Philippians Chapter Three
In chapter 3 Paul resumes his exhortation; but it was not burdensome to him, and it was safe for them (danger being present and his tender love watchful), to renew his warnings and instructions respecting the admixture of Judaising principles with the doctrine of a glorified Christ. It was in fact to destroy the latter and to reinstate the flesh (that is, sin and alienation from God) in its place. It was the first man, already rejected and condemned, and not the second Man. Yet it is not in the shape of sin that the flesh appears here, but in that of righteousness, of all that is respectable and religious, of ordinances which had the venerable weight of antiquity attached to them, and as to their origin, if all had not been done away in Christ, the authority of God Himself.
To the apostle, who knew Christ in heaven, all this was but a bait to draw the Christian away from Christ, and throw him back again into the ruin out of which Christ had drawn him. And this would be so much the worse, because it would be to abandon a known and glorified Christ, and to return to that which had been proved to be of no value through the flesh. The apostle therefore spares neither the doctrine nor those who taught it.
The glory which he had seen, his contests with these false teachers, the state into which they had thrown the assembly, Jerusalem and Rome, his liberty and his prison-all, had gained him the experience of what Judaism was worth as to the assembly of God. They were dogs, evil workers, that is workers of malice and wickedness. It was not the circumcision. He treats it with profound contempt, and uses language, the harshness of which is justified by his love for theassembly; for love is severe towards those who, devoid of conscience, corrupt the object of that love. It was the concision.
When evil without shame, and labouring to produce evil under a disgraceful veil of religion, is manifested in its true character, mildness is a crime against the objects of the love of Christ. If we love Him, we shall in our intercourse with the assembly give the evil its true character, which it seeks to hide. This is real love and faithfulness to Christ. The apostle had certainly not failed in condescension to the weak in this respect. He had carried it far; his prison testified it. And now the assembly, deprived of his energy and that spiritual decision which was full of love to all which is good, was more in danger than ever. The experience of a whole life of activity, of the greatest patience, of four years' reflection in prison, led to these forcible and urgent words, "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision." The doctrine of the epistle to the Ephesians, the exhortation of that to the Colossians, the affection of that to these Philippians, with the denunciation contained in chapter 3:2, date from the same epoch, and are marked with the same love.
But it sufficed to denounce them. Elsewhere, where they were not well known, he gave details, as in the case of Timotheus, who had still to watch over the assembly. It was sufficient now to point out their well-known character. Whatever Judaised, whatever sought to mingle law and gospel, trusting in ordinances and the Spirit, was shameless, malicious, and contemptible. But the apostle will rather occupy himself with the power that delivers from it. We are the circumcision (that which is really separate from the evil, that which is dead to sin and to the flesh), we who worship God, not in the false pretension of ordinances, but spiritually by the power of the Holy Ghost, who rejoice in Christ the Saviour and not in the flesh, but on the contrary have no confidence in it. We see here Christ and the Spirit in contrast with the flesh and self.
Paul might indeed boast, if needful, in that which belonged to the flesh. As to all Jewish privileges, he possessed them in the highest degree. He had outstript every one in holy zeal against innovators. One thing alone had changed it all-he had seen a glorified Christ. All that he had according to the flesh was thenceforth loss to him. It would place something between him and the Christ of his faith and of his desire-the Christ whom he knew. And, observe, that here it is not the sins of the flesh which Christ expiates and abolishes that he rejects; it is its righteousness. It has none, we may say; but even if the apostle had possessed any righteousness of the flesh-as, in fact, he did possess it outwardly-he would not have it, because he had seen a better. In Christ, who had appeared to him on the way to Damascus, he had seen divine righteousness for man, and divine glory in man. He had seen a glorified Christ, who acknowledged the poor feeble members of the assembly as a part of Himself. He would have nothing else. The excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord had eclipsed everything-changed everything which was not that into loss. The stars, as well as the darkness of night, disappear before the sun. The righteousness of the law, the righteousness of Paul, all that distinguished him among men, disappeared before the righteousness of God and the glory of Christ.
It was a thorough change in his whole moral being. His gain was now loss to him. Christ was become all. It was not evil which disappeared-everything that belonged to Paul as advantage to the flesh disappeared. It was another who was now precious to him. What a deep and radical change in the whole moral being of man, when he ceases to be the centre of his own importance; and another, a worthy of being so, becomes the centre of his moral existence!-a divine person, a man who had glorified God, a man in whom the glory of God shone out, to the eye of faith; in whom His righteousness was realised, His love, His tender mercy, perfectly revealed towards men and known by men. This was He whom Paul desired to win, to possess-for here we are still in the paths of the wilderness-he desired to be found in Him: "That I may win Christ, and be found in him." Two things were present to his faith in this desire: to have the righteousness of God Himself as his (in Christ he should possess it); and then, to know Him and the power of His resurrection-for he only knew Him as risen-and, according to that power working in him now, to have part in the sufferings of Christ, and be made conformable to His death.
It was in His death that perfect love had been demonstrated, that the perfect ground of divine and eternal righteousness had been laid, that self-renunciation was practically, entirely, perfectly, manifested in Christ, the perfect object to the apostle of a faith that apprehended it and desired it according to the new man. Christ had passed through death in the perfection of that life, the power of which was manifested in resurrection.
Paul, having seen this perfection in glory, and being united (weak as he was in himself) to Christ the source of this power, desired to know the power of His resurrection, that he might follow Him in His sufferings. Circumstances held this as a reality before his eyes. His heart only saw, or wished to see, Christ, that he might follow Him there. If death was on the way, he was only so much the more like Christ. He did not mind what it cost, if by any means he might attain. This gave undivided energy of purpose. This is indeed to know Him, as completely put to the test, and thus to know all that He was, His perfection-of love, of obedience, of devotedness-fully manifested; but the object is to win Him as He is.
