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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - PHILIPPIANS 3
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    CHAPTER 3

    Php 3:1-21. WARNING AGAINST JUDAIZERS: HE HAS GREATER CAUSE THAN THEY TO TRUST IN LEGAL RIGHTEOUSNESS, BUT RENOUNCED IT FOR CHRIST'S RIGHTEOUSNESS, IN WHICH HE PRESSES AFTER PERFECTION: WARNING AGAINST CARNAL PERSONS: CONTRAST OF THE BELIEVER'S LIFE AND HOPE.

    1. Finally--rather, not with the notion of time, but making a transition to another general subject, "Furthermore" [BENGEL and WAHL] as in 1Th 4:1. Literally, "As to what remains," &c. It is often used at the conclusion of Epistles for "finally" (Eph 6:10; 2Th 3:1). 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 this Epistle (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 (Php 3:3).
    - not grievous--"not irksome."
    - for you it is safe--Spiritual joy is the best safety against error (Php 3:2; Ne 8:10, end).

    2. Beware--Greek, "Have your eye on" so as to beware of. Contrast "mark," or "observe," namely, so as to follow Php 3:17.
    - dogs--Greek, "the dogs," namely, those impure persons "of whom I have told you often" (Php 3:18, 19); "the abominable" (compare Re 21:8, with Re 22:15; Mt 7:6; Tit 1:15, 16): "dogs" in filthiness, unchastity, and snarling (De 23:18; Ps 59:6, 14, 15; 2Pe 2:22): especially "enemies of the cross of Christ" (Php 3:18; Ps 22:16, 20). The Jews regarded the Gentiles as "dogs" (Mt 15:26); but by their own unbelief they have ceased to be the true Israel, and are become "dogs" (compare Isa 56:10, 11).
    - evil workers-- (2Co 11:13), "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" (Php 3:19; compare Ro 16:18). Translate, "The evil workmen," that is, bad teachers (compare 2Ti 2:15).
    - 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 (Le 21:5): it was a Gentile-heathenish practice (1Ki 18:28); 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 (Ac 13:39), 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 Galatians (Ga 3:3), 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 Colossians (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" (Ro 2:25-29; Col 2:11).
    - worship God in the Spirit--The oldest manuscripts read, "worship by the Spirit of God"; our religious service is rendered by the Spirit (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 (Ro 12:1). 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] (Ro 1:9).
    - 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 flesh."
    - I more--have more "whereof I might have confidence in the flesh."

    5. In three particulars he shows how he "might have confidence in the flesh" (Php 3:4): (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 [BENGEL].
    - 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" (Ac 26:5).

    6. Concerning--Translate as before and after, "As touching Zeal" (compare 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 contrary declares (Php 3:12-14) 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" (Mt 16:26; Lu 9:25).

    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 DO count 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 (Ps 63:1; Joh 20:28).
    - 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, Php 3:7, "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; 1Co 3:23).

    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 (Lu 15:8).
    - own righteousness . . . of the law-- (Php 3:6; 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" (Php 3:8). 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 justification (Ro 4:25; 1Co 15:17), 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 (Ro 6:4; 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 (Ro 8:11).
    - 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" (Col 1:24); and in the will to bear aught for His sake (Mt 10:38; 16:24; 2Ti 2:11). As He bore all our sufferings (Isa 53:4), 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 (Ro 8:29; 1Co 15:31; 2Co 4:10-12; Ga 2:20).

    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

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