Christ can not be justified nor establish right relation with true God.


Phil. 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

YLT: “to know him, and the power of his rising again, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death,”

Literal Meaning: the word “know” here does not refer to objective knowledge but knowledge drawn from subjective experiences.

  “Be conformed to His death”, identify with His death and make all conform to the requirements of such death (2Cor. 4:10-11);

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    One knows Christ when he has been saved. He will know more of Christ after he has been saved. It is a beginning of being saved. One shall then seek to know Christ more deeply in everything.

2)    Believers may know Christ objectively first and then subjectively in experience.

3)    On the spiritual way, revelation is before experience. Where there is no revelation, there is no experience. The more one is revealed, the more deeply he will experience.

4)    Believers are conformed into the image of Christ by the cross of Christ and the fellowship of His suffering. Therefore, how much we have experienced the cross decides how much we have been conformed into His image.

5)    We are put in the model of the “death” of Christ until our natural life is totally dead so that the life of Christ will be perfected manifested.

6)    Only the children who have grown up know they shall have part in the responsibility, sorrow of their parents. And only the grown-up believers are willing to suffer with Christ and be conformed to his death.


Phil. 3:11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

YLT: “if anyhow I may attain to the rising again of the dead.”

Literal Meaning: “attain to the resurrection from the dead”, it refers to special resurrection, which is a rising from death. Therefore, it is called excellent and outstanding resurrection. When the Lord comes again, all those who have fallen asleep in the Lord will rise. However, only Christians who overcome will have part in the excellent resurrection and reign with Christ a thousand years in the kingdom (Rev. 20:4).

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    All in the Christ shall be made alive, but each in his own rank (1Cor.15:22-23).

2)    Death is before resurrection. If we have no experience of the cross, we will have no the experience of resurrection.


Phil. 3:12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.

YLT: “Not that I did already obtain, or have been already perfected; but I pursue, if also I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by the Christ Jesus;”

Meaning of Words: “attain”: seize, hold, know; “press on”: persecute, press forward, pursue;

Literal Meaning:perfect”: it is the absolute perfection, which is different from the perfection in position (Heb. 10:14), or the perfection in reality (Col. 4:12; Heb. 13:2; James 1:4). 

  “Lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me”, aim at the goal set by Christ;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Desire is one thing, and pursuit is another thing. It is no good desiring but not pressing on. Desire and pursuit bring about reality.

2)    Believers may become complacent after having attained some spiritual experience and impassive in spiritual pursuit.

3)    Believers should not pursue Christ slothfully, but shall press on vigorously and rise above every difficulty without missing him in anything.

4)    Even Paul thinks that he still has to press on, let alone believers like us! There is no end to spiritual pursuit!


Phil. 3:13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,

YLT: “brethren, I do not reckon myself to have laid hold; and one thing -- the things behind indeed forgetting, and to the things before stretching forth --”

Meaning of Words: “count”: estimate accurately; “reach forward”: stretch forward;

The Background: reach forward”, this word in the original describes the runners in the race in the round Roman arena ---- the runner bent his body and stretched forward his hands and looked ahead unto the end. 

Literal Meaning:forgetting those things which are behind”, it is not forgetting without a cause, but purposefully. He forgets not only sins, failure or shameful things but also achievements and victory in the past.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Self-complacence is the major obstacle to man’s achievement.

2)    What believers mind, think and love should be “one thing”: that is pursuing Christ.

3)    If one does not forget the past achievements, he will be complacent. However, if one does not forget his failure or weakness, he will be discouraged and distressed and unable to press forward.

4)    Both the positive and negative experiences in the past can exert negative effects on us and hinder us from pressing on. Therefore, we should forget those things which are behind and press forward.

5)    There is not any superior achievement in the world that is not earned by efforts.

6)    Spiritual gain is also obtained by reaching forward like a runner in a race.


Phil. 3:14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

YLT: “to the mark I pursue for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

The Background: “goal”: it is a goal set on the destination of the racetrack for the runners to focus on.

  “Prize”, according to Greek customs, the host of the Olympic Games would award the victorious runner a prize ---- crown him with laurel and declare his name and background. Therefore, the prize became the driving force of every runner.

Literal Meaning:press toward”: run continually;

  “Prize”, it refers to “the crown of life” (James 1:12) that Christ promised to them that love Him. This prize is of eternal value. Paul compares the condition of those who pursue Christ to the situation of a runner in a race for the prize

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The whole life of a Christian is a race. We run the race that lies before us with diligence (Heb. 12:1).

2)    He who is in the heavenly race should “run straightly” and run “continually” unto the end.

3)    He who runs “straightly” need not to pay attention to things irrelevant to the race or note the sneer or praise of others, but to press forward.

