|Philippians 3 |
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1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. It is not grievous to me to write the same things to you again, and is for your safety.
2 Beware of [Judiazer] dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh [circumcision].
3 For we are the true circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
4 Though I myself might have reason for confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinks that he has the right to trust in the flesh, I have more.
5 Circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; according to the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But whatever things were previously valuable to me, I consider as loss for Christ's sake.
8 Yes without doubt, I count all things as loss compared to the surpassing excellence of the knowing Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and consider them as dung, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness that is from God by faith; [Righteousness is imputed when you receive faith with the fruit of the Spirit, against which is no law, to then walk in love, obeying the continuous commands of Christ; this occurs at the death of your selfish spirit on the inward cross of self-denial.]
10 That I may know him, to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings, and even be conformed to him in his death; [Paul writes of experiencing the power of His resurrection and be like him in his death. If you will reign with him, you must suffer with him, 2 Tim 2:12; if you will live with him, you must die with him, 2 Tim 2:11; and if you die with him, you must be buried with him, Rom 6:4; and buried with him in the true baptism, you will be raised with him, Col 2:12, Eph 2:6. We die with Him (Jesus) when we undergo the baptism of fire and death; from the Word of the Lord: "There is a dying. One actually dies to enter the camp. You are raised to a new life, not just an imitation; He is one with us and ever-present."]
11 in order to attain the resurrection from death. [After we have crucified our old man, we are raised with Christ as a new creature. From the Word of the Lord within: "Christ is actually resurrected in every person that comes to Him and obeys Him repetitively." Then it is no longer you who lives, but Christ who lives in you, Gal 2:20. Paul is encouraging the Philippians who have not yet died in the baptism of death and been resurrected to a new life with Christ and God in them.]
12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect,1 but I press on, so that I may apprehend that for which I am apprehended by Christ Jesus. [Paul is being modest and advises all to remain humble and modest, not boasting of their position in Christ. In these next verses he is telling perfect men to follow him as the example of humility. See Footnotes 1 and Footnote 3 to verse 15 below.]
13 Brethren, I do not consider myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do: forgetting those things that are past, and reaching forth to those things that are ahead,2 [From the Word of the Lord within: "Once you have expressed sorrow over the past, it is redundant to bring it up again. Forget the feelings of having past failed. Through guilt you can become entangled again. Forgetting what lies behind, we press onward."]
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded;3 and if in anything you are otherwise minded, God will reveal this to you. [Paul is instructing perfect men to be like him; and then in verse 17 below, he tells them to be followers of him. Whom would perfect men follow but another perfect man? — proving Paul was clearly perfect.]
16 Nevertheless, to where we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
17 Brothers, be followers of me, and observe those who walk after the pattern we have set, so as to have us for an example.
18 For many walk, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you weeping, who are the enemies of the cross of Christ; [Because Christianity teaches there is no need take up the cross to destroy your selfish, sinful nature through the inward cross, they are truly enemies of the cross.]
19 Their end is destruction, their God is their belly [desires, lusts], and whose glory is their shame, who think on earthly things.4
20 For our citizenship is in heaven [having been translated there]; from where we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
21 Who will change our vile body, so that it is transformed to be like his glorious body, according to the working by which he is able to subdue all things to himself.
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1 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect.
Many people point to this verse, trying to prove that Paul was not perfect; so they can think no one can be perfect; so they can rationalize doing nothing.
Paul said: Not as though I were already perfect, and I do not consider myself to have apprehended.
Paul is saying that he is not resting on his laurels; he is not sitting back in comfort of what he has attained.
Rather he presses full-on that I may win Christ. That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection,
and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death. Phil 3:10
Paul was just being humble when he said: Not as though I were already perfect.
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect. Phil 3:12
He did not say: I am not perfect.
He said, Not as though I were already perfect. He is talking about an attitude about being perfect; he is showing humility and modesty, the opposite of boasting.
From the Word of the Lord within: "Modesty: be modest in all things."
This case is strongly supported in the next verses. Read Footnote 3 below.
2 forgetting those things that are past, and reaching forth to those things that are ahead, From the Word of the Lord within: "Once you have expressed sorrow over the past, it is redundant to bring it up again. Forget the feelings of having past failed. Through guilt you can become entangled again. Forgetting what lies behind, we press onward."
If we wallow in our guilt over past sins, we reach despair, losing all hope, making it very easy to return to our old ways of sin. If we lose our hope and enter despair, then we no longer have the motivation to seek the Lord's changing grace, and we look for comfort elsewhere — the lusts and pleasures of the world, thus becoming entangled in sin again.
The Lord only exposes those sins that we are unwilling to admit, face, or those of which we are not even conscious. What we regret having done in the past, He will not even bring up the first time. The Lord will never go over our past sins twice. However, the devil will repeatedly bring up our past sins, and he will repeatedly imply that we have made mistakes which disqualify us; but his accusations are lies and not to be believed because the Lord's way is totally the opposite. To the Lord, the past is past, and if we are resolved to be different, the past is history forgotten by Him, and to be forgotten by us. When we enter union with Him, He is going to sprinkle His blood in our consciences so that we can't remember our past sins, making it possible to stand in His and the Father's presence with joy and peace, but without guilt or sorrow.
