Philippians 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude (1PPAS); and if in anything you have a different attitude (2PPAI) God will reveal (3SFAI) that also to you (NASB: Lockman)
Amplified: So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: Let all of you who have graduated in the school of Christ have the same attitude of mind to life. And if anyone is otherwise minded in any way, this too God will reveal to him. (Westminster Press)
KJV: Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
NLT: I hope all of you who are mature Christians will agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: All of us who are spiritually adult should set ourselves this sort of ambition, and if at present you cannot see this, yet you will find that this is the attitude which God is leading you to adopt. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: As many therefore as are spiritually mature [in a relative sense], let us be constantly of this mind. And if, as is the case, in anything you are differently minded, and that, in an evil sense, this also will God reveal to you.
Young's Literal: As many, therefore, as are perfect -- let us think this, and if in anything ye think otherwise, this also shall God reveal to you,
LET US THEREFORE AS MANY AS ARE PERFECT HAVE THIS ATTITUDE: hosoi oun teleioi touto phronomen (1PPAS):
- Ro 15:1 - note; 1Cor 2:6; 14:20, Col 1:28 - note; Col 4:12-note; 2Ti 3:17 - note; He 5:14 - note; Jas 1:4 - note, 1Jn 2:5)
- Philippians 3 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries
- Philippians 3:15-21 The Subtlety of Error - Jack Arnold
- Philippians 3:12-16 Reaching for the Prize - John MacArthur
Therefore (oun) as Eadie says "introduces the inference based on a retrospect."
Edwards explains that…
All mature believers are to have this same mindset. The therefore here also gives good support that Phil 3:10, 11, 12, 13, 14 is basically speaking about being "mature." We see here that one of the marks of being mature in the faith is that our great goal in life is holiness, not happiness. No man can claim to be a mature Christian if this isn't his primary goal! (Reference)
Thus in this section Paul is exhorting those who are spiritually mature ("perfect") to hold the same convictions as he does regarding the need to press on toward the goal of Christlikeness. In the last half of this verse, Paul expresses his recognition that some of the believers will not share his attitude. The implication is that the reason they do not share his attitude is because they are not spiritually mature.
As Steven Cole goes on to explain…
To those who disagree with him, Paul says, “Stay teachable and God will show you where you need to grow” (Sermon)
As many as are perfect - Eadie writes that…
The use of teleios is striking, especially in contrast with teteleiomai in Php 3:12. There, he says—“Not as if I had taken the prize, or were already perfected;” and now he says—“Let as many as are perfect,”… The adjective has plainly a somewhat different sense from the verb. The adjective refers to relative, but the verb to absolute perfection. The one is predicated of him who is in the race and has made some progress; and the other of him who has reached the goal and taken the prize. Perfecti viatores, (Means something like - To do thoroughly as a traveler) says Augustine, nondum perfecti possessores. (Means something like - not yet to do thoroughly as a possessor) The apostle's use of the term sanctions this idea. He elsewhere speaks of two classes in the church —“babes and perfect men.” 1Cor. 2:6; Ep 4:12, 13; He 5:13, 14. The terms nepios (Literally = Not speaking, an infant, a minor) and teleios (mature) are in contrast. See also 1Co 14:20. In the first passage referred to (Php 3:12), the allusion is to respective degrees or attainments in knowledge.
“as many of us as are perfect,” (is a phrase which leaves) it to each of themselves to determine whether the epithet be applicable to him or not. The perfect ones, among whom by the idiom he employs he places himself, are those who have burst the fetters of intellectual and spiritual bondage; who have made some advancement in the divine life; who are acquainted with the higher forms of truth, and are no strangers to the impulses and powers of divine grace; who are the circumcision (Ed: I think he is speaking of heart circumcision as in Ro 2:28, 29-note); who, by the Spirit, worship God; who are conscious of union with Christ, of possessing righteousness through faith in Him, and some measure of conformity to Him, and who cherish through Him the hope of a happy resurrection.
And perhaps, if we take in the previous context, the imperfect are those whose minds had not been able so fully to rise above all confidence in the flesh; who still thought circumcision might not be wholly without value (Ed: speaking of physical act); who would scruple (show reluctance on grounds of conscience) to count all such things dead and positive loss (cp Php 3:7, 8-note), but hankered (possessed a strong or persistent desire) after some of them; and who, in formally renouncing them, secretly or unawares clung to them, and might not distinctly comprehend the freeness, adaptation, and perfection of that righteousness which is through the faith of Christ. They could not be perfect runners in that course which the apostle has traced, for they had not laid aside “every weight.” (cp He 12:1-note) They were entangled at every step (cp 2Ti 2:3, 4-note), and progress was impeded…
The language used by the apostle —hosoi (as many as)—intimates that all were not teleioi (mature) in the Philippian church; the idea of relative progress is therefore involved. Nor does it, as Wiesinger objects, in any way give countenance to self-esteem, for he neither names the teleioi, nor points out precisely in what their perfection consists. On the other hand, he classes himself among the teleioi, and yet he has declared of himself that he was yet not perfected. In fact, the perfect one was only in the way of being perfected; none knew his imperfection so much, or felt it so deeply, and therefore he strove with quenchless ardor to move fleetly onward to the end of the race, and obtain the crown. For one may be perfect in aim, and yet be far from realizing it. The perfection referred to was such a progress as vividly showed defect; such a stage in the race as revealed most painfully the distance lying still in front; such light which, as it grew, served also to enlarge the circle of darkness round about it (Ed: Compare Paul's self assessment as he approached the end of his life! 1Ti 1:15 "foremost" sinner!). (A Commentary on the Greek Text - Online) (Bolding added)
Here the term teleioi means relative perfection, not the absolute perfection so pointedly denied in Php 3:12. Paul here includes himself in the group of spiritual adults (see Heb. 5:13-note).
Perfect (5046) (teleios [word study] from telos = an end, a purpose, an aim, a goal) means complete, mature, fully developed, full grown, brought to its end, finished, wanting nothing necessary to completeness, in good working order. Teleios signifies consummate soundness, includes the idea of being whole. Teleios does not refer to sinlessness but to spiritual maturity. Teleios conveys the ideas of reaching or accomplishing the goal for which we were saved (ultimately Christ- likeness).
NET Bible note…
The adjective perfect comes from the same root as the verb perfected in Php 3:12. Paul may well be employing a wordplay to draw in his opponents. Thus, perfect would then be in quotation marks and Paul would then argue that no one - neither they nor he - is in fact perfect. The thrust of Php 3:1-16 is that human credentials can produce nothing that is pleasing to God (Php 3:1-8). Instead of relying on such, Paul urges his readers to trust God for their righteousness (Php 3:9) rather than their own efforts, and at the same time to press on for the prize that awaits them (Php 3:12, 13, 14). He argues further that perfection is unattainable in this life (Php 3:15), yet the level of maturity that one has reached should not for this reason be abandoned (Php 3:16). (NET Bible)
Wuest helps understand how this statement can be rationalized with the statement in (Phil 3:12 - note) explaining that in Philippians 3:12…
Paul is speaking of a finished process and absolute spiritual maturity beyond which there is no room for improvement, whereas in Philippians 3:15 he is speaking of relative spiritual maturity where there is room for development and growth. This is clear from the fact that in the former verse (Php 3:12-note) he uses a verb in the perfect tense, whereas in the latter, he uses a noun. Paul therefore exhorts the Philippian saints who are spiritually mature to consider themselves so only in a relative sense, and to remember that there is much room for spiritual growth in their lives. The spiritual maturity spoken of here is as we have seen, not a state of sinlessness or flawlessness, but one of completeness, of a well rounded Christian character, a state opposite to spiritual infancy. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans or Logos) (Bolding added)
Jamieson explains that those believers who are perfect are…
full grown (no longer “babes”) in the Christian life (Php 3:3-note, “worshipping God in the Spirit, and having no confidence in the flesh”) 1Co 2:6, fully established in things of God. Here, by “perfect,” he means one fully fit for running [Bengel]; knowing and complying with the laws of the course (2Ti 2:5-note). Though “perfect” in this sense, he was not yet “made perfect” (Greek) in the sense intended in Philippians 3:12, namely, “crowned with complete victory,” and having attained absolute perfection.
Adam Clarke writes that…
The word teleioi, perfect, is taken here in the same sense in which it is taken 1 Corinthians 14:20 (Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be babes, but in your thinking be [present imperative = be continually becoming] mature [teleios = attaining to full development as opposed to immaturity]. Be ye perfect-thoroughly instructed, deeply experienced.
1 Corinthians 2:6:- Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature (teleios) among those who are fully instructed, adults in Christian knowledge.
Ephesians 4:13 (note) until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ.
Hebrews 5:14 (note): But solid food is for the mature (teleios), who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Here teleios means those who are thoroughly instructed and experienced in Divine things.
Let us therefore, says the apostle, as many as be perfect-as have entered fully into the spirit and design of the Gospel…
Have this attitude - The question is "what attitude" is Paul referring to? We have already mentioned it above, but to reiterate, if we observe the context, we see that Paul has just referred to pursuing the prize of Christlikeness (and all that is implied by this "race", the things he had mentioned in the preceding passages)
Guzik writes that…
Those who are really mature will have this mind. If they do not, Paul trusts that God will reveal the necessity of having it. Paul has great trust in the ability of the Lord to deal with His own people. He doesn't have the attitude that if he doesn't convince them, they will never be convinced.
J Vernon McGee says…
In other words, have the same mind as Paul. Get out on the racetrack with Paul and press on toward the same goal.
MacDonald explains that the mature ("perfect") believers at Philippi
should share Paul’s willingness to suffer and die for Christ and to bend every effort in the quest for likeness to the Lord Jesus. This is the mature view of the Christian faith. Some would call it extreme, radical, or fanatical. But the apostle states that those who are full-grown will see that this is the only sane, logical, reasonable response to the One who shed His life-blood for them on Calvary. (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or Logos)
Have this attitude - An exhortation to continually (present tense) set your mind on this. Keep on thinking this way, remaining focused on pursuing the goal of Christlikeness and more generally having the mind Paul had described in Philippians 3:7-14 (notes) where he began by explaining the things he had counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
MacArthur adds a slightly different aspect to the interpretation explain that Paul
could be referring to the mature believers who were like-minded with him in this pursuit or he may also have used “mature” here to refer sarcastically to the Judaizers, who thought they had reached perfection.
Have… attitude (5426) (phroneo [word study] from phren = literally the diaphragm and thus that which curbs or restrains. Figuratively, phren is the supposed seat of all mental and emotional activity) refers to the basic orientation, bent, and thought patterns of the mind, rather than to the mind or intellect itself (that is the Greek word nous). Phroneo includes a person’s affections and will as well as his reasoning. In other words phroneo refers not simply to intellectual activity but also to direction and purpose of heart. Phroneo means to think, set one's mind or heart upon something and denotes the whole action of the affections and will as well as the reason. It describes a process of evaluating a situation and on the basis of our evaluation of adopting an attitude or disposition to act.
Paul is saying to those who are mature to continually (present tense) give careful consideration to what he has just stated. It is also notable that the word phroneo is one of those terms which is difficult to render in English because it includes at once thinking and willing. It expresses not merely an activity of the intellect, but also a movement of the will and thus it is both interest and decision at the same time.
Robertson comments on the present tense…
Present active volitive subjunctive of phroneo. “Let us keep on thinking this,” viz. that we have not yet attained absolute perfection.