Having seen Him in the glory, the apostle understood the path which had led Him there, and the perfection of Christ in that path. Participating in His life, he desired to realise its power according to His glory, that he might follow Him, in order to be where Jesus was, and in the glory with Him. This is what the Lord said in John 12:23-26. Who had apprehended Him like Paul by the grace of God? Observe here the difference between him and Peter. Peter calls himself "a witness of the sufferings of Christ and a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed"; Paul, a witness of the glory as it is in heaven ("as he is," as John says), desires to share his sufferings. It is the special foundation of the assembly's place, of walking in the Spirit, according to the revelation of the glory of Christ. It is this, I doubt not, which makes Peter say, that in all Paul's epistles-which he acknowledges moreover as a part of the scriptures-there are some things hard to be understood. It took man clean out of the whole ancient order of things.
Having then seen Christ in glory, there were two things for Paul-the righteousness of God in Christ, and the knowledge of Christ. The first entirely eclipsed everything of which the flesh could boast. This was "mine own," the righteousness of man according to the law. The other was the righteousness of God, which is by faith; that is, man is nothing in it. It is God's righteousness: man has part in it by believing, that is to say, by faith in Christ Jesus. The believer has his place before God in Christ, in the righteousness of God Himself, which He had manifested in glorifying Christ, having glorified Himself in Him. What a position! not only sin, but human righteousness, all that is of self, excluded; our place being according to the perfection in which Christ, as man, has perfectly glorified God. But this place is necessarily the place of Him who has accomplished this glorious work. Christ, in His Person and in His present position,  is the expression of our place: to know Him is to know it. He is there according to divine righteousness. To be there, as He is, is that into which divine righteousness freely, but necessarily, introduces man-introduces us-in Christ. Thenceforth, having seen the righteousness of God in that Christ is there, I desire myself to know what it is to be there: and I desire to know Christ. But in truth this embraces all that He was in accomplishing it. The glory reveals the power and the result. That which He suffered is the work in which He glorified God; so that divine righteousness has been fulfilled in His exaltation, as man, to divine glory. And here divine love, perfect devotedness to His Father's glory, constant and perfect obedience, the endurance of all things in order to give testimony of His Father's love for men, perfect patience, unfathomable sufferings, in order that love might be both possible and perfect for sinners-all in short that Christ was, being connected with His Person, makes Him an object which commands, possesses, delivers, and strengthens the heart, by the power of His grace acting in the new life, in which we are united to Him by the all-powerful link of the Spirit, and causes Him to be the alone object before our eyes.
Accordingly Paul desires to have that which Christ can give, His cup, and His baptism; and to leave to the Father, that which Christ left to Him, the disposal of places in the kingdom. He does not desire, like John and James, the right and left hand, that is, a good place for himself. He desires Christ, he would win Christ. He does not follow tremblingly, as the disciples did in that chapter (Mark 10); he desires to suffer-not, that is, for the sake of suffering, but to have part in the sufferings of Christ. Instead therefore of going away like the young man in the same chapter, because he had much that could profit the flesh, instead of clinging like him to the law for his righteousness, he renounces that righteousness which he had in common with the young man; and all that he had he counted but as dung.
Here then we have the practical personal experience of the operation of this great principle, which the apostle has set forth in other epistles, that we have part with a glorified Christ. Also, in telling of the result as to himself, he speaks of his own resurrection according to the character of Christ's. It is not that of which Peter speaks, as we have seen, the simply participating in the glory that was to be revealed. It is that which precedes. Having seen Christ in the glory, according to the power of His resurrection, he desires to participate in that: and this is the force of his word, "if by any means." He desired to have part in the resurrection from among the dead. If, in order to reach it, it was needful to pass through death (as Christ had done), he would go through it, cost what it might, be it in ever so painful a way-and death was at that time before his eyes with its human terror: he desired fully to take part with Christ.
Now it is the character of this resurrection that it is from among the dead; it is not simply the resurrection of the dead. It is to come out, by the favour and the power of God (as it regards Christ, and indeed us too by Him, by the righteousness of God), from the condition of evil into which sin had plunged men-to come out, after having been dead in sins, and now to sin, through the favour and power and righteousness of God. What grace! and what a difference! By following Christ according to the will of God, in the place where He has set us (and to be content with the lowest place, if God has given it us, is the same renunciation of self as to labour in the highest-the secret of each is, that Christ is everything and ourselves nothing), we participate in His resurrection-a thought full of peace and joy, and which fills the heart with love to Christ. Joyful and glorious hope, which shines before our eyes in Christ, and in that blessed Saviour glorified! The objects of divine favour in Him, we come forth-because the eye of God is upon us, because we are His-from the house of death, which cannot detain those who are His, because the glory and the love of God are concerned in them. Christ is the example and the pattern of our resurrection; the principle (Rom. 8) and the assurance of our resurrection is in Him. The road to it is that which the apostle here traces.
But since resurrection and likeness to Christ in glory were the objects of his hope, it is very evident that he had not attained it. If that was his perfection, he could not be yet perfect. He was, as has been said, on the road; but Christ had apprehended him for it, and he still pressed onward to lay hold of the prize, for the enjoyment of which Christ had laid hold of him. No, he repeats to his brethren, I count not myself to have attained. But one thing at least he could say-he forgot all that was behind him, and pressed on ever towards the goal, keeping it always in sight to obtain the prize of the calling of God, which is found in heaven. Happy Christian! It is a great thing never to lose sight of it, never to have a divided heart, to think but of one thing; to act, to think, always according to the positive energy wrought by the Holy Ghost in the new man, directing him to this only and heavenly object. It is not his sins properly which he here says he forgot-it was his progress that he forgot, his advantages, all that was already behind. And this was not merely the energy that shewed itself at the first impulse; he still counted everything but as dung, because he had still Christ in view. This is true christian life. What a sad moment would it have been for Rebecca, if, in the midst of the desert with Eliezer, she had forgotten Isaac, and begun to think again of Bethuel and her father's house! What had she then in the desert with Eliezer?
Such is the true life and position of the Christian; even as the Israelites, although preserved by the blood from the messenger of judgment, were not in their true place till they were on the other side of the Red Sea, a freed people. Then he is on the road to Canaan, as belonging to God.
