WHOSE END IS
DESTRUCTION: on to telos apoleia: (Mt 25:41; Lk 12:45,46; 2Cor
11:15; 2Th 2:8,12; Hebrews 6:6, 7, 8 - note;
2Pet 2:17 - note;
Jude 1:4,13; Rev 19:20
(telos from tello =to set out for a definite point or
goal) is the culmination or the outcome of a growth or development
representing an attained objective. Telos is never used in NT
as a chronological end, as if something simply stops. Instead,
telos speaks of a consummation, a goal achieved, a result
attained, or a realization. Telos is the result of an event or
process with special focus upon the final state or condition -
outcome, result. Telos speaks of the "final curtain" or the ultimate
destiny for these libertines.
from apo = marker of separation, away from + olethros =
ruin, death but not annihilation <> from ollumi = to
destroy) means utter and hopeless loss of all that gives worth to
existence. Note that contrary to popular opinion
apoleia does not refer to extinction or annihilation or an end
of existence, but to total ruin so far as the purpose of existence is
Apoleia in one sense means
the destruction that one causes as the result of disregard for the
value of that which is destroyed or "wasted" (see Matthew 26:8, Mark
The more common sense of apoleia
is as a description of the destruction which one experiences,
when man instead of becoming what he might have become by redemption
through the blood of Christ (new creature/creation in Christ - 2 Cor
5:17), is ruined ("spiritually bankrupt", in a state of "eternal
disrepair") suffering loss of value or usefulness (ultimately
usefulness to God - this is sad beyond words and even as I write this
note tears well up in my eyes for the plight of these men and women,
created in the image of God.) Think of the picture of a once beautiful
edifice which has suffered the ravages of time and circumstances and
all that one sees is the useless, collapsed, disintegrated remains.
In short, apoleia speaks of
the loss of everything that makes human existence worthwhile. The idea
not loss of being, but loss of well-being.
And so in this sense apoleia
describes utter ruin, complete loss and is used especially of the
eternal "destruction" (the second death -
see chart below)
visited on the ungodly. It is the wasteful end of earthly existence
with no chance for a fulfilling future existence. Note however that there is a sense that the
ungodly have "wasted" their one life on earth. What a tragic picture
irregardless of how much wealth, pleasure or power they might have
experienced while they were alive.
There are 13 uses of apoleia
in the NT...
Matthew 7:13 (note)
urgent need - do this now and do it effectively! Don't put off your
decision to believe in Christ one more second!) by the narrow gate
(the way, the truth, the life - [Jn 14:6] Christ Jesus, the only Door
[Jn 10:9] through which one can enter into the Kingdom of God); (Why
is one's entrance through this narrow, exacting, strait gate, which
has such strict requirements related to entrance?) for (Here is Jesus'
answer) the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to
destruction, and many are those who enter by it.
Matthew 26:8 But the disciples were indignant when they saw
this, and said, "Why this waste? (What did they think was a
waste? A woman pouring very costly perfume upon Jesus' head,
anointing the King of kings!)?
Mark 14:4 But some were indignantly remarking to one another,
"Why has this perfume been wasted?
John 17:12 "While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy
name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them
perished (apollumi = verb related to apoleia) but the son of
perdition (Judas Iscariot) that the Scripture might be
Acts 8:20 But Peter said to him (Simon who "believed" - an
intellectual, head belief, not a genuine, heart belief productive of
true salvation as shown by Peter's declaration!), "May your silver
perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of
God with money!
Romans 9:22 (note)
What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His
power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for
Philippians 1:28 (note)
in no way alarmed by your opponents-- which is a sign of destruction
for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.
Philippians 3:19 (note)
whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory
is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it
will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of
lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, (referring to
1 Timothy 6:9 But those who want to get rich fall into
temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which
plunge men into ruin (olethros) and destruction (apoleia).
Hebrews 10:39 (note)
But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those
who have faith to the preserving of the soul.
Comment: Kenneth Wuest
writes that in this verse apoleia means "“utter destruction,”
and in this context means “the destruction which consists in the loss
of eternal life; eternal misery, perdition,” which is the lot of those
who would renounce their professed faith in Messiah as High Priest and
return to a dependence upon the abrogated sacrifices for salvation.
The Word of God is very clear in its statements to the effect that a
person once saved can never be lost. Therefore, this person who draws
back to perdition must be an unsaved person.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans
2 Peter 2:1 (note) But
false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be
false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive
heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift
destruction upon themselves.
