Philippians 4:1; Cling to the Therefores

Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

Concluding his general exhortations to the Philippian church, Paul gives a final encouragement to them before discussing specific details. It is a fitting instruction to “Stand firm” (4:1). Amidst a culture that despises and rejects those who are devoted to the cross, the call to remain constant in faith is truly a bold exhortation. The Philippians live in an error of discomfort with Christianity. The Christians in the little Roman colony experienced the same rejection that every seemingly inconsequential religious minority experienced. However, in this case, tension mounted as the tiny sect was altering the state of their community. Persecution under the Romans began to rise, Christianity became an outcast’s religion, and adversaries who held to Judaism heightened their rhetoric and disdain for all things Christian.[i]

The weight of the encouragement to “stand firm” must have come with tears as Paul reflected on his previous years of ministry. Knowing the pain of the loss of community, the sacrifice of social standing, and the forsaking of the world’s admiration for the sake of Jesus, Paul’s exhortation to stay strong in the face of these realities is a hard encouragement to cling to. This encouragement is a recognition that the world is against Christianity. It is a rallying call to battle. It is an admission that this life is not favorable towards the faith of Christians. In this recognition, it is necessary to cling to the “therefore” and the “thus.” Christians remember the power of Christ and what He has done within them. In the face of persecution, it is imperative to remember the work of Jesus Christ in the soul. It is important to focus on the change that His work has wrought, the reward He has prepared, the power He has granted to believers, and freedom He has given them. This is why doctrinal truths are so important. In times of suffering and struggles, when the world seems to be imploding and one cannot see the victory, Christians must cling to the therefores and remember what Christ has done.

There are few letters in the new testament that are expressed with such love as the letter to the Philippians. Paul gives the Philippians four different descriptors in this single verse that give some considerable insight into their relationship. First, they are family: Paul calls them, “brothers.” The Philippians share a familial relationship to Paul and all other true Christians. When a person becomes a believer, they are adopted into a family that is united in a common purpose and affection (c.f. Romans 8:15, 23, 9:4, Galatians 4:5, and Ephesians 1:5). This is the reason for such compassion being poured out between Christians who live across the globe from each other. It is the reason that believers can weep for another believer who they have never met. Christians are family.

Like any family, Paul has a deep affection for them and desires to see them. His absence from them has only served to deepen his desire to aid them trough the instruction of the Gospel life. So it is, with great love he wrote this particular epistle to them. His words are an attempt to express that love in the best and most powerful way he knows: through the instruction of the Gospel life. Indeed, instruction and encouragement in the great work of God is the greatest love one Christian can lavish on another.

These Philippians are also a reward to Paul. They serve as a source of joy to him and they are the crown that he will present to Christ when the Lord returns. It is a remarkable truth that Christians will answer for the impact they have had on the lives of those who they have shared the gospel ministry with. This truth ought to cause Christian leaders much trembling and trepidation in their work. The fodder many so-called Christian leaders in the modern western church will present to the Lord will prove to be just that. Consider Paul’s claim of the Philippians as his crown. They are not a large church like Jerusalem, they have no famous preacher like Corinth, there is little appeal to the masses, and they are currently experiencing suffering. By modern standards of success, the Philippian church was a wasted minority. The modern church emphasizes size of the crowd and monetary gain. Pastors clamor to achieve greater numeric growth and to fill their resume with happy people who joined their private clubs. The jewels they will eventually present to Christ and the efforts they make in teaching others the Gospel life will come to naught, precisely because they have misunderstood the appropriate measure of success. Paul calls the Philippians his “joy and crown” because they have proven faithful amidst a culture’s attempt to entice them. The measure of success in ministry is the steadfastness of the faith of those that are taught the Gospel life.

It is these brothers whom we call beloved. Those for whom we would lay down our own comforts to see them rejoice in eternity. It is the believers such as those in Philippi who make the heart of the teacher/ pastor/ missionary rejoice and weep with love.

[i] Herring, Ralph A. Studies in Philippians. Broadman Press, Nashville, TN 1952.

