Philippians 3:8-14

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

We are in the process of looking at -

VII. PAUL'S EXHORTATIONS FOR GODLY LIVING - 3:1-21

We are also in the process of seeing that believers should -

A. Have No Confidence in the Flesh - 3:1-14

We have already seen that inasmuch as legalism places confidence in the flesh, believers must -

1. Beware of Legalism - 3:1-3

Not only must believers beware of legalism, but we have also seen that believers must -

2. Regard all Things as Loss for Christ - 3:4-7

We continue in this message with the thought that believers must also -

3. Press on Toward Christlikeness - 3:8-14

In Philippians 3:8-14 , we see that Paul has received the righteousness of God through Christ and is striving to attain complete Christlikeness in this life.

Philippians 3:8-14 - 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. 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: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 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. 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, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Yea is the same word translated but in verse 7. It introduces an emphatic contrast to what has preceded and is used in the sense of but, certainly, or indeed.

Doubtless suggests on the contrary.

And is likewise emphatic and understood in the sense of indeed, yea, verily, or certainly.

I count is I am thinking, I am considering, or I am regarding.

Contrary to what Paul had thought and pursued in Judaism prior to his salvation, he is now regarding all things but loss, i.e. that all things (he had been seeking prior to his salvation) (are) loss.

Loss is the same term used in verse 7 meaning damage, disadvantage, or forfeit. These things were absolutely worthless both to Paul and to the cause of Christ.

For the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord indicates the reason Paul counts all things to be loss.

For is for the sake of.

The excellency suggests the surpassing greatness.

Of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord indicates what surpasses greatness. It is getting personally and thoroughly acquainted with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ Jesus emphasizes Christ's being the Messiah rather than His being the Savior.

The fact the He is Christ Jesus my Lord indicates that Paul regards Him as Lord or Master of his life and that Paul regards himself as the slave of the Lord Jesus and as one who exists for the sole purpose of doing his Master's bidding.

For whom is because of Whom and refers to the Lord Jesus Christ.

I have suffered the loss of all things means I forfeited all things.

And do count them but dung is and I am regarding them to be dung.

By dung Paul means refuse, rubbish, garbage, leavings, or dirt. It is something that is regarded as totally worthless. It is found in various senses of excrement, manure, garbage, or kitchen scraps. In the plural, which appears here, it is specifically used of human excrement.

That I may win Christ is understood as in order that (or for the purpose that) I might gain Christ (or I might make Christ my own). Paul wants to be completely and totally Christlike in his life and person. Whereas he had previously determined to pursue the righteousness of the law, he has now determined to pursue complete Christlikeness.

Philippians 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.

And be found in him (i.e. and be found in Christ) is in order that I may be found in Him or that I may be in Him. This is the way Paul wants to be: to come to the point in his life where he is perfectly like the Lord Jesus.

Not having mine own righteousness indicates what Paul had formerly sought. Now, he wanted to be righteous and to be regarded as righteous by the Lord.

Mine own (or my own) is an emphatic form of my.

Righteousness is uprightness.

Which is of the law describes the righteousness Paul does not want. Which is of the law means the (righteousness) based on law.

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law.

That which is through the faith of Christ is the specific righteousness which comes through faith placed in Jesus Christ.

Through introduces the means by which the righteousness Paul desires is attained. It is through the faith of Christ, i.e. through the belief (or trust) placed in Christ. It is not the personal faith, belief, or trust which Christ has exercised.

Lest someone misunderstand, Paul restates this as the righteousness which is of God by faith.

The righteousness refers to the uprightness which God provides.

The fact that this righteousness is of God means that God is the source of it. It is not the works which a believer has done which provide it.

By faith indicates that a believer's faith is specific and based upon his confidence or trust in what God has accomplished when He sent the Lord Jesus Christ to die upon the cross to pay for the sins of all humanity. Paul longs to be perfectly Christlike in his practice as well as in his position in Christ, both in this life and throughout all eternity. Paul does not desire righteousness based on law but righteousness based upon his faith in Christ.

Philippians 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.

Verse 10 provides a second purpose for which the Apostle Paul has suffered the loss of all things and counts them to be dung.

That I might know him speaks of experiential knowledge.

Paul not only wants to know Him personally, he also wants to know the power of His resurrection. It is the power which produced Christ's resurrection. Paul wants the same power to permeate his life and ministry as he seeks to live his life completely for the Lord. He wants complete victory over sin and complete Christlikeness in his life as he serves the Lord and seeks to acquaint people with the gospel message.

