CONTRAST OF THE
1. Finally--rather, not with the notion of time, but making a
transition to another general subject, "Furthermore" [BENGEL and WAHL] as in
Literally, "As to what remains," &c. It is often used at the conclusion
of Epistles for "finally"
But it is not restricted to this meaning, as ALFORD thinks, supposing that Paul used it here intending
to close his Epistle, but was led by the mention of the Judaizers into
a more lengthened dissertation.
the same things--concerning "rejoicing," the prevailing feature in
(Php 1:18, 25; 2:17; 4:4,
where, compare the "again I say," with "the same things" here).
In the Lord--marks the true ground of joy, in contrast with "having
confidence in the flesh," or in any outward sensible matter of boasting
not grievous--"not irksome."
for you it is safe--Spiritual joy is the best safety against
2. Beware--Greek, "Have your eye on" so as to beware of. Contrast
"mark," or "observe," namely, so as to follow
dogs--Greek, "the dogs," namely, those impure persons "of whom
I have told you often"
(Php 3:18, 19);
"the abominable" (compare
with Re 22:15;
Tit 1:15, 16):
"dogs" in filthiness, unchastity, and snarling
Ps 59:6, 14, 15;
especially "enemies of the cross of Christ"
Ps 22:16, 20).
The Jews regarded the Gentiles as "dogs"
but by their own unbelief they have ceased to be the true Israel, and
are become "dogs" (compare
Isa 56:10, 11).
"deceitful workers." Not simply "evildoers" are meant, but men who
"worked," indeed, ostensibly for the Gospel, but worked for evil:
"serving not our Lord, but their own belly"
Translate, "The evil workmen," that is, bad
concision--Circumcision had now lost its spiritual
significance, and was now become to those who rested on it as any
ground of justification, a senseless mutilation. Christians have the
only true circumcision, namely, that of the heart; legalists
have only "concision," that is, the cutting off of the flesh. To
make "cuttings in the flesh" was expressly prohibited by the law
it was a Gentile-heathenish practice
yet this, writes Paul indignantly, is what these legalists are
virtually doing in violation of the law. There is a remarkable
gradation, says BIRKS [Horæ
Apostolicæ] in Paul's language as to circumcision. In his
first recorded discourse
circumcision is not named, but implied as included in the law of Moses
which cannot justify. Six or seven years later, in the Epistle to
the first Epistle in which it is named, its spiritual inefficiency is
maintained against those Gentiles who, beginning in the Spirit, thought
to be perfected in the flesh. Later, in Epistle to Romans
(Ro 2:28, 29),
he goes farther, and claims the substance of it for every believer,
assigning the shadow only of it to the unbelieving Jew. In Epistle to
(Col 2:11; 3:11),
still later, he expounds more fully the true circumcision as the
exclusive privilege of the believer. Last of all here, the very name is
denied to the legalist, and a term of reproach is substituted,
"concision," or flesh-cutting. Once obligatory on all the
covenant-people, then reduced to a mere national distinction, it was
more and more associated in the apostle's experience with the open
hostility of the Jews, and the perverse teaching of false brethren.
3. "We are the (real) circumcision"
worship God in the Spirit--The oldest manuscripts read, "worship
by the Spirit of God"; our religious service is rendered by the
(Joh 4:23, 24).
Legal worship was outward, and consisted in outward acts, restricted to
certain times and places. Christian worship is spiritual,
flowing from the inworkings of the Holy Spirit, not relating to certain
isolated acts, but embracing the whole life
In the former, men trusted in something human, whether descent from the
theocratic nation, or the righteousness of the law, or mortification of
"the flesh" ("Having confidence," or "glorying in the flesh") [NEANDER]
rejoice in Christ Jesus--"make our boast in Christ Jesus," not
in the law: the ground of their boasting.
have no confidence in the flesh--but in the Spirit.
4. "Although I (emphatical) might have confidence even in the
flesh." Literally, "I having," but not using, "confidence in the
I more--have more "whereof I might have confidence in the flesh."
5. In three particulars he shows how he "might have confidence in
(1) His pure Jewish blood. (2) His legal preciseness and high status as
such. (3) His zeal for the law. The Greek is literally, "Being
in circumcision an eighth day person," that is, not one circumcised in
later life as a proselyte, but on the eighth day after birth, as the
law directed in the case of Jew-born infants.
of the tribe of Benjamin--son of Rachel, not of the maid-servant
Hebrew of the Hebrews--neither one or other parent being Gentile. The
"Hebrew," wherever he dwelt, retained the language of his fathers.