Robertson adds that phroneo is in the
Present active volitive (pertaining to volition or relating to the will, with subjunctive approximating the sense of a command) subjunctive… “Let us keep on thinking this,” viz. (that is to say) that we have not yet attained absolute perfection." (Robertson, A. Word Pictures in the New Testament)
Matthew Poole writes that…
from the instance of himself (Paul), imitating Christ, in loving condescension and lowliness of mind, Php 2:3-note, Php 2:5-note, worshipping God in the spirit, and not having confidence in the flesh, Php 3:3-note, in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, Php 3:10-note, pressing forward to absolute perfection, he here doth with himself encourage as many rulers and ruled who were settled in the fundamentals of Christianity, and who had made progress in holiness ("as many as are perfect"), to mind that main business of religion… “Be thus minded;” he would have them to be so minded as he himself was, in renouncing all carnal confidence, acknowledging their gradual imperfection, and still to be striving and contending to a fuller measure of holiness, till they come to be consummate in Christ. (Matthew Poole's Commentary on the New Testament)
Spurgeon commenting on Php 3:15 says…
I admire that sentence. If any brother has not reached a full knowledge of the truth, let us not condemn him, or cast him out of our company, but say to him, “God shall reveal even this unto you.”
If you are a true believer in Jesus, be of this mind, always to be pressing forward to something higher and better. If God has given you one form of perfection, press onward to a much higher form of perfection. Seek continually to rise. The eagle’s motto is, “Higher, Higher!” Let it be your motto too. Many of God’s people do not believe that he can make them what he means to make them, or, at least, they act as if they did not believe that he can. They are not, apparently, conscious of what their privileges really are, and are living far below where they might live in the happy enjoyment of peace and power and usefulness. May God help us, by his gracious Spirit, to know all of Christ that we can know, and to be as much like Christ as we can be.
You have seen a man running very fast. How he leans forward, as though he would send his heart before him, and go quicker than his legs can carry him! So did the apostle “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Spurgeon on Philippians)
AND IF IN ANYTHING YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT ATTITUDE GOD WILL REVEAL THAT ALSO TO YOU: kai ei ti heteros phroneite (2PPAI) kai touto o theos humin apokalupsei (3SFAI):
- Ps 25:8,9; Proverbs 2:3-6; 3:5,6; Isaiah 35:8; Luke 11:13; John 7:17; James 1:5
- Click John MacArthur's exposition Reaching for the Prize
- Philippians 3 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries
If (ei) presents, not a hypothetical case but a fulfilled condition or one that is assumed to be true. That is, it is true that some of the Philippians had a different attitude.
The conjunction ei is followed by the indicative implying condition, simply and purely, “if, as may be the case.” Ti (pronoun indefinite accusative neuter singular - Tis = a reference to someone or something indefinite, anyone, anything [the most appropriate meaning in context]; someone) is the accusative of reference, and that reference is certainly not to any essential points of doctrine, but to aspects of truth or elements of spiritual experience, which the apostle has been presenting. They might not see those relations of truth so clearly as the apostle, and their convictions might not be so profound, or their progress so rapid and uniform. (A Commentary on the Greek Text - Online)
Different (2088) (heteros) is an adverb which is used only here in the NT and means differently (in a different manner, not identically), otherwise.
And if in anything you have a different attitude - In other words if you don't agree with what Paul has just stated about pursuing Christlikeness.
the true idea is brought out simply by the implied contrast ("you have a different attitude"). This difference must be wrong, so far as it does not correspond with the apostle's mind, and the amount of error is just in proportion to the amount of difference; and that it is wrong, is also shown from the apostle's expectation, that God would set them right ("God will reveal that also to you"). The revelation which the apostle promises they should enjoy, had for its purpose to remove such disagreement, and bring them to his mind (cp 1Cor 4:16, 11:1, 1Th 1:6-note). (A Commentary on the Greek Text - Online)
As alluded to above MacArthur raises the possibility that the different attitude was in fact the attitude of some that they had arrived at perfection, which may have also been a jab at Judaizers in the midst of the believers (cp the context - "enemies of the cross of Christ" - Php 3:18-note).
Jamieson takes this latter view writing that those with a different attitude refer to those…
having too high an opinion of yourselves as to your attainment of Christian perfection. “He who thinks that he has attained everything, hath nothing” [Chrysostom]. Probably, too, he refers to those who were tempted to think to attain to perfection by the law (Gal 3:3): who needed the warning (Php 3:2-note), “Beware of the concision (the circumcision),” though on account of their former piety, Paul hopes confidently (as in Gal 5:10) that God will reveal the path of right-mindedness to them. Paul taught externally God “reveals” the truth internally by His Spirit (Mt 11:25; 16:17; 1Co 3:6).(Philippians Commentary)
God will reveal - Paul is saying if you don't agree, the only thing he can do is turn the case over to God.
Eadie commenting on revelation to the saints at Philippi says that…
Such spiritual enlightenment was frequent in those times, when the written oracles of the New Testament were not in circulation, and indeed is needed at all times, to give the mind a just and abiding perception of the truth. Ps 25:9; 1John 2:20. It is plain, therefore, that the difference of view was not some wilful and wicked misconception, or some wretched prejudice, adhered to with inveterate or malignant obstinacy. It was rather some truth not fully seen in all its bearings—some principle not so perceived as to be carried out in all its details and consequences—some department of duty which they might apprehend rather than appreciate — or some state of mind which they might admire in the apostle, but did not really covet for themselves. The apostle throws his own teaching into the shade, and ascribes the coming enlightenment to God. He might have taught them the necessary lesson, or it might be found in the previous details of the chapter, or Epaphroditus on returning might be commissioned to explain and enforce it; yet all might be insufficient, and therefore the work is taken out of man's hand, and the needed insight is declared to be the gift of the Father of Lights (Jas 1:17-note).
Reveal (601) (apokalupto from apó = from + kalúpto = cover, conceal, English = apocalypse - see study of apokalupsis English = apocalypse) literally means to remove the cover from and so the idea is to remove that which conceals something. Almost all of the NT uses have a figurative use, especially to some aspect of spiritual truth that was heretofore hidden but now has the "lid removed" so that it can be seen (understood).