The Christian, until he understands this new position which Christ has taken as risen from the dead, is not spiritually in its true place, is not perfect or full-grown in Christ. But when he has attained this, it is not assuredly that he is to despise others. "If," says the apostle, "they were otherwise minded, God would reveal" to them the fulness of His truth; and all were to walk together with one mind in the things to which they had attained. Where the eye was single, it would be so: there were many with whom this was not the case; but the apostle was their example. This was saying much. While Jesus lived the peculiar power of this resurrection life could not be revealed in the same way; and moreover while on earth Christ walked in the consciousness of that which He was with His Father before the world existed, so that, although He endured for the joy that was set before Him, although His life was the perfect pattern of the heavenly man, there was in Him a repose, a communion, which had quite a peculiar character; instructive nevertheless to us, because the Father loves us as He loved Jesus, and Jesus also loves us as the Father loved Him. With Him it was not the energy of one who must run the race in order to attain that which he has never yet possessed; He spoke of that which He knew, and bore witness of that which He had seen, of that which He had forsaken from love to us, the Son of man who is in heaven.
John enters farther into this character of Christ: in his epistle therefore we find more of that which He is in His nature and character, than of what we shall be with Him in the glory. Peter, building on the same foundation as the others, waits however for that which shall be revealed. His pilgrimage was indeed towards heaven, to obtain a treasure which was preserved there, which shall be revealed in the last time; but it is more connected with that which had been already revealed. From his point of view, the morning star on which Paul lived appeared only on the extreme horizon. For him practical life was that of Jesus among the Jews. He could not say with Paul, "Be ye followers of me." The effect of the revelation of the heavenly glory of Christ, between His going away and His reappearance, and that of the union of all Christiansto Him in heaven, was fully realised in him only who received it. Faithful through grace to this revelation, having no other object which guided his steps, or to divide his heart, he gives himself as an example. He truly followed Christ, but the form of his life was peculiar, on account of the way in which God had called him; and it is thus that Christians possessing this revelation ought to walk.
Accordingly Paul speaks of a dispensation committed to him.
It was not to turn their eyes from Christ; it is on having the eyes constantly fixed upon Him that he insists. It was this which characterised the apostle, and in this he gives himself as an example. But the character of this looking to Jesus was special. It was not a Christ known on earth who was its object, but a Christ glorified whom he had seen in heaven. To press ever forward to this end formed the character of his life; even as this same glory of Christ, as a testimony to the bringing in divine righteousness and to the assembly's position, formed the basis of his teaching. Therefore he can say, "Be followers of me." His gaze was ever fixed on the heavenly Christ, who had shone before his eyes and still shone before his faith. The Philippians were thus to walk together, and to mark those who followed the apostle's example; because (for evidently it was a period in which the assembly as a whole had much departed from her first love and her normal condition) there were many who, while bearing the name of Christ and having once given good hope, so that the apostle speaks of them with tears, were enemies of the cross of Christ. For the cross on earth, in our life, answers to the heavenly glory on high. It is not the assembly at Philippi which is the subject here, but the condition of the outward universal assembly. Many were already calling themselves Christians, who joined to that great name a life which had the earth and earthly things for its object. The apostle did not acknowledge them. They were there; it was not a matter of local discipline, but a condition of Christianity, in which even all were seeking their own interest; and, spirituality being thus lowered, the Christ of glory little realised, many who had no life at all might walk among them without being detected, by those who had so little life themselves and scarcely walked better than they did. For it does not appear that they who were minding earthly things committed any evil that required public discipline. The general low tone of spirituality among the real Christians left the others free to walk with them; and the presence of the latter debased Still more the standard of godliness of life.
But this state of things did not escape the spiritual eye of the apostle, which, fixed on the glory, discerned readily and clearly all that had not that glory for its motive; and the Spirit has given us the divine judgment, most grave and solemn, with regard to this state of things. No doubt it has grown enormously worse since then, and its elements have developed and established themselves in a manner and in proportions that are very differently characterised; but the moral principles with regard to walk remain ever the same for the assembly. The same evil is present to be avoided, and the same efficacious means for avoiding it. There is the same blessed example to follow, the same heavenly Saviour to be the glorious object of our faith, the same life to live if we desire to be Christians indeed.
That which characterised these persons who professed the name of Christ was, that their hearts were set upon earthly things. Thus the cross had not its practical power-it would have been a contradiction. Their end therefore was destruction. The true Christian was not such; his conversation was in heaven and not on the earth; his moral life was spent in heaven, his true relationships were there. From thence he expected Christ as a Saviour, that is to say, to deliver him from the earth, from this earthly system far from God here below For salvation is always viewed in this epistle as the final result of the conflict, the result due to the almighty power of the Lord. Then, when Christ shall come to take the assembly to Himself-Christians, truly heavenly, shall be like Him in His heavenly glory, a likeness which is the object of their pursuit at all times (compare 1 John 3:2). Christ will accomplish it in them, conforming their bodies of humiliation to His glorious body according to the power whereby He is able to subdue all things to Himself. Then the apostle and all Christians will have attained the end, the resurrection from among the dead.
Such is the tenor of this chapter. Christ, seen in glory, is the spring of energy to christian life, to win Christ, so that all else is loss; as Christ making Himself of no reputation is the spring of christian graciousness of walk: the two parts of christian life which we are too apt to sacrifice one to another or at least to pursue one forgetful of the other. In both Paul singularly shines. In the following chapter we have superiority to circumstances. This also is Paul's experience and state; for it will be remarked that it is the personal experience of Paul which runs all through his (humanly speaking) faultless experience-not perfection. Likeness to Christ in glory is the only standard of that. As to this third chapter, many have inquired whether the thing aimed at was a spiritual assimilation to Christ here, or a complete assimilation to Him in the glory. This is rather to forget the import of what the apostle says, namely, that the sight and the desire of the heavenly glory, the desire of possessing Christ Himself thus glorified, was that which formed the heart here below. An object here below to be attained in oneself could not be found, since Christ is on high; it would be to separate the heart from the object which forms it to its own likeness. But although we never reach the mark here below, since it is a glorified Christ and resurrection from among the dead, yet its pursuit assimilates us more and more to Him. The object in the glory forms the life which answers to it here below. Were a light at the end of a long straight alley, I never have the light itself till I am arrived there; but I have ever increasing light in proportion as I go forward; I know it better; I am more in the light myself. Thus it is with a glorified Christ, and such is christian life (compare 2 Cor. 3).