2 Peter 2:3 (note)
and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their
judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not
2 Peter 3:7 (note)
But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for
fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly
2 Peter 3:16 (note)
as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which
are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable
distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own
Revelation 17:8 (note)
"The beast that you saw was and is not, and is about to come up out of
the abyss and to go to destruction. (apoleia - eternal
destruction, the Lake of fire - see notes
Revelation 19:20) And those
who dwell on the earth will wonder, whose name has not been written in
the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they see the
beast, that he was and is not and will come.
Revelation 17:11 (note)
"And the beast which was and is not, is himself also an
eighth, and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction.
chart is taken from Tony Garland's excellent treatise on the
Births, Deaths, and Resurrections).
He writes that...
Scripture knows of two births, two
deaths, and two resurrections. Everyone is physically born once. Those
who do not undergo the second birth, the spiritual birth, also undergo
the second death which is the permanent separation from God with
Participation in Births,
Deaths, and Resurrections
The first birth is physical
birth. The second birth is spiritual and occurs when a person
comes to faith in Jesus Christ. (note
Only believers are “born twice.”
The first death occurs at the
end of one’s physical life.
The first resurrection
is a category and occurs in stages, beginning with the
resurrection of Christ (1Cor. 15:20) and ending with the
resurrection just prior to the
Only believers participate in the first resurrection.
Order of Resurrection.
The second resurrection
occurs at the end of the at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev
13). Only unbelievers participate in the second
Resurrections - "First" and "Second" - on a timeline
The second death is after the
Millennium and the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation
As there is eternal life beyond this present life for the
faithful, so there is eternal death beyond the death of the
second death is commonly known as hell. (note
When a person is born again
(John 3:3-7; 1Pe. 1:23; 1Jn. 2:29; 3:9; 5:1, 18), he will only undergo
the first death, but the second death has no power over him:
“though he may die [the first death], he shall live
[be resurrected never to face the second death]” (John 11:25b).
for the foregoing chart...
15:24, 32; John 3:3, 7; Gal. 6:15; 1Pe. 1:3, 23; 1Jn. 2:29; 3:9; 5:1,
2 “The order of events in the resurrection
program would be:
(1) the resurrection of Christ as the beginning of
the resurrection program (1Cor. 15:23);
(2) the resurrection of the
church age saints at the rapture (1Th. 4:16);
(3) the resurrection of
the tribulation period saints (Rev. 20:3-5), together with
resurrection of Old Testament saints (Dan. 12:2; Isa. 26:19) at the
second advent of Christ to the earth; and finally
(5) the final
resurrection of the unsaved dead [the second resurrection] (Rev.
20:5, 11-14) at the end of the millennial age.
The first four stages
would all be included in the first resurrection.”—J. Dwight Pentecost,
Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology (Grand Rapids, MI:
Zondervan Publishing House, 1958), 411. (See also
The Two Resurrections -
First and Second)
3 “As there is a life beyond this present life
for the faithful, so a death beyond the death which falls under our
eye for the wicked.”—Richard Chenevix Trench, Commentary on the
Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock
Publishers, 1861), 111.
4 The King James Version translates both Hades
and Gehenna—the Lake of Fire—as hell. They are actually two
different places. The final destiny of the unsaved is the latter, an
existence of eternal punishment: “ ‘Vita damnatorum mors est,’
[death is a life of punishment] is the fearful gloss of
Augustine.”—Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches
in Asia, 111.
Dwight Pentecost emphasizes
Destruction in Scripture
does not refer to annihilation. The godless man who passes out of this
life does not slip into eternal unconsciousness. Scripture knows
nothing of a doctrine of annihilation, where after death a godless man
simply ceases to exist. When God created man, God gave to man a living
soul, and the life given to the creature was permanent life. That life
does not terminate at physical death. It continues. Destruction,
then, does not have to do with annihilation, forgetfulness, a state of
nonexistence. Destruction has to do with separation from God.
This word conveys the idea of a continued existence in a state of
separation from the Creator. Those who deny the centrality of the
cross of Christ and who do not submit to the Christ of the cross are
without a bridge between the sinner and God. They are separated from
God, under condemnation, under divine judgment. They are destined to a
state of perpetual and eternal separation from God. The apostle says
that these false teachers who have come into this assembly are
propagating a devilish doctrine that comes out of the pit; those who
give themselves to this doctrine reveal that they are fitted for
separation from God in the pit. (Pentecost,
J. D. The Joy of Living: A Study of Philippians. Kregel Publications)
WHOSE GOD IS
on o theos e koilia: (Php 2:21
1Sa 2:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16,29;
Isa 56:10, 11, 12; Ezek 13:19; 34:3; Mic 3:5,11; Mal 1:12; Lk 12:19;
1Ti 6:5; 2Ti 3:4
from koílos = hollow) means the belly of man, the bowels, as the
receptacle of food, and so a reference to the stomach. Figuratively it
speaks of appetite. Their "god" is their stomach or belly!
In other words, their God does not reside in the heavens but in their
body. They live only for the temporal pleasures of and their lives are
enslaved to the gratification of the lusts of their flesh.
Koilia -22x in 21v - Matt
12:40; 15:17; 19:12; Mark 7:19; Luke 1:15, 41f, 44; 2:21; 11:27;
23:29; John 3:4; 7:38; Acts 3:2; 14:8; Rom 16:18; 1 Cor 6:13; Gal
1:15; Phil 3:19; Rev 10:9f. NAS = appetite(1), appetites(1),
belly(1), innermost being(1), stomach(7), womb(11), wombs(1).
Robertson rightly says
Sensuality in food, drink, sex then
as now mastered some men. These men posed as Christians and gloried in
The highest good in life to
these men is to satisfy self, to do what pleases self, in direct
rebellion to the Word of God, the holiness of God and even the inner
conviction of their own consciences. They are is guided only by that
which satisfies and pleases self.
Steven Cole writes
they live for selfish and sensual
pleasures, rather than denying self in order to live for Christ. The
Bible does not promote asceticism, the self-imposed denial of all
pleasure as a means of purifying oneself and getting right with God.
Rather, it teaches that God has richly supplied us with all things to
enjoy (1Ti 6:17). But if we remove God from the center as the chief
object of our joy and replace it with some earthly pleasure, we are
guilty of idolatry. (Philippians
As Paul explains, a man’s god is
that to which he gives himself and which thereby becomes the
determining factor in his life. What we tend to think about
predominantly and what we get excited about when talking tells us what
or who is our "god". When a man gives himself to satisfy his own
appetites apart from any restraint, he has made a god out of those
appetites. In short, these men Paul is describing are primarily
concerned about eating, drinking, sex, and fulfilling bodily
appetites, rather than knowing Christ and making Him known.
In Romans Paul refuted Paul the
philosophy which says that highest good in a man’s life is to satisfy
himself explaining that...
the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and
peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Ro 14:17-note)
Although some commentators feel
these wicked men are "Judaizers", Kenneth Wuest sums up this section
The individuals spoken of in these
verses are not Judaizers but professed Christian Greeks of Epicurean
article on Epicureans).
The Epicureans represented a Greek school of philosophy which taught
that the satisfaction of the physical appetites was the highest aim of
man. They had allowed their Christian liberty to degenerate into
license (Gal. 5:13 = "For you were called to freedom, brethren; only
do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but
through love serve one another."). They did not understand God’s grace
and thus thought lightly of continuing in sin (Ro 6:1-note,
They were engrossed only in self-indulgence (Ro 16:18-note).
A swing away from legalism would land such a person into anti-nomianism,
namely, lawlessness. Paul, acquainted with the Greek classics, writing
to Greeks who knew their own literature speaks of these as having
their belly as their God. He probably was thinking of the Cyclops in
Euripides who says, “My flocks which I sacrifice to no one but myself,
and not to the gods, and to this my belly, the greatest of the gods:
for to eat and drink each day, and to give one’s self no trouble, this
is the god of wise men.”
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in
the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
A T Robertson writes
The comic poet Eupolis uses the
rare word Koiliodaimōn for one who makes a god of his
belly and Seneca speaks of one who abdomini servit. Sensuality in
food, drink, sex then as now mastered some men. These men posed as
Christians and gloried in their shame.
GLORY IS IN THEIR SHAME: kai e doxa en te aischune auton:
(Ps 52:1; Hos 4:7; Hab 2:15,16; Lk 18:4; 1Cor 5:2,6; 2Cor 11:12; Gal
6:13; Jas 4:16; 2Pe 2:18,19- note;
Jude 1:13,16; Rev 18:7
The Phillips paraphrase picks up the
their pride is in what they should
be ashamed of
These men actually find great
glory in what should cause them great shame!