Thus apokalupto means to "take the lid off", to remove the cover and thereby to expose to open view that which had heretofore not been visible, known or disclosed. The idea is to make manifest something previously secret or unknown.
Apokalupto conveys the idea of "taking the lid off" and means to remove the cover and expose to open view that which was heretofore not visible, known or disclosed. It means to make manifest or reveal a thing previously secret or unknown. It describes removing of a veil (an unveiling) or covering thus exposing to open view what was concealed.
Apokalupto - 26x in 26v - NAS - reveal(5), revealed(20), revelation is made(1). Below are some but not all of the uses…
Mt 10:26 (see Luke 12:2) Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.
Matthew 11:25 (see Lk 10:21) At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.
Matthew 11:27 All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
Matthew 16:17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
Luke 17:30 It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.
Romans 1:17-note For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.
Comment: A T Robertson says that "It is a revelation from God, this God kind of righteousness, that man unaided could never have conceived or still less attained. In these words we have Paul’s statement in his own way of the theme of the Epistle, the content of the gospel as Paul understands it. Every word is important."
Vincent adds "Righteousness as an attribute of God was revealed before the Gospel. Righteousness in this sense is a matter of special revelation through the Gospel. The present tense describes the Gospel in its continuous proclamation: is being revealed."
Romans 1:18-note For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
1Corinthians 2:10 For to us God revealed them (What? see 1Cor 2:9) through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.
Comment: A T Robertson says that "Paul explains why this is no longer hidden, “for God revealed unto us” the wonders of grace pictured in verse 9. We do not have to wait for heaven to see them. Hence we can utter those things hidden from the eye, the ear, the heart of man."
1Corinthians 3:13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.
Galatians 1:16 to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood,
Comment: Wuest - "The word apokalupto refers to the disclosure of something by the removal of that which hitherto concealed it, and refers especially to a subjective revelation to an individual. A public disclosure of the Lord Jesus through Paul would necessitate the fact that He had been previously hidden from public knowledge, which is not the case, since He had already been preached in the world. But He had been previously hidden from Paul, which points to a subjective revelation of the Lord Jesus to Paul within Paul. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans or Logos)
Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.
Ephesians 3:5-note which (the mystery of Christ Eph 3:4 - that Gentiles are now welcomed into His kingdom in equal standing with saved Jews) in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;
2Th 2:3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it (the Day of the Lord will be #3) will not come unless the apostasy comes first (#1), and the man of lawlessness (#2) is revealed, the son of destruction (the Antichrist)… 6 And you know what restrains him (Antichrist) now, so that in his time (kairos = a specific segment of time determined by God Who Alone is sovereign over time and history) he may be revealed… 8 And then that lawless one (Antichrist) will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;
1Pe 1:5-note (cp Ro 8:18-note above, cp 1Pe 5:1-note) who (believers 1Pe 1:3-note) are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (When? What? When we see Christ in glory and are like Him [glorification], then our salvation will be completed.)
In sum apokalupto in the NT speaks of the following entities which will be revealed - the meaning of the acts of God (Mt 11:25, Lk 10:21), the secret of the Person of the Lord Jesus (Mt 16:17, Jn 12:38), character of God as Father (Mt 11:27; Lk 10:22), the will of God for the conduct of His children (Php 3:15), the mind of God to the prophets (of Israel, 1Pe 1:12, of the Church, 1Co 14:30; Ep 3:5), the gospel (Ro 1:17), the wrath of God (Ro 1:18), the glorious Second Coming of Christ (Lk 17:30), the glory of Christ and glorification of believers (Ro 8:18; 1Pe 1:5; 5:1), the eternal value (or lack) of our "good deeds" (1Co 3:13), the Antichrist (2Th 2:3, 6, 8)
Apokalupto - 86x in the Septuagint (LXX) -
Gen 8:13; Ex 20:26; A number of the following uses refer to "uncovering" nakedness! - Lev 18:6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19; 20:11, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21; Num 5:18; 22:31; 24:4, 16; Deut 22:30; 27:20; Josh 2:19; Jdg 5:2; Ruth 3:4, 7; 4:4; 1 Sam 2:27; 3:7, 21; 9:15; 20:2, 13; 22:8, 17; 2 Sam 6:20, 22; 7:27; 22:16; Job 41:13; Ps 29:9; 37:5; 98:2; 119:18; Prov 11:13; 27:5; Song 4:1; Isa 3:17; 47:2; 52:10; 53:1; 56:1; Jer 11:20; 13:26; 20:12; Lam 2:14; 4:22; Ezek 13:14; 16:36f, 57; 21:24; 22:10; 23:10, 18, 29; Dan 2:19, 22, 28ff, 47; 10:1; 11:35; Hos 2:10; 7:1; Amos 3:7; Mic 1:6; Nah 2:7; 3:5.
Here are a few very interesting representative uses of apokalupto in the Septuagint (LXX)…
Genesis 8:13 (Literal) Now it came about in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the water was dried up from the earth. Then Noah removed the covering (Lxx = apokalupto) of the ark, and looked, and behold, the surface of the ground was dried up.
Numbers 22:31 (Figurative - spiritual truth revealed) Then the Lord opened (Lxx = apokalupto) the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed all the way to the ground.
Ruth 3:4 (Literal) “It shall be when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies, and you shall go and uncover his feet and lie down; then he will tell you what you shall do.”
1 Samuel 3:7 (Figurative - spiritual truth revealed) Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed (Lxx = apokalupto) to him.
Psalm 98:2 (Figurative - spiritual truth revealed) The Lord has made known His salvation; He has revealed (Lxx = apokalupto) His righteousness (Jesus - Jer 23:6, 2Pe 1:1) in the sight of the nations.
Psalm 119:18 (Figurative - spiritual truth revealed) Open (aorist imperative; Lxx = apokalupto) my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law.
Daniel 2:28 (Figurative - spiritual truth revealed) However, there is a God in heaven Who reveals (Lxx = apokalupto) mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed.
