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3:1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.

3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.

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.

3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

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

3:8 Yea 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, 3:9 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: 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

3:13 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, 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

3:16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

3:18 (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: 3:19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 3:21 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.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Philippians
Book: Philippians
Chapter: 3

The Apostle cautions the Philippians against judaizing false
teachers, and renounces his own former privileges. (1-11)
Expresses Earnest desire to be found in Christ; also his
pressing On toward Perfection; and recommends his own Example to
other believers. (12-21)

1-11 Sincere Christians rejoice in Christ Jesus. The Prophet
calls the false prophets Dumb dogs, Isa 56:10; to which the
Apostle seems to refer. Dogs, for their malice against Faithful
professors of the Gospel of Christ, barking at them and biting
them. They urged human Works in opposition to the Faith of
Christ; but Paul calls them evil-workers. He calls them the
Concision; as they Rent the Church of Christ, and cut it to
Pieces. The work of religion is to No purpose, unless the Heart
is in it, and we must Worship God in the strength and Grace of
the Divine Spirit. They rejoice in Christ Jesus, not in mere
outward enjoyments and performances. Nor can we too earnestly
Guard against those who oppose or abuse the doctrine of free
Salvation. If the Apostle would have gloried and trusted in the
Flesh, he had as much cause as any Man. But the things which he
counted gain while a Pharisee, and had reckoned up, those he
counted loss for Christ. The Apostle did not persuade them to do
any thing but what he himself did; or to venture On any thing
but that On which he himself ventured his never-dying soul. He
deemed all these things to be but loss, compared with the
knowledge of Christ, By Faith in his person and Salvation. He
speaks of all worldly enjoyments and outward privileges which
sought a place with Christ in his Heart, or could pretend to any
merit and Desert, and counted them but loss; but it might be
said, It is easy to say So; but what would he do when he came to
the trial? He had suffered the loss of all for the privileges of
a Christian. Nay, he not only counted them loss, but the vilest
refuse, offals thrown to dogs; not only less valuable than
Christ, but in the highest degree contemptible, when set up as
against him. True knowledge of Christ alters and changes men,
their judgments and manners, and makes them as if made again
anew. The believer prefers Christ, knowing that it is better for
us to be without all worldly riches, than without Christ and his
Word. Let us see what the Apostle resolved to cleave to, and
that was Christ and Heaven. We are undone, without Righteousness
wherein to appear before God, for we are guilty. There is a
Righteousness provided for us in Jesus Christ, and it is a
complete and perfect Righteousness. None can have benefit By it,
who trust in themselves. Faith is the appointed means of
applying 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 to
the world, By the Cross of Christ. The Apostle was willing to do
or to suffer any thing, to attain the glorious resurrection of
saints. This Hope and prospect carried him through all
difficulties in his work. He did not Hope to attain it through
his own merit and Righteousness, but through the merit and
Righteousness of Jesus Christ.

12-21 This simple dependence and earnestness of soul, were not
mentioned as if the Apostle had gained the prize, or were
already made perfect in the Saviour's likeness. He forgot the
things which were behind, So as not to be content with past
labours or present measures of Grace. He reached forth,
stretched himself forward towards his point; expressions showing
great concern to become more and more like unto Christ. He who
runs a race, must never stop short of the End, but press forward
as Fast as he can; So those who have Heaven in their view, must
still press forward to it, in holy desires and hopes, and
constant endeavours. Eternal Life is the Gift of God, but it is
in Christ Jesus; through his Hand it must come to us, as it is
procured for us By him. There is No getting to Heaven as our
home, but By Christ as our Way. True believers, in seeking this
Assurance, as Well as to Glorify him, will seek more nearly to
resemble his sufferings and Death, By dying to Sin, and By
crucifying the Flesh with its affections and lusts. In these
things there is a great difference among real Christians, but
all know something of them. Believers make Christ all in all,
and set their hearts upon another world. If they differ from one
another, and are not of the same Judgment in lesser matters, yet
they must not Judge one another; while they all meet now in
Christ, and Hope to meet shortly in Heaven. Let them join in all
the great things in which they are agreed, and wait for further
Light as to lesser things wherein they differ. The enemies of
the Cross of Christ mind nothing but their sensual appetites.
Sin is the sinner's shame, especially when gloried in. The way
of those who mind earthly things, may seem pleasant, but Death
and Hell are at the End of it. If we choose their way, we shall
share their End. The Life of a Christian is in Heaven, where his
Head and his home are, and where he hopes to be shortly; he sets
his affections upon things above; and where his Heart is, there
will his Conversation be. There is Glory kept for the bodies of
the saints, in which they will appear at the resurrection. Then
the body will be made glorious; not only raised again to Life,
but raised to great advantage. Observe the power By which this
change will be wrought. May we be always prepared for the coming
of our Judge; looking to have our vile bodies changed By his
Almighty power, and applying to him daily to new-create our
souls unto Holiness; to deliver us from our enemies, and to
employ our bodies and souls as instruments of Righteousness in
his service.