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Philippians 3:19-21; Brief Thoughts

19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Paul exhorts the believer to keep watch on the way they walk so that they will not become like those who are characterized in verse 19. In order to maintain this holy lifestyle, a believer must be disciplined to examine him/herself and to work hard to pursue holiness. There are a few disciplines and activities that can aid a believer in strengthening themselves from the temptation to ever act like a wolf.

Fasting is a powerful tool for self-examination. The denial of self and surrender of satisfaction of desires is a necessary exercise to prove to oneself that the belly is not the master of the soul. In modern Christianity, most people do not know how to fast and few make a regular or even occasional practice of it. Yet, fasting is often assumed in Scripture as a discipline that Christians voluntarily submit to for purposes of guidance and purity (Acts 13:2-3, 14:23, 27:9, 1 Cor. 7:5). This lack of discipline could be an indication that many people claiming the name of Christ, do not actually know Him and the joy of His presence. Christians fast so that this can be proven incorrect and Christians can be assured that they belong to Christ.

Self-examination is an excellent means of grace. However, self-examination alone leaves blind-spots. This is why Christian community is critical. Believers must be plugged-in to an honest community of other believers who will call them to account for their miss-deeds and sinful behaviors. Further, a community of love and faith is necessary for a believer to be able to gain honest and unbiased insight into his or her own character. In short, if you don’t want to accidently fall into the trap of finding “glory in… shame,” then join a Bible-teaching, gospel-living church.

In an effort to surrender earthly treasure and man-centered focus one must be willing to focus their efforts on the world that lay beyond this one. Christians are in desperate need of an eternal focus in order to overcome the trappings of this world. That focus is gained through the consistent study of the Word of God, constant surrender of material goods to the work of the Kingdom of God, and faithful efforts to seek heavenly approval and scorn human accolade.

One of the greatest strengths of a believer is that mysterious confidence in eternity. Believers can recognize the great truth that there is a full life beyond this half-hearted momentary struggle that all humanity shares. There is a great everlasting existence beyond the grave that a believer can cling to with certainty and hope. A Kingdom set apart for God’s own set-apart people. This home that Christians trust in is currently invisible to the eye of man and yet it exists. Heaven has a real, physical, and full existence. It is not some ethereal realm that houses the disembodied spirits but is a real place with real streets and a real throne room, and a real King. A King who is going to return to this earth and claim His own people to Himself.

When the King returns, all His people will be transformed and given resurrected glorified bodies. Consider this for a moment: the King of all things is going to return and restore broken, incomplete bodies to a new state. He will give glorified bodies to His people. This means the bodies of believers will be re-created in the image they were originally intended for. The glorified condition of the believer’s body will, at last, match the redeemed condition of the heart. Jesus will accomplish this great transformation by the same power that allows Him to subject all things to Himself. He is King, there is nothing that is outside of His rule.

Oh Christian, cling to this truth: that Jesus is King. There is no trouble or turmoil that is too great for Him to overcome. No swell of waves that He cannot calm. No failing of man that He cannot change. There is no circumstance He cannot answer, He is God. He has the power of creation in Himself and He can handle all trials and circumstances. Trust Him.

Philippians 3:17-19; Wolves, Brief Thought

17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 

Wolves are horrible. They eat the sheep. They’re incredibly smart and maniacal. They work in teams and are just extremely dangerous and deadly when they are hungry. The Bible warns believers to watch out for wolves (c.f. Mt. 7:15, 10:16, and Acts 20:29). These are men and women who insert themselves into the community, claim the authority of God, and eventually bring destruction to the flock of God. Paul’s exhortation in verses 17-19 gives some insight on the identification of such wolves.