Lamentations 2:14 (Figurative - spiritual truth revealed) Your prophets have seen for you false and foolish visions and they have not exposed (Lxx = apokalupto) your iniquity so as to restore you from captivity, but they have seen for you false and misleading oracles.
Comment: God's prophets (see Amos 3:7 below) must speak God's Word as one of the functions of His Word of truth is to take the lid off the lies and iniquity of the hearers. Why do they need to hear His Word of Truth and Light? They are otherwise in spiritual darkness and are deceived by their sin [see He 3:13].
Amos 3:7 (Figurative - spiritual truth revealed) Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals (Lxx = apokalupto) His secret counsel to His servants the prophets.
Originally in secular Greek this word group (apokalupto and apokalupsis) was not an especially religious word (other words were used in secular Greek to designate divine revelation) but meant simply the disclosure of any fact. It was used to mean "uncovering" as of one's head. It was used to describe the "disclosing" of hidden springs.
To whom would God reveal the truth? Or asked another more general way how is the will of God revealed to believers? Jesus alluded that one comes to know God's will not just by hearing but by doing (obeying the truth one has heard)…
(First the condition) If any man is willing to do (present tense = not perfectly but as the general direction of one's life) His will, (Then the promise) he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself. (John 7:17)
The psalmist David echoes Paul's words about the Lord's desire and power to reveal His truth reminding us that…
Good and upright is the Lord. Therefore He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way. (Who is able to learn spiritual truth? See C H Spurgeon's thoughts. Do you have a teachable heart? Do you tremble at His Word? Isa 66:2, 5, Pr 28:14, Ps 119:161, Ezra 9:4, 10:3) (Ps 25:8, 9-note)
Solomon echoes this truth and places some of the responsibility on us writing…
For if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures, then you will discern the fear of the LORD, and discover the knowledge of God. For the LORD (Jehovah) gives wisdom. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Pr 2:3, 4, 5, 6 - see Bridges - A Commentary on Proverbs)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Pr 3:5,6 -see Bridges - A Commentary on Proverbs)
And James reminds us that…
if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (Jas 1:5-note, see the "condition" the assures fulfillment of this promise = Jas 1:6, 7, 8-note, cp Jas 2:2b, Mt 7:7, 8-note)
Remember that as our Lord so clearly taught, a critical dynamic in truly learning spiritual truth is faithfully doing spiritual truth (obeying the truth your Teacher, the Spirit, illumines, cp Jn 14:26)
If anyone is willing to do (present tense = as one's lifestyle = direction not perfection!) His will (most clearly revealed in His Word of truth), he will know (ginosko = by experience) of the teaching (didache), whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. (John 7:17)
As Guzik puts it…
Paul has great trust in the ability of the Lord to deal with His own people. He doesn’t have the attitude that if he doesn’t convince them, they will never be convinced. (Philippians 3 Commentary )
Ryrie paraphrases it…
If you don't agree, God will give you light on the subject. (The Ryrie Study Bible)
MacDonald -Paul realizes that not all will agree with him in adopting such a dangerous philosophy. But he expresses the confidence that if a person is really willing to know the truth of the matter, God will reveal it to him. The reason we have such an easy-going, complacent Christianity today is because we do not want to know the truth; we are not willing to obey the demands of ideal Christianity. God is willing to show the truth to those who are willing to follow it.
Edwards - If their minds were set on anything else, any other goal in life, God would reveal it to them. It would seem that this revelation must come through the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is comforting to know that when we get off the track God will point it out to us so that we can get back on (Reference)
MacArthur -Those who refuse to heed Paul’s message will hear that same message from God. He will correct them through His Word, His Spirit, or through chastening. God will do whatever it takes to make believers recognize their need to pursue the prize of Christlikeness. He will also provide the resources they need to do that (see note 2 Peter 1:3). (MacArthur, J. Philippians. Chicago: Moody Press)
Barnes explains that God is able to "correct your erroneous opinions, and disclose to you the importance of making this effort for the prize. This is the expression of an opinion, that to those who were sincere and true Christians, God would yet make a full revelation of the nature of religion, or would lead them on so that they would fully understand it. They who are acquainted with religion at all, or who have been truly converted, God will teach and guide until they shall have a full understanding of divine things. (Philippians 3)
Amplified: Only let us hold true to what we have already attained and walk and order our lives by that. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: Only we must always walk according to that standard which we have already reached. (Westminster Press)
KJV: Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
Lightfoot: Only let us remember one thing. Our footsteps must not swerve from the line in which we have hitherto trodden.
Phillips: It is important that we go forward in the light of such truth as we have ourselves attained to. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Weymouth: But whatever be the point that we have already reached, let us persevere in the same course.
Wuest: Only one thing, so far as we have come, let us keep our lives in the same path.
Young's Literal: but to what we have come -- by the same rule walk, the same thing think;
HOWEVER, LET US KEEP LIVING BY THAT SAME STANDARD TO WHICH WE HAVE ATTAINED: plen eis o ephthasamen (1PAAI), to auto stoichein (PAN):
- Ro 12:16 - note; Ro 15:5 - note; Gal 6:16; Ep 5:2-8 -note; Col 2:6 - note
- Gal 5:7; He 10:38, 39 - note; 2Pe 2:10-20 - note; Re 2:4,5 - note; Re 3:3 - note
- Php 1:27- note; Php 2:2 - note; Php 4:2 - note
- Click John MacArthur's exposition Reaching for the Prize
- Philippians 3 Resources - Multiple sermons and commentaries
However (nevertheless) - “even though there be those who are otherwise minded” (Eadie)
However (plen) means more than, over and above, hence, besides. In the present verse Paul is saying now let me tell you one more thing. Plen is a word that is often used at the end of a paragraph to express a final thought.
To paraphrase Paul is saying
One more thing, by the way, let us keep living by that same to which we have attained.