Pastor Steven Cole writes
They boasted in their supposed
“freedom,” when in reality they were slaves to their lusts. Many
well-known Christians today glory in things they should be ashamed of,
writing books and appearing on TV talk shows to tell titillating
stories about their sinful “addictions.” (Philippians
John Newton the once
notorious slave trader wrote a poem that alluded to glorying in
In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopp’d my wild career:
I saw One hanging on a Tree
In agonies and blood,
Who fix’d His languid eyes on me.
As near His Cross I stood.
To a great degree glorying in
shame is an apt description of post-Christian America, James
Dobson writing that...
out-of-wedlock pregnancy was a matter of shame. When it
happened, couples often did a quaint thing—they got married, so that
the child would have a name and the influence of a father. Girls who
“slept around” were often ostracized by their fellow students. A
pregnant teenage was sent away to have the child rather than risk the
censure of the community.
In 1990, one out of five babies born in America was conceived out of
wedlock. In Washington, D.C., illegitimacy was an alarming 55 percent!
In many schools, the virtuous girl was considered odd, and was
subjected to the same scorn and ridicule once reserved for the
“easy” date 30 years earlier. Surveys revealed that many of our sons
and daughters were embarrassed to admit their virginity.
We see a picture that parallels
glorying in shame in Ephesians where Paul described the pagan
(Gentiles), having become callous (past feeling, insensitive to
pain and in context figuratively meaning insensitive to shame), have
given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of
impurity with greediness. (see note
The Greek word for callous is apalgeo which gives us our
English word "analgesic" meaning that which takes away pain, which can
sometimes be a protective mechanism causing the body to retract from
danger, such as a scalding stove. These men in Philippians had become
numb to the value of shame. The following illustration shows the
"power of shame"...
relates the story of a soldier in World War I who was so distraught
with the war that he deserted. He tried to find his way to the coast
so he could catch a boat and make his way back incognito to his
homeland in England.
In the darkness of the night he stumbled on a road sign. It was so
pitch black and he was so lost. He had no idea where he was or what
the sign said. He decided to climb the pole. When he got to the
crossbeam, he held on to read the sign. Taking out a match, he lit it,
and looked directly in the face of Jesus Christ. He had climbed an
Stunned by what he saw, he realized the shame of his life. He was
looking into the face of the One who had endured it all and had never
turned back (and Who Hebrews says endured "despising the shame"
because He was sinless unlike fallen men - He 12:2-note).
The next morning the soldier was back in the trenches. (Swindoll, C.
R. The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 other stories)
None Other Lamb
Lamb, none other Name,
None other Hope in heaven or earth or sea,
None other Hiding-place from guilt and shame,
None beside Thee.
My faith burns low, my hope burns low
Only my heart’s desire cries out in me
By the deep thunder of its want and woe
Cries out to Thee.
Lord, Thou art Life tho’ I be dead,
Love’s Fire Thou art, however cold I be:
Nor heaven have I, nor place to lay my head,
No home, but Thee.
-- Christina Rossetti
(aischune from aíschos = shame) means
disgrace (loss of reputation as the result of a dishonorable action)
or ignominy (a deep personal humiliation). Aischune describes
shame resulting from exposure of one’s weaknesses or sins. It
is not a feeling one has but an experience which comes to someone.
Since shame describes a
sensitivity respecting possibility of dishonor, it is clear these men
have advanced to a deep state of depravity.
In the Bible shame most
frequently, it denotes the guilt a person feels or should feel for
having sinned against God.
NIDNTT notes that in
classic Greek (aischuno is the related verb form)...
The root aisch- refers
originally to that which is ugly and disgraceful. Aischuno
(Homer onwards) thus meant originally to disfigure, make ugly. It is
found in Greek literature almost exclusively in the mid. or pass. with
the meaning to feel shame, be ashamed, or to be confounded, be
disconcerted. epaischunomai (Aesch. onwards) is a strengthened
form of the mid., and kataischuno (Homer onwards) of the act. and
pass. meanings of aischuno. The noun aischune (Aesch.) is
derived from aischunesthai, and originally carried the meaning of to
aischunesthai, the fact of being ashamed, or of being confounded.
aischune has the subjective sense of modesty, understood as fear of
what is aischron, ugly (Aristoxenos, Fragment 42a); and the objective
sense of shame, that which results from an aischron, shameful deed (Diod.