It is common in the western church to encounter wicked men who lead poorly and harm the flock of God. These men often appear to be incredibly godly men. Yet, they are wolves in sheep’s clothing knowing nothing about the Holy Spirit or the sincere love of Christ. Early in my ministry I was scarred by someone I thought to be a brother in the ministry. This man leveled me with accusations of failure and angry reproof without any righteous motivation. He did not scar me for my benefit or instruction. He attacked me and wounded me for his own gain and reputation among other wolves. Forsaking the glory, humility, and love of Christ, he reacted to me in anger and hatred. This man has been a source of tears and pain. I have wept over his sinful rejection of Christ’s love and subsequent display of self-righteousness. Paul was no stranger to such men. In his work he suffered rejection from Jewish leaders he once called brothers (Acts 18), materialistic Christians (2 Timothy 4:10), and even other so-called Christian leaders (Galatians 1-2). His warning to believers are born from experience. He admonishes the Philippians to remain faithful in following after his own example because there are many who will reject the cross of Christ and will lead others to do the same.

Identifying such people can be a difficult task. Verse 19 gives some instruction on the identification of those who would become enemies of the cross of Christ. Paul identifies wolves among us with three unique characteristics. Before he cites their characteristics, Paul proclaims their end. Wolves will be destroyed. There will not be rescue from the judgement for such as these. Their end is wrath and justice, not mercy and grace. Those who serve as enemies of Christ will find their end is destruction. There is no hope for those who reject the salvation of Jesus in favor of this world… there is only wrath.

The first of the three character traits that lead to this horrific end is a subservience to apatite. These are people who are enslaved to their cravings. They find it difficult to deny themselves their desires, even if those desires will harm them. Indeed, they worship their own satisfaction and everything they pursue is to that end. It is their apatite and self-satisfaction that drives their decisions and activities.

The second identifying mark is that they “glory in their shame” (v.19). Glory is an accurate representation of something. For example: the glory of a frog is that it jumps and is slimy. Glory is that which your identity is founded on. The glory of those who reject Christ is in their shame. They revel in shameful activities and give approval to them as though they were righteous.

The third character trait is an infatuation with earthly things and success in this world. Their focus is on this life and not the next. They want the approval of men and the wealth and prestige of the rulers on earth. An obsession with success according to the people of this world is the final mark of a wolf.

The difficulty in identifying wolves in the modern church is that so much of what they are calling success looks spiritual. It is common to find men and women who will seek the praise of other men and women through the auspice of leading in a church. They are governed by their apatite to be approved of and heralded as a great spiritual leader and they consider their divisive and deceptive actions to be wisdom and good business practice. Yet, they are wolves in sheep’s clothing, seeking their own advancement and not the Kingdom of God. Avoid these leaders, they will meet their end in destruction.

Be faithful, oh Christian, to maintain an eternal perspective. The admonition to keep your eyes on holy examples is imperative for the identification of other wolves to be sure. It is also critical that you do so for your own sake. You are just as wicked as the one who believes himself to be spiritual while feeding his apatite and hoping in this life. So stay faithful and consistent in your walk. In maintaining a persistent and faithful walk with Jesus, you will find yourself drawing closer and closer to the glory of Christ and thereby assuring yourself of salvation and keeping yourself from becoming or behaving like a wolf.

 

Philippians 3:17; Brief Thoughts

17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 

Imagine a great forest. The trees are dense and the brush is troublesome to push through, but there is a path to walk. A path that has been worn from years of travelers who know the way through the forest. Those who have gone before have pushed through the brush and followed the path that was laid by the owner of the land. You see, the owner has a kingdom on the other side of the forest. He owns the forest and He owns the kingdom. The people who seek the kingdom walk the path. So, if a person seeks the kingdom, they too walk the path that has been worn by others. What Paul calls the Philippians to do is walk the same path.

Imitate godliness. Find men and women who follow Christ well and seek His glory, then copy their lifestyle. Examine those you admire. Be careful to ensure that those who are respected are worthy of such respect.

Two errors are common among young believers seeking worthy men to follow.

First, they will give too much respect to a leader without evaluating that person’s life. Often age is given credence over righteousness. Christians ought to be cautious when seeking those to imitate. Age does not automatically indicate maturity or wisdom. Indeed, Paul’s admonition to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12 seems to indicate that young men are capable of being the necessary example for the congregation. Sometimes experience is prized when the leader has done a poor job assimilating that experience to their life. Be careful not to give respect to someone who has simply had experiences. Be sure that they have processed those experiences and learned from them.

The second error that young believers fall prey to is in over-evaluation. With tremendous zeal to ensure that they are seeking leaders who are pursuing Christ, they set their standards too high and drift into legalistic judgment of those who could encourage their walk. It is important to recognize what Paul has already said about himself: he has not already obtained the resurrection and is not perfect. Seek men and women to imitate who are honest about their own flaws and are pursuing Christ.

When a believer finds a person whose life and efforts exemplify Christ, that believer should labor to become like Christ by following their example. Follow the example of those who have walked the path of righteous obedience. Find men and women who have led holy lives and have exemplified Christ. In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul exhorts the believers to “imitate me as I imitate Christ.”[i] Paul’s exhortation to imitate him is based on the reality that he is imitating Christ. The goal of Christians is not to become more like holy men and women who have gone before but to become more like Christ. Sometimes it is easier to evaluate one’s own walk by examining and imitating the life of a fellow believer who has a faithful life. Believers should aspire to imitate godly men and women in so far as those leaders are imitating Christ.

Oh beloved Christian, find godly people to look up to. Find men and women who lay down their lives for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Find people who delight themselves in eternal truth and God’s provision for the soul. Find men and women worthy of respect. They will not look like the world. They will not have the trappings of this world and, at first, their lives may not be appealing. But, look closely and see that the holy ones who walk with Jesus are content when no one else is. Find them, follow their lead, and you’ll begin to walk through the forest with greater ease.

[i] This is my own translation.

Philippians 3:12-16; Brief Thoughts

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Christians have a faith that rests in the confidence of an action that has been completed on their behalf. As such, there is no need to earn or merit salvation. However, consistently throughout the Philippian letter believers are exhorted to work to make their faith their own. After admonishing the people of God to focus their pursuits on the eternal reward and resurrection, Paul urges Christians to work hard to claim ownership over their faith. Of all faiths, Christianity ought to lead its adherents to a fierce and devout pursuit of its principles. Christians ought to seek to understand their own faith precisely because it is a gift that they have not earned. As such, Christians should seek to ensure their ownership over it.

Consider the motivation for such efforts in the Christian’s pursuit of God: “because Christ Jesus has made [the Christian] His own” (v.12). Paul’s motive for radical pursuit of Jesus is based on Jesus’ claim upon Paul’s soul. Think about that for a moment. The motivation for pursuit of Christ is not merely some reward that will be received as a result or some sort of position that could be achieved through obedience to Him. The motivation for a Christian to obey Christ stems from their own identity in Christ. Christians pursue holiness within the context of an eternal perspective because they are Christ followers. The identity of Christians, that is: belonging to Jesus, is what propels them toward obedience. It is a marvelous recognition of identity that strengthens the walk of a believer. When a person knows their condition and understands that they are no longer enslaved but have been set free to follow Christ, then there is abiding joy and discipleship.

Ponder for a moment what it means to be owned by Christ. He has come and rescued you in your pitiful state and has granted you a position as His brother/sister in the Kingdom of God. He has claimed you as His own and you belong to Him.

There are Christians who seems so deeply connected to Jesus that they seem to have the ability to see into the soul of anyone they speak with. They are the people who are awkward to have small talk with because they continually bring up deep truths that trouble the soul and challenge the mind. These old saints who exude wisdom and grace and manifest the Spirit of God do not become old saints overnight. This sort of maturity comes with time and practice. While every Christian has been changed in a moment, all believers must learn to live in that changed nature. So Paul testifies that he presses to make the resurrected life his own and that he has not achieved the completion of this goal. Recognizing his efforts to make himself righteous were a loss (c.f. 3:2-7), Paul admits that he is not perfect.

A particular key to growth is the dismissal of one’s past. If a believer insists on clinging to their own earthly righteousness, then they will stifle their own spiritual growth. Likewise, if a believer carries the burdens of their past failures, refusing to recognize that Jesus has forgiven and transformed them, then they will find discipleship and growth to be difficult and even rare. For many people, their past successes become the glory of their present reality. But for Paul, his past successes were a hindrance to future glory. It is necessary for believers to throw off what they used to be in order to become who God has made them. A Christian’s identity cannot be discovered without removing the former identity of the sinful man. The believer must accept the truth of their changed reality, only then will a believer find satisfaction.