Thus Paul, though settled in Tarsus, a Greek city, calls himself a
Hebrew. A "Grecian" or Hellenist, on the other hand, in the New
Testament, is the term used for a "Greek-speaking" Jew [TRENCH].
touching the law--that is, as to legal status and strictness.
a Pharisee--"of the straitest sect"
6. Concerning--Translate as before and after, "As touching Zeal"
Ac 22:3; 26:9).
blameless--Greek, "having become blameless" as to
ceremonial righteousness: having attained
in the eyes of man blameless legal perfection. As to the holiness
before God, which is the inner and truest spirit of the law, and
which flows from "the righteousness of God by faith," he on the
that he has not attained perfection.
7. gain--rather as Greek, "gains"; including all possible
advantages of outward status, which he had heretofore enjoyed.
I counted--Greek, "I have counted for Christ's sake loss."
He no longer uses the plural as in "gains"; for he counts them all but
one great "loss"
8. Yea doubtless--The oldest manuscripts omit "doubtless" (Greek, "ge"): translate, "nay more." Not only "have I counted" those
things just mentioned "loss for Christ's sake, but, moreover, I even
ALL things but loss," &c.
for the excellency--Greek, "On account of the surpassing excellency
(the supereminence above them all) of the knowledge of Christ Jesus."
my Lord--believing and loving appropriation of Him
for whom--"on account of whom."
I have suffered the loss--not merely I "counted" them "loss," but
have actually lost them.
all things--The Greek has the article, referring to the preceding
"all things"; "I have suffered the loss of them all."
dung--Greek, "refuse (such as excrements, dregs, dross)
cast to the dogs," as the derivation expresses. A "loss" is of
something having value; but "refuse" is thrown away as not worthy of
being any more touched or looked at.
win--Translate, to accord with the translation,
"gain Christ." A man cannot make other things his "gain" or
chief confidence, and at the same time "gain Christ." He who loses all
things, and even himself, on account of Christ, gains Christ: Christ is
His, and He is Christ's
(So 2:16; 6:3;
Lu 9:23, 24;
9. be found in him--"be found" at His coming again, living spiritually
"in Him" as the element of my life. Once lost, I have been "found,"
and I hope to be perfectly "found" by Him
own righteousness . . . of the law--
Ro 10:3, 5).
"Of," that is, from.
righteousness . . . of God by faith--Greek,
"which is from God (resting) upon faith." Paul was
transported from legal bondage into Christian freedom at once, and
without any gradual transition. Hence, the bands of Pharisaism were
loosed instantaneously; and opposition to Pharisaic Judaism took the
place of opposition to the Gospel. Thus God's providence fitly prepared
him for the work of overthrowing all idea of legal justification. "The
righteousness of faith," in Paul's sense, is the righteousness or
perfect holiness of Christ appropriated by faith, as the
objective ground of confidence for the believer, and also as a
new subjective principle of life. Hence it includes the essence
of a new disposition, and may easily pass into the idea of
sanctification, though the two ideas are originally distinct. It is not
any arbitrary act of God, as if he treated as sinless a man persisting
in sin, simply because he believes in Christ; but the objective
on the part of God corresponds to the subjective on the part of
man, namely, faith. The realization of the archetype of holiness
through Christ contains the pledge that this shall be realized in all
who are one with Him by faith, and are become the organs of His Spirit.
Its germ is imparted to them in believing although the fruit of a life
perfectly conformed to the Redeemer, can only be gradually developed in
this life [NEANDER].
10. That I may know him--experimentally. The aim of the "righteousness"
just mentioned. This verse resumes, and more fully explains, "the
excellency of the knowledge of Christ"
To know HIM is more than merely to know a
doctrine about Him. Believers are brought not only to
redemption, but to the Redeemer Himself.
the power of his resurrection--assuring believers of their
and raising them up spiritually with Him, by virtue of their
identification with Him in this, as in all the acts of His redeeming
work for us
Col 2:12; 3:1).
The power of the Divine Spirit, which raised Him from literal death, is
the same which raises believers from spiritual death now
(Eph 1:19, 20),
and shall raise their bodies from literal death hereafter
the fellowship of his sufferings--by identification with Him in His
sufferings and death, by imputation; also, in actually bearing
the cross whatever is laid on us, after His example, and so "filling up
that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ"
and in the will to bear aught for His sake
(Mt 10:38; 16:24;
As He bore all our sufferings
so we participate in His.
made conformable unto his death--"conformed to the likeness of His
death," namely, by continued sufferings for His sake, and mortifying of
the carnal self
11. If by any means--not implying uncertainty of the issue, but the
earnestness of the struggle of faith
(1Co 9:26, 27),
and the urgent need of GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH