Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Philippians 3: Want Spiritual things

Theme: You should share Christ's mind.

3. By wanting spiritual things (3)

Paul warns against false, earthly minded teachers, and asks the Philippians to follow his heavenly minded example instead.  The false teachers were Jews who tried to add circumcision to faith in Christ as a term for salvation (2-3; cf. Acts 15; Galatians). They trusted and gloried in their religious achievements (2 Cor. 11:18; Galatians 6:13), and "set their minds on earthly things" (Philippians 3:19; NAS). 

By contrast, real christians place no confidence in the flesh (3).  They count such "things" as personal achievement worthless(7), and desire instead, the righteousness which comes from God through faith in Christ, apart from human merit (2 Cor. 5:21; ; 3 - 4; Galatians; 5:1ff.).  By faith, through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, they press forward, forgetting past failures, and walking in accord with their new spiritual nature and position of righteousness in Christ (2 Corinthians 17, 21; Romans 6; Ephesians 1).  They do not think they have achieved sinless perfection in their daily lives, but set their hope on salvation from their fallen nature and body at the return of Christ from heaven (10-16; cf. Romans 7 - 8; 1 Peter 1:3-25). 

Rather than follow the example of those who are enemies of the cross of Christ (cf. Galatians 6:12), whose end is destruction (see Galatians 1:9), whose god is their appetite, whose glory is in their shame, and who thus "mind earthly things" (18-19), true believers are citizens of heaven, and should follow Paul's heavenly minded example (17, 20; cf. Ephesians 1:3; 2:6).  Romans 6 says the Spirit has placed us into Christ's death to sin and resurrection to newness of life.  Ephesians 2:6 says God has "raised us up together [with Christ], and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus".  Chapter 1 says God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  Since they are seated in Christ in the heavenlies, are blessed in Him with every spiritual blessing, and wait for Him to return from heaven, to save them from the presence of sin in their lives (Romans 7 - 8) with His resurrection power, believers are citizens of heaven (20), and should set their minds on heavenly things.

Chapter three speaks of a spiritual mind which worships God in spirit, counts human merit loss, desires Christ's righteousness, hopes for Christ's resurrection glory, and thus minds heavenly things.  You should share Christ's mind by wanting spiritual things.

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