Philippians Week #9 – Notes for Church

 

Philippians 3:12-16

 

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained

 

JESUS HAS MADE ME HIS OWN. Quite similar to Philippians 2:12–13 (“work out your own salvation … for it is God who works in you”) Paul writes in 3:12–13, “I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” Both passages stress the complementary truths of human responsibility and divine sovereignty. What is unique about 3:12–13, however, is the personal, even intimate, tone: “Jesus has made me his own.” Whether in initial grace or in ongoing sanctification, the reality is not simply that God works (or draws, or changes, or grows, or purifies—all good and important!), but that Jesus is making us his own. He is powerfully at work in us because he has taken us as his own. This should daily energize us, as it did Paul, to “press on to make it my own,” even “straining forward” to Christ and Christlikeness (Phil. 3:12–14).

 

FROM LOWLINESS TO GLORY. Paul ends this chapter by rejoicing that when Jesus returns he “will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (v. 21). The path from lowliness to glory is a well-trodden one by this point in Philippians. The supreme example is that of Christ in his incarnation and crucifixion, leading to his resurrection and exaltation (2:5–11). Similarly, Paul’s life being “poured out as a drink offering” (in execution) is something to “rejoice” in since it will demonstrate, at the “day of Christ,” that he “did not run in vain” (vv. 16–17). Epaphroditus, too, was “near to death” (v. 27) because of his service to Paul on the Philippians’ behalf. God rescued him from life-threatening sickness; thus, the church should “honor” him (v. 29). Paul, again in chapter 3, recounts his great “loss” for the sake of Christ (vv. 4–8)—a passage that ends with his expectation and longing to “attain the resurrection from the dead” (v. 11). So, too, 3:21 treks that path between present lowliness (“our lowly body”) and future glory (“transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body”). All put together, it is clear that Paul is making an important point!

 

Kelly, R. (2014). Philippians, A 12-Week Study. (J. I. Packer, D. C. Ortlund, & L. T. Dennis, Eds.) (pp. 71–72). Wheaton, IL: Crossway.

 

Paul’s Big Idea: Paul draws attention to the positive thing he does (in contrast to the two negative counterpoints of 3:12). He uses the Greek equivalent of saying, “Hey, guess what!” or “Get this!” In both cases, there is a reference ahead to some concept that is yet to be introduced. Doing this does two things: it adds an extra reference to the idea, and it delays the introduction of it with the extra reference.

 

Thing One, Thing Two: Paul introduces his big idea in a specific context, set up at the end of 3:13. He does so in two parts. The first part involves letting go of the past. The way this is phrased in Greek, the original audience would have expected some related element was coming before they even finished reading or hearing the first one. It’s the same kind of strategy that shippers use when they label boxes: “Box 1 of 2.” If they didn’t do this, we would only expect one box. The Greek word is usually left untranslated since there is no good English counterpart. Paul uses the word so that the Philippians would expect that more was coming, even before they hear about letting go of the past.

 

On the Harshness Scale: In most of Paul’s letters he is very direct and to the point. If he wants you to do something, he commands you: “Do this!” This tone stands in contrast with the letters of John and Hebrews, where the writers use a gentler, less direct “Let’s do this.” The inclusion of the speaker in the exhortation softens the message—it’s not just the audience being confronted. This changes what could have been a harsh command into a gentler exhortation. Paul uses this approach only twice in Philippians (3:15 and 16). The change in tone coincides with the lead-up to addressing the conflict between Euodia and Syntyche in 4:2.

 

Runge, S. E. (2011). High Definition Commentary: Philippians (Php 3:15–21). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

 

Notes

 

3:12 been made perfect Paul has not yet arrived at his goal. The Greek verb used here, teleioō, can refer to being perfected, being completed, or reaching a goal.

 

3:14 the goal Paul’s athletic imagery in these verses likely captured the attention of the Philippians, whose proximity to Greece exposed them to the Greek athletic games. For Paul, the ultimate goal is knowing Christ’s resurrection power and dwelling with Him in the age to come (Phil 3:10–11, 21).

 

3:15 perfect The Greek adjective used here, teleios, is related to the verb in v. 12. In this case, Paul probably is calling on mature believers to adopt the mindset he has just described (vv. 7–14).

 

Crank the Blanks

 

The call by God is the ____________ of Spiritual Life

 

Be ____________ of God’s purpose for calling you

 

_________ Me!

 

My favorite Greek word is ____________ 

New home rules for my teens

 

  • __________________

 

 

  • __________________

 

 

  • __________________

 

Philippians Week #9 – Going Deeper Study Link

 


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