 Not, of course, as to being at the right hand of God-this was personal.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Philippians》
The apostle cautions the Philippians against judaizing false teachers, and renounces his own former privileges. (1-11) Expresses earnest desire to be found in Christ; also his pressing on toward perfection; and recommends his own example to other believers. (12-21)
Commentary on Philippians 3:1-11
(Read Philippians 3:1-11)
Sincere Christians rejoice in Christ Jesus. The prophet calls the false prophets dumb dogs, Isaiah 56:10; to which the apostle seems to refer. Dogs, for their malice against faithful professors of the gospel of Christ, barking at them and biting them. They urged human works in opposition to the faith of Christ; but Paul calls them evil-workers. He calls them the concision; as they rent the church of Christ, and cut it to pieces. The work of religion is to no purpose, unless the heart is in it, and we must worship God in the strength and grace of the Divine Spirit. They rejoice in Christ Jesus, not in mere outward enjoyments and performances. Nor can we too earnestly guard against those who oppose or abuse the doctrine of free salvation. If the apostle would have gloried and trusted in the flesh, he had as much cause as any man. But the things which he counted gain while a Pharisee, and had reckoned up, those he counted loss for Christ. The apostle did not persuade them to do any thing but what he himself did; or to venture on any thing but that on which he himself ventured his never-dying soul. He deemed all these things to be but loss, compared with the knowledge of Christ, by faith in his person and salvation. He speaks of all worldly enjoyments and outward privileges which sought a place with Christ in his heart, or could pretend to any merit and desert, and counted them but loss; but it might be said, It is easy to say so; but what would he do when he came to the trial? He had suffered the loss of all for the privileges of a Christian. Nay, he not only counted them loss, but the vilest refuse, offals thrown to dogs; not only less valuable than Christ, but in the highest degree contemptible, when set up as against him. True knowledge of Christ alters and changes men, their judgments and manners, and makes them as if made again anew. The believer prefers Christ, knowing that it is better for us to be without all worldly riches, than without Christ and his word. Let us see what the apostle resolved to cleave to, and that was Christ and heaven. We are undone, without righteousness wherein to appear before God, for we are guilty. There is a righteousness provided for us in Jesus Christ, and it is a complete and perfect righteousness. None can have benefit by it, who trust in themselves. Faith is the appointed means of applying the saving benefit. It is by faith in Christ's blood. We are made conformable to Christ's death, when we die to sin, as he died for sin; and the world is crucified to us, and we to the world, by the cross of Christ. The apostle was willing to do or to suffer any thing, to attain the glorious resurrection of saints. This hope and prospect carried him through all difficulties in his work. He did not hope to attain it through his own merit and righteousness, but through the merit and righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Commentary on Philippians 3:12-21
(Read Philippians 3:12-21)
This simple dependence and earnestness of soul, were not mentioned as if the apostle had gained the prize, or were already made perfect in the Saviour's likeness. He forgot the things which were behind, so as not to be content with past labours or present measures of grace. He reached forth, stretched himself forward towards his point; expressions showing great concern to become more and more like unto Christ. He who runs a race, must never stop short of the end, but press forward as fast as he can; so those who have heaven in their view, must still press forward to it, in holy desires and hopes, and constant endeavours. Eternal life is the gift of God, but it is in Christ Jesus; through his hand it must come to us, as it is procured for us by him. There is no getting to heaven as our home, but by Christ as our Way. True believers, in seeking this assurance, as well as to glorify him, will seek more nearly to resemble his sufferings and death, by dying to sin, and by crucifying the flesh with its affections and lusts. In these things there is a great difference among real Christians, but all know something of them. Believers make Christ all in all, and set their hearts upon another world. If they differ from one another, and are not of the same judgment in lesser matters, yet they must not judge one another; while they all meet now in Christ, and hope to meet shortly in heaven. Let them join in all the great things in which they are agreed, and wait for further light as to lesser things wherein they differ. The enemies of the cross of Christ mind nothing but their sensual appetites. Sin is the sinner's shame, especially when gloried in. The way of those who mind earthly things, may seem pleasant, but death and hell are at the end of it. If we choose their way, we shall share their end. The life of a Christian is in heaven, where his Head and his home are, and where he hopes to be shortly; he sets his affections upon things above; and where his heart is, there will his conversation be. There is glory kept for the bodies of the saints, in which they will appear at the resurrection. Then the body will be made glorious; not only raised again to life, but raised to great advantage. Observe the power by which this change will be wrought. May we be always prepared for the coming of our Judge; looking to have our vile bodies changed by his Almighty power, and applying to him daily to new-create our souls unto holiness; to deliver us from our enemies, and to employ our bodies and souls as instruments of righteousness in his service.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Philippians》
 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.
The same things — Which you have heard before.
 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
Beware of dogs — Unclean, unholy, rapacious men. The title which the Jews usually gave the gentiles, he returns upon themselves.
The concision — Circumcision being now ceased, the apostle will not call them the circumcision, but coins a term on purpose, taken from a Greek word used by the LXX, Leviticus 21:5, for such a cutting as God had forbidden.
 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
For we — Christians. Are the only true circumcision - The people now in covenant with God.
Who worship God in spirit — Not barely in the letter, but with the spiritual worship of inward holiness.
And glory in Christ Jesus — As the only cause of all our blessings.
And have no confidence in the flesh — In any outward advantage or prerogative.
 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
Though I — He subjoins this in the singular number, because the Philippians could not say thus.
 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;
Circumcised the eighth day — Not at ripe age, as a proselyte.
Of the tribe of Benjamin — Sprung from the wife, not the handmaid.
An Hebrew of Hebrews — By both my parents; in everything, nation, religion, language.
Touching the law, a pharisee — One of that sect who most accurately observe it.
 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Having such a zeal for it as to persecute to the death those who did not observe it. Touching the righteousness which is described and enjoined by the Law - That is, external observances, blameless.