4)    The prize that we shall obtain in the future is not earthly prize, but the prize of the upward call of God.

5)    “In Christ Jesus”, it indicates that only those who “have believed into” the Lord have the qualifications of partaking in the race and the way of the race is also in Him.

6)    God has called us and is pleased to give us prize. The problem lies in our condition of running.

7)    Many believers do not care for “the prize”. However, God thinks it excellent, so He calls us to gain the prize.


Phil. 3:15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.

YLT: “As many, therefore, as perfect -- let us think this, and if anything ye think otherwise, this also shall God reveal to you,”

Literal Meaning:mature”: be mature and perfect in mind; it is relative perfection, not absolute perfection in verse twelve.

  Paul means that all those who are mature in mind should keep the attitude in verse twelve to fourteen and seek to be truly perfected. If anyone does not realize the need of “pressing forward”, God will still reveal them this principle.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Though we are not perfect in mind, we should seek to be mature in mind.

2)    Our pursuit is a lot to do with our mind. If we do not set our mind on Christ, we will seek things outside of Christ.

3)    Today, many things in the world are luring us away from the goal of “Christ”. Therefore, we always need God to reveal us and remind us and lead us on the right way.

4)    The attitude and goal of Paul’s pursuit (v.12-14) is all right, which is the mind that all believers are supposed to have. May we have no other mind.


Phil. 3:16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.

YLT: “but to what we have come -- by the same rule walk, the same thing think;”

Meaning of Words: “attain”: come, have arrived at; “walk”: march in rank, keep step;

Literal Meaning:walk”, it is not walking whatever one wants in the original, but marching in military rank with order. 

  This verse means that let us walk according to the same principle, not act on our own.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    God gives us different requirements according to the different conditions of believers’ life.

2)    Each believer shall be responsible to the truth he has known. How much truth one has apprehended decides how much he shall put into practice.

3)    God’s word is given to men to keep. Every one who hears God’s words and does not do them, he has no foundation in the building of his life (Matt. 7:26-27).

4)    Man shall grow in spirit in order and step by step. There is no short-cut to the growth of spiritual life.


Phil. 3:17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.

YLT: “become followers together of me, brethren, and observe those thus walking, according as ye have us -- a pattern;”

Meaning of Words: “join in follow”: co-imitator, follow together; “pattern”: a stamp or scar, form;

Literal Meaning:note”: take aim at, imitate; this word shares the same etymon with the word “mark”, so it indicates that one shall press toward the mark after noting. 

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The walking of believers should become the pattern for others to note.

2)    Remember your leaders who have spoken to you the word of God and imitate their faith (Heb. 13:7).

3)    Only those who imitate the death of the cross of Christ (v.10).

4)    What we shall note is the Christ in others, not their “old men”.


Phil. 3:18 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:

YLT: “for many walk of whom many times I told you -- and now also weeping tell -- the enemies of the cross of the Christ!”

Literal Meaning:the enemies of the cross of Christ”, it refers to both the legalists and the philosophers of wisdom ---- the former despises the truth of the redemption of Christ’s cross and holds that man can only be pleased by God by good works, and the latter has given themselves up to lasciviousness (v.19).

  “Tell you even weeping”, Paul tells them in a sorrowful mood.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The cross of Christ sacrificed oneself for others (v.19). Those whose god is their belly often profit at another’s expense in their walking, so they are enemies of the cross.

2)    Though many people exhort others, they only exhort for the purpose of shifting responsibility, but not “often” or “weeping”.


Phil. 3:19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame--who set their mind on earthly things.

YLT: “whose end destruction, whose god the belly, and whose glory in their shame, who the things on earth are minding.”

Literal Meaning:whose god is their belly”, it refers to those who indulge them in intemperance ---- who seek the enjoyment of life and the satisfaction of the flesh, or the legalists ---- who cling to the customs of food. The sound truth of Christ is neither dissipation nor self-torture

  “And whose glory is in their shame”, show off the shameful things;

  “Earthly things”, things on the earth in this age;

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Though there is much seemingly good philosophy, it is setting men’s mind on nothing more than person or things on the earth, not on God in the heaven or heavenly things.

2)    Though men are prosperous in the world and fully enjoy all the glory on the earth, their end is still destruction.


Phil. 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

YLT: “For our citizenship is in the heavens, whence also a Saviour we await -- the Lord Jesus Christ --”

Meaning of Words: “wait for”: look, expect fully;

The Background: at that time, Philippi was the colony of Roman Empire. Some Philippians had the citizenship of Rome. Though they were in Philippi, they were governed by Caesar. Paul used this condition to describe the status of believers. Though believers live on the earth, their citizenship is in heaven.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Since our “citizenship is in heaven”, we should have strong “national consciousness” of the kingdom of the heavens and pay attention to the heavenly profit in everything.

