Philippians 3* The apostle cautions the Philippians against judaizing falseteachers, and renounces his own former privileges. (1-11)Expresses earnest desire to be found in Christ; also hispressing on toward perfection; and recommends his own example toother believers. (12-21)1-11 Sincere Christians rejoice in Christ Jesus. The prophetcalls the false prophets dumb dogs, #Isa 56:10|; to which theapostle seems to refer. Dogs, for their malice against faithfulprofessors of the gospel of Christ, barking at them and bitingthem. They urged human works in opposition to the faith ofChrist; but Paul calls them evil-workers. He calls them theconcision; as they rent the church of Christ, and cut it topieces. The work of religion is to no purpose, unless the heartis in it, and we must worship God in the strength and grace ofthe Divine Spirit. They rejoice in Christ Jesus, not in mereoutward enjoyments and performances. Nor can we too earnestlyguard against those who oppose or abuse the doctrine of freesalvation. If the apostle would have gloried and trusted in theflesh, he had as much cause as any man. But the things which hecounted gain while a Pharisee, and had reckoned up, those hecounted loss for Christ. The apostle did not persuade them to doany thing but what he himself did; or to venture on any thingbut that on which he himself ventured his never-dying soul. Hedeemed all these things to be but loss, compared with theknowledge of Christ, by faith in his person and salvation. Hespeaks of all worldly enjoyments and outward privileges whichsought a place with Christ in his heart, or could pretend to anymerit and desert, and counted them but loss; but it might besaid, It is easy to say so; but what would he do when he came tothe trial? He had suffered the loss of all for the privileges ofa Christian. Nay, he not only counted them loss, but the vilestrefuse, offals thrown to dogs; not only less valuable thanChrist, but in the highest degree contemptible, when set up asagainst him. True knowledge of Christ alters and changes men,their judgments and manners, and makes them as if made againanew. The believer prefers Christ, knowing that it is better forus to be without all worldly riches, than without Christ and hisword. Let us see what the apostle resolved to cleave to, andthat was Christ and heaven. We are undone, without righteousnesswherein to appear before God, for we are guilty. There is arighteousness provided for us in Jesus Christ, and it is acomplete and perfect righteousness. None can have benefit by it,who trust in themselves. Faith is the appointed means ofapplying 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 tothe world, by the cross of Christ. The apostle was willing to door to suffer any thing, to attain the glorious resurrection ofsaints. This hope and prospect carried him through alldifficulties in his work. He did not hope to attain it throughhis own merit and righteousness, but through the merit andrighteousness of Jesus Christ. 12-21 This simple dependence and earnestness of soul, were notmentioned as if the apostle had gained the prize, or werealready made perfect in the Saviour's likeness. He forgot thethings which were behind, so as not to be content with pastlabours or present measures of grace. He reached forth,stretched himself forward towards his point; expressions showinggreat concern to become more and more like unto Christ. He whoruns a race, must never stop short of the end, but press forwardas fast as he can; so those who have heaven in their view, muststill press forward to it, in holy desires and hopes, andconstant endeavours. Eternal life is the gift of God, but it isin Christ Jesus; through his hand it must come to us, as it isprocured for us by him. There is no getting to heaven as ourhome, but by Christ as our Way. True believers, in seeking thisassurance, as well as to glorify him, will seek more nearly toresemble his sufferings and death, by dying to sin, and bycrucifying the flesh with its affections and lusts. In thesethings there is a great difference among real Christians, butall know something of them. Believers make Christ all in all,and set their hearts upon another world. If they differ from oneanother, and are not of the same judgment in lesser matters, yetthey must not judge one another; while they all meet now inChrist, and hope to meet shortly in heaven. Let them join in allthe great things in which they are agreed, and wait for furtherlight as to lesser things wherein they differ. The enemies ofthe cross of Christ mind nothing but their sensual appetites.Sin is the sinner's shame, especially when gloried in. The wayof those who mind earthly things, may seem pleasant, but deathand hell are at the end of it. If we choose their way, we shallshare their end. The life of a Christian is in heaven, where hisHead and his home are, and where he hopes to be shortly; he setshis affections upon things above; and where his heart is, therewill his conversation be. There is glory kept for the bodies ofthe saints, in which they will appear at the resurrection. Thenthe body will be made glorious; not only raised again to life,but raised to great advantage. Observe the power by which thischange will be wrought. May we be always prepared for the comingof our Judge; looking to have our vile bodies changed by hisAlmighty power, and applying to him daily to new-create oursouls unto holiness; to deliver us from our enemies, and toemploy our bodies and souls as instruments of righteousness inhis service.
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