Paul presses forward in pursuit of “the call of God in Jesus Christ” (v. 14). There is no greater call than that of the creator of all things calling for His creation to follow in the design He has laid out. A truly converted person cannot help but desire to press forward in obedience to Christ. God has granted the believer life, and the believer pursues that life abundant in knowing Christ.

Consistent with Paul’s character and wisdom, he encourages his reader to share his attitude and perspective. He pleads with them to understand these truths with remarkable confidence that God will certainly develop in them the same mindset that He has been faithful to develop in Paul. What tremendous confidence believers have! Because of the truth that God sanctifies His own, Christians can rest in the confidence that God will bring to completion the work He has begun. (1:6)

Believer, rest in this deep truth: The Lord, Creator of all things, is working in your heart now and will bring you to maturity. It is a long race we run. Be faithful, He will bring you to where you need to be. Hold tight to these truths!

Philippians 3:7-11 pt. 2; Brief Thoughts

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.[i]

Death is the ultimate equalizer. Humanity is united in mortality. However, death does not have to reign over life. Death does not have to be final. Thus, Paul explains the resurrection of believers. There are two senses in which believers experience resurrection from the dead. Obviously and most apparent is physical-bodily resurrection at the second coming of Christ. The second and less obvious, albeit more tangibly apparent at present, is spiritual resurrection from a state of spiritual death at the moment of faith. (Warning: what follows makes Christians sound crazy… unless it’s true. Which it is.)

When a believer entrusts their soul to the work of Jesus Christ, they are granted the promise of eternal life. This life is not merely an ethereal existence in some other dimension. Rather, it is an actual physical existence in a physical, tangible, world. This world, to be precise. You see, Christians, like Christ, will be raised from the dead to live eternally in a re-created state. The earth as we know it will be re-created and the divide between Heaven and Earth will be stripped away (c.f. Revelation 20-21). In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul explains that believers will be resurrected the same way Jesus was. They will be given new bodies and will be granted life eternal in the New Heaven and the New Earth.[ii]

Another facet of resurrection is what occurs within the soul of a believer. Ephesians chapter 2 explains that non-believers are “dead in the trespasses and sins in which [all people] once walked…” (Ephesians 2:1-2). Romans 6:5-11 explains that the Christian’s old nature died with Christ and that Christians have been resurrected to a new life. Galatians 5:24 explains that those who believe “have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24 ESV). Christians have been rescued from sin’s dominion and have been set free to live a new life in Christ (c.f. Romans 6). This new life is guided by the Spirit and is empowered through a new nature that has been given to the believer (c.f. Colossians 3 and Romans 8).

Consider the power of resurrection. It is not merely a shift in understanding or confidence. Resurrection is an actual change of condition. The dead man has been made alive and the dead man will be raised. Victory over the death of the Spirit has been granted and victory over the death of the Body will be as well. This great power has overcome sin and has given Christians the ability to live a holy lifestyle in the face of a world fraught with temptation and death.

Part of attaining and fully realizing the resurrection is suffering. Many believers, while truly possessing salvific faith, are lacking in understanding of the full realization of the resurrected life. Many see suffering as something to be avoided and scorned in life. Yet, the Biblical witness seems to venerate suffering as a part of the deep and abiding joy that Christians engage in and enjoy.[iii] Suffering makes Christians more like Christ, and in becoming more like Him, Christians find deeper soul satisfaction and happiness.

Immortal happiness is the single greatest condition to aspire to. Almost everyone attempts to become somehow immortal. Beit through literature, historical achievement, or long lasting legacy, every person strives for immortality in their own way. Everyone longs to overcome death. Only in Christ Jesus is victory over death possible. Only by trusting in His work on the cross and entrusting ones soul to His care can death be thwarted! So pursue Christ with all that you are. Chase Him down and cling to Him for resurrection. Labor to know Him and to find life in Him. In doing so, you will find life where there was once only death.

