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1: The same things - Which you have heard before.
2: Beware of dogs - Unclean, unholy, rapacious men. The
title which the Jews usually gave the gentiles, he returns upon
themselves. The concision - Circumcision being now ceased,
the apostle will not call them the circumcision, but coins a
term on purpose, taken from a Greek word used by the LXX,(Le 21:5), for such a cutting as God had forbidden.
3: For we - Christians. Are the only true circumcision
- The people now in covenant with God. Who worship God in spirit
- Not barely in the letter, but with the spiritual worship of
inward holiness. And glory in Christ Jesus - As the only cause
of all our blessings. And have no confidence in the flesh - In
any outward advantage or prerogative.
4: Though I - He subjoins this in the singular number,
because the Philippians could not say thus.
5: Circumcised the eighth day - Not at ripe age, as a
proselyte. Of the tribe of Benjamin - Sprung from the wife,
not the handmaid. An Hebrew of Hebrews - By both my parents;
in everything, nation, religion, language. Touching the law,
a pharisee - One of that sect who most accurately observe it.
6: Having such a zeal for it as to persecute to
the death those who did not observe it. Touching the
righteousness which is described and enjoined by the
Law - That is, external observances, blameless.
7: But all these things, which I then accounted gain,
which were once my confidence, my glory, and joy, those, ever
since I have believed, I have accounted loss, nothing worth
in comparison of Christ.
8: Yea, I still account both all these and all things
else to be mere loss, compared to the inward, experimental
knowledge of Christ, as my Lord, as my prophet, priest, and
king, as teaching me wisdom, atoning for my sins, and reigning
in my heart. To refer this to justification only, is miserably
to pervert the whole scope of the words. They manifestly relate
to sanctification also; yea, to that chiefly. For whom I have
actually suffered the loss of all things - Which the world loves,
esteems, or admires; of which I am so far from repenting, that
I still account them but dung - The discourse rises. Loss is
sustained with patience, but dung is cast away with abhorrence.
The Greek word signifies any, the vilest refuse of things, the
dross of metals, the dregs of liquors, the excrements of
animals, the most worthless scraps of meat, the basest offals,
fit only for dogs. That I may gain Christ - He that loses all
things, not excepting himself, gains Christ, and is gained by
Christ. And still there is more; which even St. Paul speaks
of his having not yet gained.
9: And be found by God ingrafted in him, not having my
own righteousness, which is of the law - That merely outward
righteousness prescribed by the law, and performed by my own
strength. But that inward righteousness which is through
faith - Which can flow from no other fountain. The righteousness
which is from God - From his almighty Spirit, not by my own
strength, but by faith alone. Here also the apostle is far
from speaking of justification only.
10: The knowledge of Christ, mentioned in the eighth
verse, is here more largely explained. That I may know him - As
my complete Saviour. And the power of his resurrection - Raising
me from the death of sin, into all the life of love. And the
fellowship of his sufferings - Being crucified with him. And
made conformable to his death - So as to be dead to all things
11: The resurrection of the dead - That is, the
resurrection to glory.
12: Not that I have already attained - The prize. He here
enters on a new set of metaphors, taken from a race. But
observe how, in the utmost fervour, he retains his sobriety of
spirit. Or am already perfected - There is a difference between
one that is perfect, and one that is perfected. The one is
fitted for the race, (Php 3:15); the other, ready to receive the
prize. But I pursue, if I may apprehend that - Perfect holiness,
preparatory to glory. For, in order to which I was apprehended
by Christ Jesus - Appearing to me in the way,(Ac 26:14). The speaking conditionally both here and in the
preceding verse, implies no uncertainty, but only the difficulty
13: I do not account myself to have apprehended this
already; to be already possessed of perfect holiness.
14: Forgetting the things that are behind - Even that part
of the race which is already run. And reaching forth unto
- Literally, stretched out over the things that are before
- Pursuing with the whole bent and vigour of my soul, perfect
holiness and eternal glory. In Christ Jesus - The author and
finisher of every good thing.
15: Let us, as many as are perfect - Fit for the race, strong
in faith; so it means here. Be thus minded - Apply wholly to this
one thing. And if in anything ye - Who are not perfect, who are
weak in faith. Be otherwise minded - Pursuing other things. God,
if ye desire it, shall reveal even this unto you - Will convince
you of it.
16: But let us take care not to lose the ground we
have already gained. Let us walk by the same rule we have
17: Mark them - For your imitation.
18: Weeping - As he wrote. Enemies of the cross of
Christ - Such are all cowardly, all shamefaced, all delicate
19: Whose end is destruction - This is placed in the front,
that what follows may be read with the greater horror. Whose
god is their belly - Whose supreme happiness lies in gratifying
their sensual appetites. Who mind - Relish, desire, seek,
20: Our conversation - The Greek word is of a very
extenslve meaning: our citizenship, our thoughts, our
affections, are already in heaven.
21: Who will transform our vile body - Into the most
perfect state, and the most beauteous form. It will then
be purer than the unspotted firmament, brighter than the
lustre of the stars and, which exceeds all parallel, which
comprehends all perfection, like unto his glorious body - Like
that wonderfully glorious body which he wears in his heavenly
kingdom, and on his triumphant throne.