Sic. 2, 23, 2). In contrast to aidos with its religious
reference to the gods, aischune is primarily a sociological
concept: shame exposes one to the ridicule of society, which one tries
to escape by being ashamed.
TDNT writes that...
The main point of aischune
is not “feeling of shame” but “disgrace,” i.e., the shame brought by
divine judgment, though sometimes with a stress on “being ashamed.”
Accordingly, the substantive
aischune is very seldom used for the “feeling of shame.” It
mostly denotes “disgrace,” though sometimes with an emphasis on the
fact that this also means being ashamed. Its primary reference is to
the shame brought by the divine judgment.
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the
New Testament. Eerdmans)
Shame is a painful
emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety
or an awareness of having done something dishonorable, unworthy,
degrading, etc. Shame is a feeling of humiliation or distress
caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour.
What Paul is saying in essence
is that the consciences of these men are so dull and insensitive that
they actually find delight in their sins. When a sinner's wretched
conduct before God is the basis for his self exultation, he has fallen
to the most extreme level of wickedness! These men delighted in their
liberty and permitted no restraint to hinder their evil appetites.
MacArthur puts it this
This is the most extreme form of
wickedness—when the sinner’s most wretched conduct before God is his
highest point of self-exaltation.
J. Philippians. Chicago: Moody Press
Remember the shame of sin when
tempted by the sweet of sin.
Sin and shame came in both
together. - Christopher Nesse
Sin has the devil for its father,
shame for its companion and death for its wages. - Thomas
In terms of sheer numbers, using
the King James Version, the words shame, ashamed, and
their derivatives far outdo guilt and guilty. The former
are mentioned 224 times in the Bible, and the latter 23 times.
Goods are not good unless we do
good with them
and not to use the same,
Is not our glory, but our shame." (Spurgeon)
Spurgeon notes that...
silly pig that's proud of its ring. That ring in the nose, which
proves him to be a doer of mischief, the foolish pig is supposed to
prize as an ornament. There are men who glory in their shame.
Thomas Boston rightly
man's heart is where his feet should be, fixed upon earth; his heels
are lifted up against heaven, which his heart should be set on.
His face is
towards hell; his back towards heaven.
what he should hate, and hates what he should love; joys in what he
ought to mourn for, and mourns for what he ought to rejoice in;
glories in his shame, and is ashamed of his glory; abhors what he
should desire, and desires what he should abhor.
Here are the 6 NT uses of
14:9 and he who invited you both shall come and say to you, 'Give
place to this man,' and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy
the last place.
2 Corinthians 4:2 but we have renounced the things hidden
because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the
word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to
every man's conscience in the sight of God.
Philippians 3:19 (note)
whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory
is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.
Hebrews 12:2 (note)
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for
the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame,
and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jude 1:13 wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame
like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been
Revelation 3:18 (note)
I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become
rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the
shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to
anoint your eyes, that you may see.
There are 52 uses of aischune
in the non-apocryphal
- (1 Sa 20:30; 2 Sa
23:7; 1 Ki. 18:19, 25; 2 Ki. 8:11; 2 Chr. 32:21; Ezr. 9:7; Job 6:20;
8:22; Ps. 35:26; 40:15; 44:15; 69:19; 71:13; 89:45; 109:29; 132:18;
Prov. 9:13; 19:13; 26:11; Isa. 3:9; 19:9; 20:4; 30:3, 5f; 42:17;
45:16; 47:3, 10; 50:6; 54:4; Jer. 2:26; 3:24f; 20:18; 31:19; Ezek.
7:18; 16:36f; 22:10; 23:10, 18, 29; Dan. 9:7f; 12:2; Hos. 9:10; Obad
1:10; Mic. 7:10; Nah. 3:5; Hab. 2:10)
40:15 Let those be appalled because of their shame Who say to me,
"Aha, aha!" (Comment: This is the reaction that shame should
bring, but not so in the hearts of these men given over to their belly
NIDNTT comments that in
in the body is the most primitive expression of the feeling of
guilt... This disturbance results from an act of disobedience against
Yahweh, and man reacts to the objective loss of innocence, and the
innermost disturbance of his relationship with God, by the feeling of
Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986.
