Philippiansby David Sanford
Today, Paul appeals to the Philippian believers to make the very best choice. Let's find out what it is.
First, he tells them that, ″All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things″ (Philippians 3:15). Paul is appealing to them to agree with all he has said so far. He is confident that mature Christians will agree with his insights on joy, unity, and love.
Second, he adds, ″And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you″ (v. 15). In other words, Paul is confident the Holy Spirit will speak to the heart of anyone who disagrees with his insights. After all, the Holy Spirit is inspiring this letter and gladly wants to illuminate us (1 John 2:20-29).
Third, Paul says, ″Only let us live up to what we have already attained″ (Philippians 3:16). Again, the idea is to press on instead of changing course or losing ground.
Fourth, he advises, ″Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do″ (v. 17). Ultimately, we follow Jesus Christ. Practically, however, we follow those who follow Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), as their examples are tangible, observable, and knowable (2 Thessalonians 3:7). From the four points Paul makes, it is clear that he longs for the Philippian believers to follow his teachings and godly example. He believes that this would be the best choice for them.
The apostle then tearfully recalls something he warned them about earlier: ″many live as enemies of the cross of Christ″ (Philippians 3:18). They oppose the gospel, reject Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, and do all they can to destroy genuine followers of Christ.
Paul condemns these enemies in the strongest terms (see 2 Peter 2:1-22; Jude 3-16), saying that ″their destiny is destruction″ (Philippians 3:19). This means they will be sent to hell by God. He also says that ″their god is their stomach″ (v. 19)-meaning that they worship their evil desires-and ″their glory is in their shame″ (v. 19). Truly, ″their mind is set on earthly things″ (v. 19).
Let us not be overwhelmed by the enemies of Jesus Christ. Instead, let us heed the godly, grace-filled examples of true followers of Jesus Christ, which offer rich encouragement, strength, joy, and peace in our own lives every day.
Do you have friends or acquaintances who live as enemies of Christ? Ask God to radically convert each one.
Who provides the best example for you in following Christ wholeheartedly?