If we let ourselves be condemned for the past, our despair can not only cause us to lose hope, but also cause us to become reduced to self-pity. We can feel sorry for ourselves, believing we have been treated unjustly, perhaps even getting angry at God. The defense is obvious: God is perfectly just for He is by definition just and fair; God is pure; God is total love; God does not make mistakes for He is perfect; so the problem is us, not Him. Now we must bring to mind that He does not keep record of our past wrongs that we have once faced up to, and that He is standing by, waiting to help us to become further sin free, pure, and holy — but we must put aside those doubts and feelings of failure, renew our hope of salvation, trust in his kindness and mercy, depend on his infinite power, and press on to purity, holiness, joy, peace, love, even union with Him in his presence forever.
When in sorrow we find ourselves to have dropped our cross and fallen into the dust; we stand up, dust ourselves off, pick up our cross, and press on to the everlasting joy awaiting us at the end our journey.
3 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything you are otherwise minded, God will reveal this to you. Phil 3:15
He is saying, as many of us as are perfect, don't consider yourself so; don't relax, satisfied that you have everything, rather press on.
Be like me, be humble, not boasting; and if you have a different opinion, God will straighten you out.
Why would Paul be reluctant to claim perfection? Because Paul was very careful to be humble.
It is dangerous not to be. It is even against a tenet of Love: Love does not boast! 1 Cor 13:4
May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, and the tongues that speaks proud boasting, Psa 12:3. The boastful shall not stand in your sight. Psa 5:5
He is advising the brothers not to boast about being perfect or even claim perfection, but to be like him,
and take notice of those who walk like him, considering themselves to have room for improvement and growth.
Brothers, be followers of me, and observe those who walk after the pattern we have set, so that you have us for an example. Phil 3:17
A perfect man would only follow a senior perfect man; proving Paul was a senior perfect man, to be followed as a pattern and example.
He had further statements on boasting: I will not boast, except as regards my infirmities (my weaknesses).
For though I might choose to boast, I will not be a fool; because I would be speaking the truth. But now I refrain, so no one will think me above that which he sees me to be or hears of me. 2 Cor 12:5-6.
However we speak wisdom among those who are perfect; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the rulers of this world who come to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world to our glory. 1 Cor 2:6-7.
Now if Paul is speaking wisdom from the mysteries of God to an audience of perfect men, then we can rightly conclude that perfect men would not want to listen to an imperfect speaker, and therefore Paul was obviously perfect, speaking among those who were perfect.
Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, so that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Col 1:28.
Now obviously an imperfect man cannot perfect other men, so without a doubt Paul was perfect.
For of this you can be sure, that no sexually immoral, or impure, or covetous person, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Eph 5:5-6.
So, if Paul were imperfect, he would not have any inheritance in the kingdom either; but Paul was translated into the kingdom already, so he must have been perfect: Giving thanks to the Father, who will make you fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son; Col 1:12-13.
Paul even states that the purpose of Holy Spirit appointed apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers is: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; until we all come to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; Eph 4:11-13. Paul was an apostle. Paul had to be perfect to be an apostle and supervise others whose job was to perfect the saints, unto a perfect man with the fullness of Christ.
The first stage of perfection occurs after you have crucified you lusts and affections, and Paul wrote: "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. Gal 2:20. In this one verse, there are two evidences of Paul's perfection.
Then Paul wrote to the churches telling them to attain perfection and encouraging their perfection, (which only a perfect man could do with credibility and in good conscience):
Therefore, leaving the elementary principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Heb 6:1
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Cor 7:1
Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace. 2 Cor 13:11
Epaphras, a servant of Christ who is one of you, salutes you, always striving fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. Col 4:12
For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong; and we also pray even your perfection. 2 Cor 13:9
From the Word of the Lord within: "Clearly the scriptures show that Paul was a perfect man."
4 For many walk, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you weeping, who are the enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction, whose God is their stomach [appetites, lusts], and whose glory is in their shame, who think on earthly things. The only cross Christendom understands is the cross on the wall of the chapel, or the jewelry cross that they wear on their body to make a show of their religion. Christendom is an enemy of the cross of Christ, teaching everyone there is no need to deny yourself of your lusts, affections, and pleasures. Yet, Jesus is recorded six times telling us that we must pick up our cross daily and follow him to be his disciple. And Paul tells us that those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh [the sinful nature] with its passions and desires [lusts and affections] Gal 5:24.
So then those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Rom 8:8
For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 8:13
And those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh [the sinful nature] with its passions and desires [lusts and affections]. Gal 5:24.
Since Christendom is an enemy of the Cross of Christ, denying its necessity, denying Christ's commands as being absolutely necessary; then Christendom's end is destruction. This is the way Jeremiah describes it, as the false church of Babylon is destroyed, the ministers and shepherds being the priority target of the archers:
And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth. They shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.
Wail you shepherds and cry; and wallow in the ashes, you principal ones of the flock; for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions have come, and you shall fall and be shattered like a crystal glass.
The shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal ones of the flock to escape.
A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and a wailing of the principal ones of the flock, shall be heard. For the LORD has destroyed their pasture.
Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about. All of you that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows for she has sinned against the LORD.
Call together the archers against Babylon. All of you who bend the bow, camp against her all around; let none of them escape. Recompense her according to her work; according to all that she has done, do to her. For she has been proud against the LORD, against the Holy One of Israel.
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