 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
But all these things, which I then accounted gain, which were once my confidence, my glory, and joy, those, ever since I have believed, I have accounted loss, nothing worth in comparison of 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,
Yea, I still account both all these and all things else to be mere loss, compared to the inward, experimental knowledge of Christ, as my Lord, as my prophet, priest, and king, as teaching me wisdom, atoning for my sins, and reigning in my heart. To refer this to justification only, is miserably to pervert the whole scope of the words. They manifestly relate to sanctification also; yea, to that chiefly. For whom I have actually suffered the loss of all things - Which the world loves, esteems, or admires; of which I am so far from repenting, that I still account them but dung - The discourse rises. Loss is sustained with patience, but dung is cast away with abhorrence. The Greek word signifies any, the vilest refuse of things, the dross of metals, the dregs of liquors, the excrements of animals, the most worthless scraps of meat, the basest offals, fit only for dogs.
That I may gain Christ — He that loses all things, not excepting himself, gains Christ, and is gained by Christ. And still there is more; which even St. Paul speaks of his having not yet gained.
 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
And be found by God ingrafted in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law - That merely outward righteousness prescribed by the law, and performed by my own strength. But that inward righteousness which is through faith - Which can flow from no other fountain.
The righteousness which is from God — From his almighty Spirit, not by my own strength, but by faith alone. Here also the apostle is far from speaking of justification only.
 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
The knowledge of Christ, mentioned in the eighth verse, is here more largely explained.
That I may know him — As my complete Saviour.
And the power of his resurrection — Raising me from the death of sin, into all the life of love.
And the fellowship of his sufferings — Being crucified with him.
And made conformable to his death — So as to be dead to all things here below.
 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
The resurrection of the dead — That is, the resurrection to glory.
 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Not that I have already attained — The prize. He here enters on a new set of metaphors, taken from a race. But observe how, in the utmost fervour, he retains his sobriety of spirit.
Or am already perfected — There is a difference between one that is perfect, and one that is perfected. The one is fitted for the race, Philippians 3:15; the other, ready to receive the prize.
But I pursue, if I may apprehend that — Perfect holiness, preparatory to glory. For, in order to which I was apprehended by Christ Jesus - Appearing to me in the way, Acts 26:14. The speaking conditionally both here and in the preceding verse, implies no uncertainty, but only the difficulty of attaining.
 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I do not account myself to have apprehended this already; to be already possessed of perfect holiness.
 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Forgetting the things that are behind — Even that part of the race which is already run.
And reaching forth unto — Literally, stretched out over the things that are before - Pursuing with the whole bent and vigour of my soul, perfect holiness and eternal glory.
In Christ Jesus — The author and finisher of every good thing.
 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
Let us, as many as are perfect — Fit for the race, strong in faith; so it means here.
Be thus minded — Apply wholly to this one thing.
And if in anything ye — Who are not perfect, who are weak in faith.
Be otherwise minded — Pursuing other things. God, if ye desire it, shall reveal even this unto you - Will convince you of it.
 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
But let us take care not to lose the ground we have already gained. Let us walk by the same rule we have done hitherto.
 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
Mark them — For your imitation.
 (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:
Weeping — As he wrote.
Enemies of the cross of Christ — Such are all cowardly, all shamefaced, all delicate Christians.
 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
Whose end is destruction — This is placed in the front, that what follows may be read with the greater horror.
Whose god is their belly — Whose supreme happiness lies in gratifying their sensual appetites.
Who mind — Relish, desire, seek, earthly things.
 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Our conversation — The Greek word is of a very extenslve meaning: our citizenship, our thoughts, our affections, are already in heaven.
 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Who will transform our vile body — Into the most perfect state, and the most beauteous form. It will then be purer than the unspotted firmament, brighter than the lustre of the stars and, which exceeds all parallel, which comprehends all perfection, like unto his glorious body - Like that wonderfully glorious body which he wears in his heavenly kingdom, and on his triumphant throne.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Philippians》
Chapter 3. The Goal of Believers
Lose All Things
I. Watch Out Erroneous Teaching
II. Press on Toward the Goal
III. Wait for the Lord's Coming
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Chapter Three General Review
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER
1) To see the error of placing confidence in fleshly accomplishments
2) To understand the need to strive toward perfection in our desire to
know and serve Christ
3) To be reminded of our true citizenship in heaven
In this chapter we find a warning against those who place great
confidence in the flesh (1-3). If anyone had reason to boast about
fleshly accomplishments, it was Paul with his Jewish heritage (4-6).
But all such things were considered rubbish in relation to the
excellence of knowing Christ Jesus (7-8). Therefore Paul had as his
goal to be found in Christ, having that righteousness which is by faith
in Jesus, knowing Him and the power of His resurrection, and even
sharing in His sufferings, that he might by any means attain to the
resurrection from the dead (9-11).
