Forgetting What Lies Behind – Philippians 3-4

Chapter 3 of Paul’s letter to the Christians at Philippi contains only 21 verses, but it is some of Paul’s finest writing. Paul really “gets it,” when it comes to the gospel, and he tells us what it is all about for us right here. He starts out comparing Christians to those of the circumcision party that suppose their status under the old law makes them chosen (having confidence in the flesh). He makes the point that if such things mattered, he has more reason than those of that party to be confident.

Philippi theater.

Philippi theater.

Paul then lists his credentials as a Jew, and as a Pharisee. Though a persecutor of the church, he had been in a position that was respected and honored. But all of that he says he counted as loss for knowing the Lord Jesus Christ:

that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

He has not attained perfection, he knows. And he has not done anything on his own.

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.

Paul knew, and he was trying to make them see, that this world is not our home. We must set our minds apart from those who wish to be of this world — those who make themselves enemies of the cross:

Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

He closes the letter in chapter 4, sending encouragement and prayers with two of the best passages for advice for Christians of all time. The first, in verses 4-7:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

And the second in verse 8:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Philippians and Hebrews

Phil. 3, Phil. 4, Heb. 1, Heb. 2, Heb. 3

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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

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