THEIR MINDS ON EARTHLY THINGS: hoi ta epigeia phronountes (PAPMPN):
(Ps 4:6,7; 17:14; Mt 16:23; Ro 8:5, 6, 7 - note;
2 Pet 2:3 - note)
Men whose whole minds are
this world is the limit of their
Steven Cole writes
One form this takes in our day is
our emphasis on how Christ can make you happy in the here and now. He
can give you peace, joy, and a happy marriage. He can solve all your
problems. So people come to Jesus and find out that they have trials
and persecutions, as the Bible clearly promises, so they bail out.
Obviously, we all have earthly things that consume our time and
energy: jobs, bills to pay, houses to maintain, family problems,
health problems, etc. But the point is, the true Christian does not
put earthly comfort and happiness at the center of his life. We should
put Christ and our hope of being with Him in heaven at the center, and
that enables us to deal properly with the earthly problems we all
encounter. Setting our minds on Christ and the things above is the key
to dealing with sin and relational problems (Col 3:1-17).
So, Paul’s point is that as
citizens of heaven, Christians are not to live as citizens of this
earth, who are enemies of the cross of Christ, who are headed for
eternal destruction, who live for the things of this earth. Remember,
these people were in the church, making a profession of knowing
Christ, but they were not truly converted to Christ.
Two practical applications before
we move on:
(1) Don’t be turned from the truth
of the gospel because of the presence of hypocrites in the church.
Just because there are counterfeit dollar bills doesn’t mean that you
give up earning and spending money. There are counterfeits because the
real thing is worth imitating. Satan has always made sure that there
are counterfeit Christians who talk as if they’re true believers, but
whose lives belie that fact. But the existence of hypocrites does not
deny the reality of the truth. Even true Christians will disappoint
you, because as we saw last week, they’re all in process, which means,
they still sin. But Christianity centers on the person of Jesus
Christ, not on Christians.
(2) Deeds are a more certain
evidence of what people truly are than their words. Jesus said that we
can spot false prophets, wolves in sheep’s clothing, by their fruit or
deeds (Matt. 7:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20-see
notes). Paul warned of
those who “profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him,
being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed”
(Titus 1:16-note). Again, this does not mean that believers are sinless.
But, if a true believer sins, he will make it right by confessing that
sin, asking forgiveness, and seeking to rectify the problem. Look at
the walk, not the words.
3:17-4:1 Right & Wrong Way to Live)
Set their mind (5426)
from phren = mind) means to
set one's mind or heart upon something -- it denotes the whole action
of the affections and will as well as the reason. Phroneo refers to
the basic orientation, bent, and thought patterns of the mind, rather
than to the mind or intellect itself. The
activity represented by this word involves the will, affections, and
conscience. mentally disposed more or less earnestly in a certain
tense indicates as their lifestyle
continually make the choice to chose the earthly and temporal rather than the
heavenly and eternal (see the diametrically opposite attitude called
for in the godly - see notes
3:2). When you see those with this mindset, you need
to be very wary of associating with them!
And so Paul summarizes the root
problem of the "Cross haters", explaining that their minds are fully
set on the things of this earth and their entire lives are oriented
towards the things of earth to fulfill their needs (self focused
rather than Savior focused!) Among their least favorite verses are
those like Jesus' charge in Mark (et al)...
And He summoned the multitude with
His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me,
let him deny
urgent need - do this now and do it effectively!) himself ("let him
disown himself" - Young's Literal), and
urgent need - do this now and do it effectively!) his cross, and
imperative = this
is the lifestyle of a "Jesus follower") Me. (Mark 8:34)
Paul has a parallel description
in Romans 8 regarding individuals who habitually walk according to
the flesh (see note
Romans 8:4) explaining that...
those who are according to the
flesh set their minds (same verb phroneo in the
= continually) on the things of the flesh, but those who are according
to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh
is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because
the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not
continually refuses "line up under") itself to the law of God,
for it is not even able (does not have the inherent power or ability)
to do so (see note
Dwight Pentecost explains
By this the apostle means they have
accepted the standards of a godless world and make those standards
their standards. As long as society approves, they conclude that a
holy God will approve. Instead of setting their course according to
the revelation of the holiness of God given in His Word, they do as
the Romans do. Paul often refers to unsaved men as dogs. He does so to
show that those outside of Jesus Christ have the ethics and morals of
animals. They basically live as animals. When a man accepts the moral
standards of an animal, he can never conform to the holiness and
righteousness of God. This tendency is pervading the Philippian
church. With no difficulty at all, they conform to the standards of
the world around them, and they are at ease because the world
J. D. The Joy of Living: A study of Philippians. Kregel Publications)