Paul then describes his attitude of pressing on, and encourages all to
follow his example and that of others who walk likewise (12-17). Such
an exhortation is necessary in view of the reality that there are many
people who are enemies of the cross of Christ, who have made their
fleshly appetites the focus of their minds, and indeed their god
(18-19). Christians, however, should remember that their true
citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly wait for Jesus Christ
who will transform our lowly bodies to be conformed to His glorious
I. WARNINGS AGAINST JUDAISM (1-11)
A. BEWARE OF THE JUDAIZERS (1-3)
1. Rejoice in the Lord! (1)
2. Beware of "dogs", evil workers, the false circumcision (2)
3. For the true circumcision are those who...
a. Worship God in the Spirit
b. Rejoice in Christ
c. Have no confidence in the flesh (3)
B. PAUL'S EARLIER CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH (4-6)
1. Paul had many grounds for boasting in the flesh (4)
2. A list of things pertaining to the flesh in which he could
have boasted (5-6)
C. PAUL'S DESIRE TO KNOW CHRIST (7-11)
1. He counted all as loss for the surpassing value of knowing
2. He supreme goal:
a. To have that righteousness which comes through faith in
b. To know Christ and the power of His resurrection (
c. To share in His sufferings, even in His death, that by any
means he might attain to the resurrection from the dead
II. WARNINGS AGAINST ANTINOMIANISM (12-21)
A. PAUL'S ATTITUDE OF PRESSING ON (12-14)
1. He does not consider himself perfect, so he presses on (12)
2. He forgets those things which are behind, and reaches forward
to what lies ahead (13)
3. His goal is the prize of the upward call of God in Christ
B. AN EXHORTATION FOR THEM TO HAVE THE SAME MIND (15-17)
1. Let those who are mature have the same mind (15)
2. To the degree you have already attained, so live (16)
3. Follow the example set by Paul and others, who live this way
C. A WARNING AGAINST THE ENEMIES OF THE CROSS (18-19)
1. With tears, Paul warns them of those who do not walk properly
2. Such people set their minds on earthly things, making their
belly their god (19)
D. A REMINDER OF OUR TRUE CITIZENSHIP (20-21)
1. Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly wait for
2. Who when He comes will transform our lowly body to conform to
His glorious body (21)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
- Warnings against Judaism (1-11)
- Warnings against antinomianism (12-21)
2) Who does Paul warn against? (2)
- Dogs, evil workers, the "mutilation" (false circumcision); i.e.,
Judaizers, those who would impose circumcision and the keeping of
the Law of Moses on Gentile Christians (cf. Ac 15:1-6)
3) What characterizes those who are the true circumcision? (3)
- They worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have
no confidence in the flesh
4) What sort of things could Paul have boasted pertaining to the flesh?
- Circumcised the eighth day
- Of the stock of
- Of the tribe of Benjamin
- A Hebrew of the Hebrews
- Concerning the Law, a Pharisee
- Concerning zeal, persecuting the church
- Concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless
5) How did Paul view these fleshly things? (7-8)
- As loss, as rubbish, in contrast to the excellence of the
knowledge of Christ Jesus
6) What was Paul's earnest desire? (9-11)
- To be found in Christ
- To have the righteousness that comes through faith in Him
- To know Him and the power of His resurrection
- To know the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His
- To attain to the resurrection from the dead
7) Did Paul view himself as having already attained, or having been
8) According to Paul, what was the "one thing" he did? (13-14)
- Forgetting those things which are behind, reaching forward to
those things ahead, he pressed toward the goal for the prize of
the upward call of God in Christ Jesus
9) What is the attitude, or mind, of those who are "mature"? (15)
- The attitude Paul had, of pressing on
10) How should the Christian walk? (16)
- To the degree or rule that they have attained
11) Whose example were the Philippians to follow? (17)
- Paul's, and those whose "walk" was similar to his
12) What description is given of those who are "enemies of the cross of
- Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, their glory is
in their shame, and they set their minds on earthly things
13) Where is our citizenship? (20)
- In heaven
14) What will Christ do when He comes again? (21)
- Transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious
The True Circumcision Of God (3:1-16)
1. Throughout his ministry as an apostle of Jesus Christ, Paul had to
contend with certain Jewish Christians
a. Known today as "Judaizers", they were false teachers who often
followed Paul wherever he went
b. They would try to bind the act of circumcision and the Law of
Moses itself upon Gentile Christians - e.g., Ac 15:1-2
2. Even as he writes this "epistle of joy", encouraging the brethren to
rejoice in the Lord (3:1), he finds it necessary to warn them of
these false teachers (3:2-3)
a. In these verses, we find Paul making a play on words...
1) He calls the Judaizers "katatome" (mutilation) - 3:2
2) And refers to true Christians as "peritome" (circumcision)
b. In doing so, he also declares that "the true circumcision" are
1) Worship God in the Spirit
2) Rejoice in Christ Jesus
3) Have no confidence in the flesh
3. Using himself as an example, Paul further defines the attitudes and
characteristics of those who are "The True Circumcision Of God"
[In doing so, Paul actually does it in an order reverse to what we find
in verse 3; thus first illustrating "The True Circumcision Of God" as
I. HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH (4-8)
A. IF ANY COULD, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN PAUL...
1. He could have boasted in things of a "RACIAL" nature
a. "circumcised the eighth day"
1) A genuine Jew from birth
2) Not a proselyte
b. "of the stock of
1) Directly descended from Jacob
a) The Arabs could boast of their descent from Abraham
b) The Edomites could boast of Isaac
2) But only the Jews could boast of Jacob, who had prevailed
with God and was given the name "
" (literally, "one Israel
who strives with God")
c. "of the tribe of Benjamin"
1) The son of Jacob's beloved wife, Rachel
2) The only son actually born in the promised land
's first king, Saul, was from this tribe Israel
4) The only tribe that remained true to
when the Judah
kingdom was divided
d. "a Hebrew of the Hebrews"
1) Both his parents were Jews
2) He was true to the customs of the Jews, not a Grecian or
2. He could have boasted in things of a "RELIGIOUS" nature
a. "concerning the law, a Pharisee"
1) A very religious person
2) Belonging to a sect known for their loyalty, patriotism,
and conservatism to the Law of Moses
b. "concerning zeal, persecuting the church"
1) Illustrates his sincerity and enthusiasm for his religion
2) Always true to his conscience - cf. Ac 23:1; 26:9-11
c. "concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless"
1) Not that he was perfect
2) But was diligent in fulfilling the requirements of the
Law (e.g., animal sacrifices)
B. YET PAUL CONSIDERED THESE THINGS AS "LOSS FOR CHRIST" (7-8)
1. All these things which could have provided Paul with prestige
and social standing, he counted as loss
2. In fact, he lost many things when he chose to follow Christ
- cf. 1 Co 4:11-13
3. Yet, compared to the excellence of the knowledge of Christ,
they were to Paul nothing more than "rubbish" (literally,
C. WHAT ABOUT US?
1. Do we place confidence in our fleshly accomplishments?
2. Do we take pride in our racial background, religious heritage,
3. Or do we consider such things as "rubbish" compared to the
knowledge of Jesus Christ?
[How we answer helps to determine whether we are "The True Circumcision
Of God"! But there is more; those who are the "true circumcision"...]
II. REJOICE IN CHRIST JESUS (9-11)
A. THEIR JOY IS NOT IN THINGS MATERIAL OR FLESHLY, BUT IN CHRIST!
1. As in Paul's case, he considered fleshly accomplishments as
2. His compelling desire was to "gain Christ" (8)
B. WHAT IT MEANS TO "GAIN CHRIST" (9-11)
1. To "be found in Him", which includes...
a. "not having my own righteousness, which is from the law"
(not trusting in his keeping the Law of Moses to save him)
b. "but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness
which is from God by faith" (experiencing salvation as a gift
from God through faith in Jesus)
2. To "know Him"
a. The word "know" as used here, means...