[i] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Php 3:3–11). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[ii] To refer to the state of Heaven and Earth at the end of Revelation as “New” is a bit miss-leading. They are really in a renewed state. When Jesus says in Revelation 21:6, “it is done,” it should really be translated, “it is born!” The concept that God is communicating through 21:6 is one of re-creation. The end of Revelation is merely the beginning of God’s creative efforts. For a more full examination of Heaven I recommend Randy Alcorn’s book, “Heaven.”

[iii] For a more full discussion of these ideas, check out Ravenhill’s work, “Why Revival Tarries,” Richard Wormbrand’s “Tortured For Christ,” and Watchmen Nee’s “the Normal Christian Life.”

Philippians 3:7-11 pt. 1; Brief Thoughts

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. [1]

Comparative analysis is necessary when determining the course of action that best serves to benefit the individual making the decision. On the one hand, there is option A with its benefits and on the other, option B with its own rewards. A wise person will weigh the cost of each option and select the one that reaps the greatest reward. So, Paul has considered the cost of following Christ and weighed the benefits on each side and has arrived at the conclusion of these verses. The apostle determines that his former victories and life are not worthy of comparison with the reward and benefit derived from knowing Christ.

Paul explains that he has surrendered all things to Christ. Take note the language he uses to describe this surrender, “I have suffered the loss of all things…” (v. 8). Paul does not diminish the feeling of loss or the pain of suffering. He admits that it is difficult to follow the way of Christ. Paul has suffered loss and pain in his efforts to know Christ. Indeed, a brief read through the book of Acts will illuminate Paul’s difficulty quite clearly. He has lost prestige, friends, community, wealth, and even physical well-being. Along with the suffering of loss, Paul’s opinions have been transformed and he now sees worldly gain as “rubbish,” meaning something that is revolting and worthy only to be tossed out (v. 8).[2] These accolades that so thrill the soul of men are now viewed through the lens of Christ. They are no longer appealing but now pale in comparison to the glory of Christ. The pain of suffering loss is not diminished by the mental ascent toward the value of rubbish. Rather, the perspective of Paul is transformed to accept the truth of God’s proclamation. God’s proclamation is always greater than man’s perceptions. So, when the truth of Christ is proclaimed, the hearts of believers rejoice. This rejoicing does not negate the reality of loss. Indeed, it heightens the depth of loss and the present desperation that only can be filled with Christ.

Paul explains two purposes for his surrender and suffering. First, so that he may be covered in Christ Righteousness. Second, so that he may overcome death and be resurrected from the dead.

Paul’s hope for redemption is found in Christ’s righteousness and not in his own works. He knows that in surrendering all things, he will be found in Christ Jesus. To “be found in Him” is a rather profound and intriguing statement. He states not that he wishes to be covered by Christ or that he wishes to be standing by Christ. He says he wishes to be “in” Christ. Paul wants to know Christ to such a degree that the character of Paul and the character of Christ are indistinguishable. That he would be found in Christ, dependent on a righteousness that he could not earn. His longing to be so associated with Christ is coupled with the reality that he will be covered in the righteousness of Christ.

It is necessary to pause here for your sake, oh reader. Sin has separated humanity from God. Every individual has been found guilty (Rom 3:23). No one has been righteous on their own and will not be (Rom. 3:10-20). The consequence of this sinfulness is death and hell (Rom. 6:23a). God, in His kindness and mercy, has provided a way of salvation for anyone who will believe (Rom. 6:23b, 5:8-10). The believer must confess with their mouth and believe in their heart, then they will be spared the punishment and judgment against them (Rom. 10:9,13) Once a person has believed in Christ, then there is no condemnation against them any longer and they are free to follow Him (Romans 8).

To attain this righteousness, it must be given by God. The righteousness that Paul seeks comes from God, not works of the law or merit earned in some sort of service. This righteousness is granted through faith in Christ. All other righteousness is “filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6).

The second purpose for Paul’s surrender is resurrection. We will look more at this tomorrow.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Php 3:3–11). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2] O’Brien, P. T. (1991). The Epistle to the Philippians: a commentary on the Greek text (p. 382). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.