2)    The view and value of believer’s life are different from that of men on the earth, for our hope does not lie on the earth.

3)    Since are merely travelers and sojourners on the earth (Heb. 11:13-16; 1Pet. 2:11), we do not set our eternal hope on the earth.

4)    If Christians have really known that the world is not our home, we will not be troubled by the loss on this earth.

5)    The life of Christians should focus on preparing meeting the Lord’s second coming.

6)    The day of Christ’s second coming is the day in which believers shall be delivered from sign or labor. Therefore, how can we not wait for Him eagerly?


Phil. 3:21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

YLT: “who shall transform the body of our humiliation to its becoming conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working of his power, even to subject to himself the all things.”

Meaning of Words: “working”: operation, effectual working; “lowly”: humble (2:8); “transform”: transfigure;

Literal Meaning:our lowly body”, our physical body had been made subject to weakness, corruption and death (Rom. 8:10, 20-23; 1Cor. 15:42-44) because of the sin and corruption.

“Transform”, when believers are risen, their body will be redeemed and transformed into heavenly image (Rom. 8:11; 1Cor. 15:49-53).

  “Be conformed to His glorious body”, Christ is the first-fruit (1Cor. 15:23). The risen body of those who are of Christ will be like the risen body of Christ.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Men in the world seek physical enjoyment. However it is not the object that we believers pursue.

2)    The body of believers is noble, not “ignoble”. However, if we compare it with the glorious one in the future, it is “lowly”.

3)    Today, when we believers still live on the earth, we are sill restricted with the flesh, e.g. hunger, disease, emotions and etc. However, all these troubles will disappear because of the transformation of our body when the Lord comes again.

4)    The second coming of the Lord Jesus is believers’ greatest hope. The salvation that we cannot fully enjoy will be perfectly experienced and gained at that time.


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


Three Elements of Sound Faith (v.3)

  A. Worship God in the Spirit;

  B. Rejoice in Christ Jesus;

  C. Have no confidence in the flesh;


What is in the Flesh (v.5-6)?

A.   Circumcised the eighth day ---- the distinct mark;

B.   The stock of Israel, the tribe of Benjamin ---- the parentage;

C.   A Hebrew of the Hebrews ---- living environment;

D.   A Pharisee ---- the orthodox ministry;

E.   Persecuting the church ---- be zealous in his faith;

F.    Blameless in works ---- keep the letter and customs;


Ten Stages of the Experience in Christ (v.8-11)

A.   the excellence of the knowledge of Christ

B.   count all things loss

C.   Suffer the loss of all things;

D.   Gain Christ;

E.   be found in Him;

F.    Know Christ further;

G.   Know the power of His resurrection;

H.   Know the fellowship of His sufferings;

I.      Being conformed to His death;

J.    Attain to the resurrection from the dead


Two Different Kinds of Righteousness

A.   The righteousness which is from the law ---- though blameless, unprofitable (v.6-7, 9a);

B.   The righteousness which is through faith in Christ ---- the righteousness which is from God by faith (v.9b);


What is the Gain of Christ?

A.   Gain Christ Himself (v.8b);

B.   Have the righteousness which is through faith in Christ (v.9);

C.   Know Christ and the power of His resurrection (v.10a);

D.   Know the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death (v.10b-11);

E.   Lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me (v.12);


How to Gain Christ?

A.   Know Him objectively (v.8);

B.   Have faith in Him (v.9);

C.   Know Him subjectively (v.10);

D.   Imitate Him (v.10);


The Right Attitudes of the Pursuit of the Lord

A.   Toward the past ---- count all things loss (v.8);

B.   Toward the present ---- not that I have already attained, or am already perfected (v.11);

C.   Toward the future ---- press on and forget those things which are behind and reach forward to those things which are ahead (v.12-13);

D.   Press toward the goal (v.14);


Those Whom Believers Should Beware of

A.   Dogs ---- the legalists who seem to themselves to be right (v.2);

B.   Evil workers ---- the false apostles who preach the truth falsely (v.2);

C.   The mutilation ---- those who show off the mark in the flesh (v.2);

D.   The enemies of the cross of Christ ---- those who disobey the principle of the cross in conversation (v.18);

E.   Those whose god is their belly ---- those who seek to meet the need of their flesh (v.19);

F.    Those whose glory is in their shame ---- those who confuse right and wrong but have no sense of shame (v.19);


Our Heavenly Citizenship

A.   Who have the prize of the upward call of God (v.14);

B.   Who do not set our mind on earthly things (v.19);

C.   Who eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (v.20);

D.   Whose lowly body shall be conformed to His glorious body (v.21);


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Mary Zhou