1) "to recognize" or "to become acquainted with"
2) I.e., a personal knowledge, not a theoretical or vicarious
b. In particular, to know "the power of His resurrection"
1) The same power Paul wanted the Ephesians to know - Ep
2) A power that is first experienced in baptism into Christ
- Co 2:12-13
3) And throughout our lives - Ep 3:20-21
4) And ultimately in our own bodily resurrection - Ph 3:
c. To know "the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to
1) In his effort to know Christ, Paul wanted to experience
and share even in His sufferings!
2) "Such fellowship in the sufferings of Christ includes a
turning from sin, and the death of self. It may involve
much hardship for the sake of Christ. For Paul it finally
meant martyrdom." (CHARLES ERDMAN)
3) We all should be willing to do the same! - cf. 1 Pe 4:1-2
3. To "attain to the resurrection from the dead"
a. This would be the ultimate experience in "gaining Christ"!
b. I.e., a personal and experiential knowledge of the "power" of
C. WHAT ABOUT US?
1. Such was the goal of Paul's life, the source of his true joy!
2. Can this said about us?
3. Is our goal in life to truly "know Christ"?
[If it is, then what Paul continues to say will be our attitude also;
for "The True Circumcision Of God" are also those who...]
III. WORSHIP GOD IN THE SPIRIT (12-16)
A. JESUS WAS THE FIRST TO DEFINE "TRUE WORSHIP" AS SPIRITUAL
1. In His discussion with the Samaritan woman at the well - Jn 4:
2. Since God is Spirit, our worship must be of the spirit as well,
and not limited to particular locations
B. PAUL DESCRIBES THE ATTITUDES OF THOSE WHO WORSHIP GOD IN THE
1. They are never satisfied with their present spiritual condition
2. With perseverance, they press on (13-15)
a. Not looking back
1) Resting on past laurels
2) Or bemoaning past failures
b. But ever reaching forward, which is a mark of spiritual
3. All the while living up to the standard of knowledge they have
1. Do these attitudes characterize our devotion to God and His Son?
a. Do we worship God by allowing His Spirit and the Spirit-given Word
to rule over our complete lives?
b. Do we consider the relationship we are developing with Christ to be
our primary joy and focus in life?
c. Do we place no confidence in the flesh?
--- If so, then we are "The True Circumcision of God"!
2. As Paul invites us to do in verse 17, let's be sure to follow his
How does one begin in becoming "The True Circumcision Of God"? It
begins when we in faith submit to the working of God in baptism, in
which we experience the "circumcision of Christ" (cf. Co 2:11-13).
Have you had the "circumcision made without hands" (i.e., been baptized
into Christ for the forgiveness of your sins - Ac 2:38)?
"THE EXCELLENCE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST"
1. Prior to his conversion to Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul was on the
"fast track", a "rising star" in the religion of Judaism - cf. Ga 1:
13-14; Ph 3:4-6
2. But once he came to know who Jesus Christ really was, all the power,
all the prestige, all the position of influence that he once had,
meant nothing - cf. Ph 3:7-8
3. What mattered now was for him to "know Jesus Christ":
"...I also count all things loss for the excellence of the
knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord..." (Ph 3:8)
4. What is there about the knowledge of Jesus Christ that makes it so
desirable for people like Paul and countless others? And should we
desire this "knowledge," how do we gain it?
[To answer these questions, let's first make some observations
I. THE KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST THAT IS "EXCELLENT"
A. IT MUST BE A "PERSONAL" KNOWLEDGE...
1. We cannot come to know Jesus solely through another person's
acquaintance with Him
2. While we may initially learn about Jesus from others,
especially the authors of the New Testament, we must come to
know Him for ourselves
a. Like Paul, we must speak in the first person: "that I may
know Him" (Ph 3:10)
b. The "faith of our fathers" must become OUR faith, for God
does not have any "grandchildren"
B. IT MUST BE AN "INTELLIGENT" KNOWLEDGE...
1. Jesus does not expect us to commit "intellectual suicide" to
know Him, He desires us to use our minds as well - Mt 22:37
2. Thus we should desire to know all the Word reveals about
a. His natures, both divine and human
b. His offices, both as king and priest, savior and shepherd
c. His works, both then and now
d. His past shame and suffering, his present and future glory
C. IT MUST BE AN "AFFECTIONATE" KNOWLEDGE...
1. If I know Him at all, I must love Him
2. Indeed, I am accursed if I do not! - cf. 1 Co 16:22
3. As with our minds, so we must love the Lord with all our
hearts - Mt 22:37
D. IT WILL BE A "SATISFYING" KNOWLEDGE...
1. It will satisfy where other things do not - cf. Paul's
willingness to forego the advantages he had in Judaism
2. It will be the "bread" that fills our hunger, and the "water"
that quenches our thirst - cf. Jn 6:35
E. IT WILL BE AN "EXCITING" KNOWLEDGE...
1. The more we know of the "Beloved", the more we will want to
2. We will come to realize that in Him "are hidden all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge" - Co 2:3
3. We will realize that "in Him dwells all the fullness of the
Godhead bodily" - Co 2:9
4. And that WE are "complete in Him, who is the head of all
principality and power" - Co 2:10
F. IT WILL BE A "HAPPY" KNOWLEDGE...
1. For in Him is the key to joy despite all our circumstances
- cf. Ph 4:4
2. We may have tribulation, but in Christ we can have joy! - cf.
[Such is the "excellence" of this knowledge of Jesus Christ! Is it not
worth having? More than anything in the world! - cf. Ph 3:8
But how do we get it?]
II. GROWING IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST
A. THE WORD OF GOD IS ESSENTIAL...
1. The only accurate source for learning about Jesus is the Word
a. Movies, books, magazines, etc., written by men can be
entertaining and sometimes instructive; but such are often
filled with erroneous concepts
b. The only reliable source is the inspired Word that we call
2. And we should not limit our search for knowledge about Jesus
to the four gospels...
a. The Old Testament contain Messianic prophecies that reveal
much about the nature of Christ - e.g., Is 9:6-7; Micah 5:2
b. The book of Acts describes the only history we have of the
beginning and early years of His church
c. The epistles reveal much about His present work as our King
and High Priest - e.g., He 2:17-18; 4:14-16; 1 Pe 3:22;
3. So if you wish to truly learn of Jesus, you must commit
yourself to a study of the Word of God!