Vincent translates it
Notwithstanding the minor points in which you may be otherwise minded. (Vincent, M. R. . Word Studies in the New Testament. Vol. 3, Page 1-451)
Jamieson -The expectation of a new revelation is not to make you less careful in walking according to whatever degree of knowledge of divine things and perfection you have already attained. God makes further revelations to those who walk up to the revelations they already have (Ho 6:3).
Keep living by the (same) standard (4748) (stoicheo [word study] from stoichos = row, line, rank; see word study of stoicheion = elements, basic foundational things like letters of the alphabet) is literally to walk in line, walk in a straight line, proceed in a row, to follow in someone’s footsteps. To keep in rank and file. To march in in file or in battle order. The word was used for movement in a definite line, as in military formation or dancing.
Figuratively stoicheo means to behave properly, to conduct one’s life, to live in conformity with some presumed standard or set of customs (cf Acts 21:24). To live in harmony or agreement with, to live in conformity with (eg, with the Spirit, as in Gal 5:25 - note).
Stoicheo is in the present tense which points to continual and habitual action in the believer's life.
Stoicheo - 5x in 5v - Acts 21:24; Rom 4:12; Gal 5:25; 6:16; Phil 3:16. NAS = follow(1), living(1), walk(2), walk orderly(1).
BDAG writes that stoicheo means…
to be in line with a person or thing considered as standard for one’s conduct
Matthew Poole writes…
let us, or we ought to, walk in obedience to Christ, love to him and each other, according to the light we have already received, trusting he would make known his mind more clearly to us. Our using the light we have well, is the ready way to have more: it behoves us, then, to live suitably to that degree of the knowledge of Christ we have attained, 1 John 2:3–5 but still within our lines, with regard to the same rule. (Matthew Poole's Commentary)
Spurgeon commenting on Php 3:15 says…
Let us keep all the good that we have received; let us not give up the truth that we have learnt; let us not leave the way along which we have traveled so far; and let us keep together, let perfect unanimity prove that the work of grace is going on in one as well as in another.
There are some points upon which we are all agreed. There is some standing-ground where the babe in grace may meet with the man in Christ Jesus. Well, as far as we do see eye to eye, let us co-operate with one another, let us have our hearts knit together in a holy unanimity. “Let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.” There are some people who are always looking out for points of difference; their motto seems to be, “Wherein so ever we differ, let us split away from one another.” Their great idea is that by dividing we shall conquer. The fact is that, by separating ourselves from one another, we shall miss all hope of strength, and play into the hands of the adversaries. (Spurgeon on Philippians)
Attained - Note that this verb is phthano, not the Greek word rendered "attained" (katantao) in Phil 3:12-note.
We have attained (5348) (phthano) originally meant to precede someone, to come before or to anticipate (as used in 1Th 4:15-note). Over time phthano begin to lose the idea of priority and to mean simply to come to or to arrive at. The idea is to come to a particular state or to arrive at a goal and so to attain it. In Mt 12:28 it means to happen to someone.
Phthano pictures progress along a road to a certain point. Paul is thinking of the Philippian saint's progress along the path of Christ-likeness. His idea is, “so far as we have come.”
TDNT says that the…
The LXX uses phthano for a Hebrew term meaning “to show oneself ready,” “to do quickly,” “to accomplish.” In the absolute the word means “to attain,” “to reach,” “to come to.” … In Philo we find the weaker sense “to attain to” or “to come before.” “To come before” is the usual sense in Josephus. (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans)
Phthano - 7x in 7v - Mt 12:28; Luke 11:20; Ro 9:31; 2Cor 10:14; Phil 3:16; 1Th 2:16; 4:15. NAS = arrive(1), attained(1), come(3), first to come(1), precede(1).
Phthano - 20x in the Septuagint (LXX) - Jdg 20:34, 42; 2Sa 20:13; 1Kgs 12:18; 2Chr 28:9; Ezra 3:1; Neh 7:73; Eccl 8:14; 12:1; Song 2:12; Da 4:11, 20, 22, 24, 28; 6:24; 7:13, 22; 8:7; 12:12
Robertson comments that…
Paul means simply this that, having come thus far, the thing to do is to go “in the same path” in which we have been travelling so far. A needed lesson for Christians weary with the monotony of routine in religious life and work.
Vincent explains that Paul is saying in essence…
Whatever real Christian and moral attainment you may have made, let that serve as a rule for your further advance. The character of this standard of attainment is illustrated by the words in Philippians 3:15, be thus minded (KJV), and by those in Php 3:17 (note), as ye have us for an example. The individual variations are not considered. He regards rather the collective development, and assumes the essentials of Christian attainment on the part of his readers.
Richards writes that…
In Php 3:11-16, Paul looks again at the idea of spiritual attainment. He himself has turned his back on his own considerable accomplishments under law. He has tossed them aside and considers them worthless. His goal now is simply to be found in Christ and so to "attain to the resurrection from the dead." (Php 3:10-note) This expression does not refer to the coming physical resurrection but to Paul's present experience of a power for righteous living that can be found only by faith and only as Jesus shares His own resurrection life with the believer (cp Php 3:9-note; Ro 6:8-note, Ro 6:13-note). This experience of power comes as we seek to follow Jesus and put into daily practice whatever level of understanding and maturity we may arrive at (phthano).
The picture that emerges as we connect these passages is an exciting one. God does have a high calling for Christians. But we attain it, not by self-reliant attempts to live by the law, but rather by humble commitment of ourselves to Jesus, asking and believing by faith that he will give us the power to follow him. (Richards, L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)
Eadie commenting on this verse writes that…
The spirit of the warning or injunction is, that knowledge already enjoyed and proved in a spiritual race, should not lie dormant because it is defective. It needed not so much to be rectified, as to be supplemented. Therefore, as far as you have its guidance, take it. Walk up to the light you have, and you will get more. Walk with me so far as you discern the common path, and at the point of divergence God shall rightly direct you as to the subsequent course. He who employs what he has, prepares himself for further gifts. When the morning bursts suddenly on one wakened out of sleep, it dazzles and pains him; but to him who on his journey has blessed the dawn, and walked by its glimmer, the solar radiance brings with it a gradual and cheering influence. (A Commentary on the Greek Text - Online)
THESE words suggest, that there is a great difference in the attainments of Christian people; and in endeavouring to bring this home, so that any who are laggard and sluggard may be quickened in the path of holiness, we may regard this chapter as falling naturally into a suite of some seven apartments, each of which leads to another, as in so many of the picturesque and princely homes of England. May God's Spirit help us to discover in which room we are already, and having discovered it, to press on to the next.