And introduces a third thing the Apostle Paul desires to know: the fellowship of his sufferings, i.e. the participation of His sufferings or the sharing of His sufferings, indicating that in some way the Apostle Paul, as a believer, shares in the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is true of other believers as well and is done through the persecutions and trials they endure.

Being made conformable means taking on the same form as. It is understood in the sense of in order that (or for the purpose that) I might take on the same form as.

What Paul desires to be made conformable unto is his death, which refers to the death of the Lord Jesus Christ which demonstrated His perfect and complete obedience to His Father. What Paul means by this phrase is that he desires to be a perfect son of God, a sinless son of God, one who no longer needs to be ashamed of anything he has done. He wants to be so conformed to the Lord Jesus Christ that he is totally Christlike in all things, even in His death, whether death to sin or physical death.

Philippians 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

If by any means is whether (or perhaps) somehow or in some way.

I might attain is I might come to or I might arrive at.

What Paul desires to attain unto is the resurrection of the dead and means the resurrection from among dead ones.

It is a mistake to assume that Paul is speaking in this verse of his future resurrection at the rapture when the Lord Jesus returns for His saints. This has already been guaranteed, not only for Paul but also, for all other saved people. Paul does not mean that he is hoping that he will somehow attain this resurrection at the rapture. This is not in question. Paul is expecting to be raised from the dead as are all other believers. Six or seven years earlier he wrote in I Corinthians 15:20-23 ,

I Corinthians 15:20-23 - (20) But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (21) For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. (22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (23) But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming (emphasis added).

When one examines the context of Philippians 3:11 , the verses preceding verse 11 and the verses following verse 11 are all speaking of this life rather than of life in heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ following the rapture. It is for this reason that verse 11 is also best understood as referring to Paul's present life as a Christian. Romans 6:11-14 is helpful here.

Romans 6:11-14 - (11) Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (12) Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. (13) Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (14) For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Paul desired to live his life in such conformity to Christ that he would never again commit a single act of sin. He wanted Christ to live in and through him to such an extent that others would see only Jesus living in him. Although Paul desired to attain a perfectly Christlike life, he never quite realized it in this life; yet, believers should pursue after this goal of perfect conformity to the Lord Jesus that they may approach it as closely as they possibly can. Such Christlikeness in practice would go a long way toward resolving the interpersonal conflicts which had arisen among the saints in Philippi.

Philippians 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.

Not as though is not that.

I had already attained is I already attained. Its tense indicates an action completed in the past, and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

Either were already perfect.

The tense of were already perfect indicates that its action was completed in the past and that the result of its action has continued on. It is understood as am already completed, am already finished, or am already made perfect. Although Paul desires perfection, he realizes that he has not yet attained it.

But I follow after is but I am following after or but I am pursuing.

If that I may apprehend is if indeed I may attain or if indeed I may make my own.

What Paul wishes to attain or make his own is that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus, i.e. by Christ Jesus.

The tense of am apprehended indicates action that has been completed as a whole in the past, and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action. It means that for which I am attained by Christ Jesus or that for which I have been made Christ's own by Christ Jesus. It indicates that Paul wants Christ's purpose for saving him to be completely fulfilled. He desires to be as Christlike as possible in this life.

Philippians 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.

Brethren addresses the Philippian believers as brothers. They are Paul's fellow believers in the family of God.

I count not is I do not consider, I do not regard, or I do not suppose.

Myself to have apprehended is that I have attained or that I have made this my own.

But this one thing I do is simply but one (thing). This one thing which Paul does is expressed in the second half of verse 13 and all of verse 14: forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Forgetting is while forgetting or while I forget.

What Paul forgets is those things which are behind, i.e. things in the past.

Inasmuch as those things are in the past, they can no longer be repeated. They may have been good things, or they may have been bad things. If someone dwells on his past defeats, he may continue to be defeated in the present. If someone dwells upon his past successes, he may be living in the past and not in the present. No one can go back and undo or redo anything he has already done. All he can do is go on and live for the Lord from now on.

And he can also be reaching forth, i.e. stretching out toward or straining toward those things which are before.

Those things which are before refers to the things lying ahead or the things that are in the future.

One cannot help but think of athletes in a race straining to reach the finish line first.

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

I press is I am hastening, I am running, or I am pressing on.

What Paul is pressing toward is the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Toward the mark is toward the goal.

And the goal is the prize of the high calling of God, i.e. the prize of the upward calling, the prize of the upward call, or the prize of the upward invitation in Christ Jesus.

Paul wants to be perfectly Christlike in this life, and he is pursuing it with determination.

Although in a physical race only one runner can win first prize, in this race of life every believer can attain the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. We are not competing against each other. Believers compete only with themselves and not with each other.