B. BUT SO IS OBEDIENCE...
1. It is not enough to just have "head knowledge" concerning
2. For the "true knowledge" of Jesus comes only as we obey Him
- cf. 1 Jn 2:1-6
3. And especially as we develop the qualities of character He
displayed, which is the goal of all His commandments - cf.
2 Pe 1:5-8
a. Note that it is only when these Christ-like qualities are
"yours and abound" can it be said that we are "neither
barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus
b. This is what it really means to "grow in the grace and
knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." - 2 Pe 3:18
1. Have you come to "know" Jesus Christ our Lord? Have you begun to
experience what Paul called "the excellence of the knowledge of
Christ Jesus my Lord"?
2. If not, why not start today? The Savior's tender invitation is
still open to all who heed it:
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest."
"Take my yoke upon you and LEARN FROM ME,
for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls."
"For My yoke is easy and My burden is light"
- Mt 11:28-30
You can come to Jesus by heeding the gospel message He wanted the whole
world to hear (Mk 16:15-16), and then continue to learn from Him as
you heed all the things He commanded His apostles (Mt 28:19-20)!
Two Ways To Walk (3:17-21)
1. As we continue our examination of Paul's "epistle of joy", we now find
him discussing two different ways to walk in this life...
a. The walk of one who is "a citizen of heaven"
b. The walk of one who is "an enemy of the cross of Christ"
2. Hopefully, there should be no question as to which way we are to walk;
but to better understand why, we will look closely at some reasons
Paul gives in this passage
[First, we notice...]
I. AN ADMONITION TO WALK LIKE PAUL AND OTHERS (17)
A. "JOIN IN FOLLOWING MY EXAMPLE"...
1. Paul frequently encouraged others to follow his example - cf.
Ph 4:9; 1 Co 4:16; 11:1
2. Some brethren evidently took him up on it - e.g., 1 Th 1:6-9
3. In what way were people to imitate Paul?
a. To the degree he tried to imitate Christ - 1 Co 11:1
b. Perhaps also in his devotion to Jesus Christ - cf. Ph 3:7-16
B. "NOTE THOSE WHO SO WALK, AS YOU HAVE US FOR A PATTERN"...
1. Just as there were some in Thessalonica who imitated Paul (1 Th
1:6-9), so there were those at Philippi who did the same, and
were thus worthy of emulation
2. Noticing the examples of others can be very beneficial - cf. Ps
3. Especially when we consider the outcome of their conduct - cf.
C. WE SHOULD NOT ONLY BE GOOD IMITATORS, BUT GOOD EXAMPLES OURSELVES!
1. This is especially true of those who teach and preach God's Word
- 1 Ti 4:12; Ti 2:7-8
2. Which includes those who serve as elders - He 13:7; 1 Pe 5:1-3
[The reasons for noting those who are worthy of emulation is given
later in this passage. But first there is...]
II. A WARNING CONCERNING THOSE WHO WALK AS "ENEMIES OF THE CROSS" (18-19)
A. "OF WHOM I HAVE TOLD YOU OFTEN"...
1. Paul found "repetition" to be a valuable tool - cf. Ga 1:8,9;
5:21; Ph 3:1
2. Also, that it was necessary to be "negative" at times - cf. Ph
B. "AND NOW TELL YOU EVEN WEEPING"...
1. Negative preaching, when necessary, should not be done without
compassion - e.g., 2 Co 2:4
2. Even here, Paul is setting the right example...
a. To love our enemies
b. Even those who are "enemies of the cross"!
C. WHO ARE THESE "ENEMIES OF THE CROSS"?
1. We know they are MANY people
a. "For many walk" - cf. Mt 7:13-14
b. So not just a few
2. We know their END
a. "whose end is destruction" - cf. 2 Th 1:7-9
b. Have we seriously considered the outcome of their conduct?
3. We know who is their GOD
a. "whose god is their belly"
b. I.e., those who are set on satisfying only their fleshly
4. We know wherein is their GLORY
a. "whose glory is in their shame"
b. They take pride in things that are actually shameful
5. We know upon what they set their MINDS
a. "who set their mind on earthly things"
b. Contrast this with where Christians are to set their minds -
Ph 4:8; Co 3:1-2
[Where is our "mindset"? How we answer may determine whether or not WE
are "enemies of the cross of Christ"!
As a motivation not to be "enemies of the cross", we notice Paul now
shares a few...]
III. REASONS TO WALK LIKE PAUL AND OTHERS (20-21)
A. "FOR OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN"...
1. Our true loyalty is to that above, not that on earth!
2. It is there where our "inheritance" is reserved - 1 Pe 1:3-4
3. Therefore, we have special responsibilities - cf. 1 Pe 2:9-12
B. "WE EAGERLY WAIT FOR THE SAVIOR...WHO WILL TRANSFORM OUR LOWLY
1. Though now in heaven, our Savior is coming again one day! - Ac
2. When He does, what glory there will be for those who are
"citizens of heaven"!
a. He will "transform our lowly body"!
b. It will be "conformed to His glorious body"!
3. This He will do by the same POWER by which He subdues all things
to Himself - cf. Mt 28:18; 1 Pe 3:22
1. Are not these good reasons to walk like Paul?
2. Brethren, how are we walking in this life?
a. As "citizens of heaven"?
b. Or "enemies of the cross of Christ"?
3. The answer depends upon where we have set our MINDS:
a. If on EARTHLY things...we are "enemies of the cross of Christ"!
1) We make our bellies to be our god
2) We glory in that which is shameful
3) Our end will be destruction
b. But if on HEAVENLY things...we are "citizens of heaven"!
1) We eagerly await Christ's coming
2) We eagerly await our transformation
4. Have you become...
a. A "citizen of heaven"? If not, why not become one today? - Jn
b. An "enemy of the cross"? If so, why not "defect" today? - 1 Pe