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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Philippians 3

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-21

Philippians 3:1. Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.

Let this be the end of everything; before you get to the end of it, and when you do get to the end of it, “rejoice in the Lord.” It is incumbent upon us, as Christians, to rise out of our despondencies. Joy should be the normal state of the Christian. What a happy religion is ours in which it is a duty to be happy! “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.”

Philippians 3:1. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

To go over the same old truths again and again, to proclaim the same precepts, and teach the same doctrines, is not grievous to us, and it is safe for you to hear these things again and again. If they have not made their due impression upon you already, perhaps they will do so when they are repeated in your hearing. At any rate it is safe for you to hear or read over and over again the old, old story with which you are already familiar.

Philippians 3:2. Beware of dogs, —

Contentious persons, — persons of coarse and corrupt habits: “Beware of dogs,” —

Philippians 3:2. Beware of evil workers,

However prettily they may talk, if they are workers of evil, beware of them.” By their fruits ye shall know them.” Their speech may be clever, but if their lips be unclean, beware of them.

Philippians 3:2. Beware of the concision.

Beware of the cutters off, those who excommunicate and cut off others because they do not happen quite to agree with them in certain rites and ceremonies.

Philippians 3:3. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

This is the real circumcision, which is of the spirit, and not of the flesh. The men who have abandoned all confidence in themselves, the men who have come to rely upon Christ alone, the men who “rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,” those who care not for outward rites and ceremonies, but who worship God in the spirit, — these are the true circumcision.

Philippians 3:4. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh.

“If any man might trust in outward religion, I might,” said Paul; yet he was the very man who would not do so, and who warned others against doing it.

Philippians 3:4-6. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: circumcised the eight day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

So that, if anybody could have boasted of what he was by birth, what he was by profession, what he was by the display of religious zeal, Paul could have boasted as boldly as anyone could, for in all those respects he was second to nobody. You know that it is a very easy thing, or it ought to be a very easy thing, for some people to be humble, for they have nothing to be proud of, but here is a man who had much of which he might have been proud. According to the letter of the law, he was a diamond of the first order; yet see what a different verdict he gives after grace has opened his eyes.

Philippians 3:7-9. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yet 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, 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

Everything else must go in order to secure that. Paul thinks that to be righteous by faith is infinitely better than all the righteousness that can come by works and ceremonies. He therefore utterly despises that which he once thought to be more precious that gold; and he takes possession of, as his greatest treasure, that which he once trampled in the mire. Now his great desire is —

Philippians 3:10-12. That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made comfortable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect.

You perhaps suppose that Paul’s present satisfaction arises out of a consciousness of personal perfection, but it is not so. He has not won the race yet, his joy arises from the feet that he is in the right course and that he is running in the right direction: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already I perfect:

Philippians 3:12. But I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

“I want to lay hold of that for which Christ has laid hold of me. He has grasped me in order to make me perfect, and I want to grasp that perfection. He has laid hold of me to rid me of my sin, and I want to lay hold of a glean riddance of sin, apprehending that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:13-15. 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 press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

If you are a true believer in Jesus, be of this mind, always to be pressing forward to something higher and better. If God has given you one form of perfection, press onward to a much higher form of perfection. Seek continually to rise. The eagle’s motto is, “Higher, Higher!” Let it be your motto too. Many of God’s people do not believe that he can make them what he means to make them, or, at least, they act as if they did not believe that he can. They are not, apparently, conscious of what their privileges really are, and are living far below where they might live in the happy enjoyment of peace and power and usefulness. May God help us, by his gracious Spirit, to know all of Christ that we can know, and to be as much like Christ as we can be.

Philippians 3:16-18. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk,-

I suppose Paul is referring to many even in the church of his day: “For many walk,” —

Philippians 3:18. Of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ

The worst enemies that the cross of Christ has are the enemies inside the professing church of Christ.

Philippians 3:19. Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

They call themselves spiritual, yet they live for earthly things; indulging their appetites, living for self, yet pretending to be Christians, whereas selfishness is the very reverse of Christianity.

Philippians 3:20-21. For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 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.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Philippians 3:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/philippians-3.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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