The Disrobing Room. "Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; as touching zeal, persecuting the Church; as touching the righteousness which is in the law, found blameless. Howbeit what things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ" (Phil. 3:5-7). In the grey light of the dawn, we see the young Pharisee, decked out in all the paraphernalia of the dress of his order. His are the phylacteries, his the broad borders covered with texts, his the sacred cord as son of the law, over these the garment of zeal, and over this again a robe that seems spotless--"the righteousness of the law," in which he accounts himself to be blameless. Around the room are burnished mirrors, and as he considers his array in the grey light he imagines himself to be highly commendable and likely to stand a good chance, not only in this world, but in the next. He can only think these things because the light is so dim. Were it brighter, he would descry blemishes in his fairest robes.
The Two Pilgrims. Bunyan well describes such a man in his picture of Ignorance. You may remember how the two older pilgrims talked to the brisk youth as he walked beside them. They asked," How will you fare at the gate?"
"I shall fare as well as other people," was the reply.
"What have you to show that will cause the gate to open, when you come to it?" they inquired.
"I know my Lord's will; I have been a good liver all my life; I pay every man his own; I pray constantly and fast; I pay and give alms; my heart is a good heart; I will never believe that it is as bad as you say."
Bunyan's Own Experience. In his Grace Abounding John Bunyan still further describes this condition:
"Now," he says after his outward amendment, "I was become godly; now I was become a right honest man. Though as yet I was nothing but a poor painted hypocrite, yet I was proud of my godliness. I betook me to my Bible, and began to take great pleasure in reading, but especially with the historical part thereof; for as for Paul's Epistles, and such like Scriptures, I could not away with them, being as yet ignorant either of the corruptions of my nature or of the want and worth of Jesus Christ to save us." "The new birth did never enter into my mind; neither knew I the comfort of the word and promise, nor the deceitfulness and treachery of my own wicked heart. As for secret thoughts, I took no notice of them."
Legal Righteousness Laid Aside. Whilst we stand gazing into this room, the grey light grows into the morning, and beneath its beams the young Pharisee, beholding himself in the mirrors around, flings off first the blameless robe of his legal righteousness, then strips off his zeal, then casts away his Pharisaic dress, puts aside his reliance upon the ordinances of Hebrewism. After stripping off one thing after another, as the revealing light shows how utterly sullied and blemished his robes are, he tramples them beneath his feet, and counts them as refuse and loss. He is horrified to think that if he had not known the light which came from the risen Lord, he might have gone forward to face the Great White Throne, and only then have discovered his mistake.
Have you entered this room? Have you stood beneath the light of God till you abhorred yourself? Have you come to see, with St. Augustine, that the works in which you have been priding yourself are "splendid sins"? Do you realise that, apart from the righteousness of Jesus Christ, your righteousness is as filthy rags? Oh, soul, thou wilt be as certainly lost as Ignorance was, who was carried to hell from the very gate of heaven, unless thou too standest in the revealing light of God, to show thee the insufficiency of anything and everything apart from a simple dependence upon the righteousness of His Son.
The Robing Room. "And be found in Him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Phil. 3:9). "One day," says Bunyan, "as I was passing into the field, and that too with some fear dashed on my conscience, fearing lest yet all was not right, suddenly, this sentence fell upon my soul, 'Thy righteousness is in Heaven,' and methought withal, I saw with the eyes of my soul, Jesus Christ at God's right hand: there was my righteousness; I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame of heart that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ Himself, 'The same yesterday, to-day, and for ever'."
In this, the robing room, the soul which had been stripped of all dependence upon itself, its frames, its feelings, its good desires, its alms, its prayers, its baptism, its conversion, its church membership, and having put all these beneath its feet, receives from the hand of God a perfected righteousness, the righteousness which is from God by faith, a robe which the fingers of Christ have woven, a justification which His blood has purchased, and which His hand bestows to the open hand of faith.
Hast thou realised this? Hast thou attained unto this? Art thou standing arrayed in this?--for in death, and judgment, and eternity, nothing will avail thee but to be clothed in the perfect spotless righteousness of Christ, who was made sin for us, though He knew no sin, that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Him.
The Room of Intimate Fellowship with Jesus. "That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, becoming conformed unto His death" (Phil. 3:10). As we look into that chamber, we find that hard by the entrance is a deep grave-like aperture. It looks as though a tomb had been hollowed out in the stone floor; beyond is a table on which the bread and wine commemorate the body and blood of Christ; against the wall a rough and heavy cross is planted; affixed to the wall are a scourge, and a crown of thorns. The room, therefore, might seem forbidding, were it not that a celestial light shines full upon the thorn-crown, and whilst we look, it seems as though it were gleaming with jewels, as though the topaz, jasper, carbuncle, and all manner of precious stones had been caught amid the thorns, and become woven into its texture. Every day the true-hearted soul must enter that room. We must never really get beyond it in this life. It must constantly be our resort, that we may know Christ and the power of His Resurrection.
The order of this verse appears to stand in the reverse direction to our experience. It begins with knowing Him; then it passes to the power of His resurrection, then to the fellowship of His sufferings, and lastly, to conformableness with His death.
