Dedicated to the Passionate Pursuit of the Glory of God.

Puritan Catechism Question of the Week
Q 16. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
A. The fall brought mankind into a state of sin and misery.

Name: Mike
Location: California, United States
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Friday, February 03, 2006

More notes from Philippians

I've decided to take one more day of prayer and contemplation before addressing Romans 9:19-26. It is a difficult passage to even attempt to address in a post, especially with the theological implications that may result.

For today, however, I thought that I would stay on the theme of Philippians. I argued yesterday that Paul opens his letter with a salutation that intentionally portrays himself as lowly and others as more important than himself. I then suggested that he got this directly from the theology that he teaches in Phil 2. Today I wanted to continue this theme in the last half of the book.

If it is true that the citizens of Philippi were boasting in themselves and creating monuments to themselves then we can understand why Paul might include some of the things that he has in Chapters 1 and 2. However, if this is really an important historical context that has implications in our understanding of the text, it makes sense to ask whether this theme is present throughout the entire epistle. Of course, it is my contention that it is.

Consider chapter 3 beginning in verse 3b:
"...and put no confidence in the flesh, although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the law, found blameless."

Here, Paul seems to do the very thing that I have contended that he is arguing against. Paul lays out all of his titles, in much the same way that a prideful Philippian may have.

However, what does Paul do with all of these titles (and by implication what is he telling everyone else to do with their titles)? Consider 3:7ff:
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be in loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him , not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith..."

Paul immediately sets his titles in opposition with knowing Christ. He is said to count them all as loss in order to gain Christ and later he is said to count them as rubbish for the same purpose. He desires to be found in Him, with a righteousness that is not his own but that which is from God.

Oh brethren, let us heed this word. Do you want to be great? Then cut off the pride that results in viewing life in a man-centered, earthly way. Put no confidence in your flesh to be of any merit, but cast your eyes upon the Lord of Hosts from whom all true righteousness comes.

Heed the words in 3:18-21:
For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

Do you want to satisfy yourself? Your glory will prove to be your shame and still worse you will be declared an enemy of the cross of Christ. Do not set your minds on earthly things. Rather, set your gaze on Christ Jesus and the heavenly things and long eagerly for our humble state to be transformed to His glory. Oh Jesus will, in that last day, transform us into Glory. Will you be found having a righteousness of your own or will it be said of you that you have "the righteousness that comes from God"?

In Christ alone,


Blogger Puritan Belief said...

Hi Mike: It looks like it shows up at the permanent link.

But not here. No idea?

12:29 PM  
Blogger evanmay said...

A note for all bloggers: Blogging in the Context of the New Testament Church

10:01 AM  

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