Philippians 3
Philippians 3

Philippians 3

Philippians 3:1-21

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.

2  Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!

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

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

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;

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

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

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

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;

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

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

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.

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,

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

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.

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

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

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:

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

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

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.

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4 months ago

There is a great danger in any following that leads to a fleshly requirement for righteousness. Paul indicates that what we’ve received in Christ is the death of any adjustments TO the flesh as a prerequisite to the new life we’ve been given. However, he falls very far short of removing any evidence of this resurrection life to be lived out through the flesh. Some have taken the revelations he’s presented in other passages referring to the completed work of Christ to mean that there is no longer any need for adjustments in our flesh – that we’ve already arrived and are perfect. Paul seems to intentionally squelch this notion by discounting any dependence on the flesh while equally submitting everything about His flesh to honoring the purpose of the cross in resurrection life. It would be in error to require efforts of the flesh to attain, but it is equally erroneous to exclude validating movements of the flesh from a new life in Christ.

The purpose of Christ’s resurrection wasn’t to absolve us of any acknowledgment of the flesh altogether but to provide a way for everything done in the flesh to reflect and emulate the life and image of Christ. The very acts we’ve been forgiven and redeemed from should be completely removed from a life that is renewed in Him, not out of personal effort of the flesh, but out of grace-empowered application of faith. He didn’t rise from the grave to spawn walking, practicing sinners that claim perfection through the loophole of the blood. Flesh can never attain that life, but it will definitely inhibit the purpose and transformation of that life if allowed to be retained as its god.

There is a walk that will be followed, both by us and after us. What a tragedy it is when the steps taken in an assumed perfection are actually leading others to a perilous condemnation in a flesh-directed hellish destination. We may retain some semblance of that new life in our elevated presumption of arrival, but there will be no attaining of the purpose in resurrection life of complete deliverance from the flesh, not just as a condemnation, but as a lord and slavemaster. For Jesus to actually be the Lord of new creation, there will be an ever-growing pursuit of an ever-illusive perfection that is always before us in Him.

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