Conformable to the Lord's Death. With many, the reverse is the way by which they are led. That is, they begin by being "conformable to His death." Do you know what it is to lie down in that grave of Christ, till the voices of the world's tumult and the throb of passion subside, till you realise how little this world is, and how much eternity? Have you attained to this? Have you become conformed unto His death? What was that death? In its judicial aspect, an atonement for human sin; but looking at it from the human and personal side it was the bringing of every natural desire into absolute subjection to the Will and Law of God--the desire to live, the desire for love, the desire for popular adulation, and human friendship. From the earliest of His recorded temptations, our Lord made this the rule of His Life. He would not gratify the natural appetite of hunger until He was certain of being in the line of His Father's Will. This is what the Cross means, and this involved Calvary. If, then, our Master would not make stones of the desert bread, to feed His natural hunger, because the Father had not bade Him eat, we may not yield, even to what seems natural, until our Father says we may. And if we carry out that principle of subordinating everything to the will of the Father, we shall certainly come to the Cross, and out of the Cross comes the diadem of victory. You conform to His death, you eat of His flesh, you drink of His blood, and then pass on to know the power of His resurrection.
But as we have seen, the reverse is also true, and happy are they who have experienced it. They begin by knowing Jesus in the most intimate and blessed fellowship, and almost without realising it they are led on to realise that they are walking with Him, not in the energy of their own nature, but in the powers of His Resurrection. The Spirit of Holiness, who raised their Lord from the dead, is doing the same for them, they experience the mighty energies that emanate from the risen Saviour, and in His strength walk on their high places. But in doing so, they are brought in contact with the virulent hatred of their fellows. As men hated the Master of the House, they hate those of His household. The full tide of human opposition surges up against them, as an adverse current which breaks in clouds of spray on the undaunted progress of an ocean steamer. Presently the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless abyss makes war against them, and overcomes and kills them, and their dead bodies lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified; but after three days and an half the Spirit of Life from God enters into them, and they stand upon their feet, and they hear a great voice from heaven saying unto them, "Come up hither." (See Rev. 11:6-12.) They know the fellowship of Christ's sufferings, and are made conformable unto His death, but they attain to His Resurrection. They drink of His cup, and are baptised with His Baptism, and so come to sit on His Throne.
The Room of High Endeavour. "Brethren, I count not myself yet to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal, unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13-14). In this room are various pictures of Alpine ascents, photographs of the high summits which other souls have scaled. Around are the prizes that have been won in the arena by successful conflict. On every side are the marks of achievement; and in the midst of the room, unfurled as though it were soon to be grasped and borne forth, is a banner with the "strange device," Excelsior! Everything, therefore, that betokens past achievement is accounted but as the stepping-stone to still further effort. The soul leaves behind it as a mere memory, the things which it has attained, however great and beautiful in themselves, because some higher ascent calls to it. Is this the attitude of your soul?
Have You Forgotten Some Things? Have you learnt to forget? Are you living upon your past attempts, their failure, or success? for any of these will cut the sinews of your strength. You must forget even your sins, God forgets them, saying, Try again. You must forget your innocence, the innocence of your childhood; purity tried by fire is better. You must forget, also, your realised ideals. You must forget things which have become dear to you, but which have hindered you, clinging to you as barnacles to the bottom of the great steamer, hindering its progress. You must forget all that, and from this day must confess that you have not attained, that you are not perfected, but are going to climb to the rare heights of Christ-likeness; always doing what Christ would do, if He were in your place; always taking as the sufficient question of your life, "What would Jesus do if He were situated as I am?"
The Room of Compassion. "Many walk, of whom I told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the Cross of Christ: whose end is perdition, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame" (Phil. 3:18-19). There is a tear bottle here, in which the tears of Christ were caught once, though long since they have been transmuted into the pearls that glisten in His crown. But that tear bottle is there for the tears of those disciples who have learnt His compassion; for as the Redeemer wept, so do His redeemed weep still, and say, even weeping, of others, "They are the enemies of the Cross of Christ." May that compassion, like a fountain, send the tears in rills from our eyes. God forbid that we should live in such a world as this, without weeping over the enemies of the Cross; and it should be borne in mind that the enemies of the Cross, here referred to, are not those who have rejected Christ, but those who once professed Christianity, and had the creed and reputation of godliness, but in their heart of hearts, and in their lives, have denied the Lord that bought them.
The Room of Expectant Hope. "Our citizenship is in Heaven; from whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil. 3:20). This room has a window looking East; and it is so situated that it is hardly possible to descry the river; for the view lies across the river, to a fair and beautiful horizon; and the soul which has passed through the earlier stages, stands with eye fixed, and every nerve and muscle strained, looking for the dawn, whilst the morning star shines clear in the sky. "We look for a Saviour." It is the saved soul that waits for the Saviour. We are saved from the wrath of God; we are being saved day by day from the power of sin; but, oh, we long for Him who shall appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation!
The Room of Confident Anticipation. "Who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of His glory, according to the working whereby He is able even to subject all things unto Himself" (Phil. 3:21). To subject. Look at this. He who in the second chapter was subjected, in this chapter subjects. You must be subjected before you can subject.
(1) We confidently anticipate the moment when the body of our humiliation, which has so often limited and hindered us in our work, which has hungered and thirsted, fainted and grown weary, whose eyes have failed, whose knees have faltered, and hands hung down, shall exchange its corruption for incorruption, its mortality for immortality, being transfigured into the likeness of the body of His glory----ethereal, vigorous, incapable of fatigue but a perfected instrument for a perfected nature.
(2) We anticipate much more than that. Death, thou shalt be subdued. Grave, thou shalt be subdued. Sin, sorrow, pain, evil, ye shall be subdued. The Lord comes to subdue you as we confidently expect. This room enshrines masterpieces of art, commemorating the great past. That picture is of the overthrow of Pharaoh; and that of the destruction of Midian; and that of the defeat of those mighty Assyrian hosts which menaced Hezekiah; and here are the cross and empty grave--symbols of the victory of the Son of God over the world, the flesh, and the devil. Yes! He shall overcome; it is His right. He shall subject all things unto Himself; it is the Father's promise. The kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our God, and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever. Let us hasten unto the coming of that day of God! (F. B. Meyer. The Epistle to the Philippians - A Devotional Commentary)