TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

 

The Fourth Kingdom of Man and His City - Acts 16:12-40.  Page 1

 

 

CHAPTER 1 Epistle To The Philippians   Page 13

 

 

CHAPTER II    Page 22

 

 

CHAPTER III   Page 46

 

 

CHAPTER IV    Page 96

 

 

Note A:

 

Philippians 3: 9.  Page 102

 

 

Note B:

 

The Four Views of Philippians 3: 1-11.   Page 107

 

 

Note C:

 

On Philippians 3: 9-11.

The Cleansing By Christ Of The Old And Of The New   Page  113

 

 

Note D:

 

Eternal Life A Gift: The Millennium A Prize:

 

Philippians 3: 12.   Page 117

 

 

Note D2:

 

What Light Does This Epistle Throw On The Question ...

 

Whether At Death The Believer Ascends To Heaven.   Page 125

 

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

[Page 1]

THE FOURTH KINGDOM OF MAN

 

AND HIS CITY

 

 

In the study of the Epistle to the Philippians, the history of Paul and Silas at Philippi lends much aid.  Let us look at it (Acts 16.).  The Apostle Paul crossed over from Asia to Europe, to preach the Gospel.  Their voyage from Troas was very favourable.  They then journeyed from Neapolis to Philippi.

 

 

12. “From thence (Neapolis) to Philippi, which is the first city,

of the division of Macedonia, a colony

 

 

What is the meaning of “the first city” has been much disputed.  It may mean (1) the first which the Apostle met with in his journey in Europe; or (2) the first in dignity given by the Romans, (3) or the first in merit. Near to it occurred the battle which gave to Augustus the empire of the world.  But the word which is the key to the events which followed is, that it was a “colony.”  A colony was a military affair; it consisted principally of Roman soldiers to whom as deserving, house and land were assigned.  It was Rome in miniature.  Its spirit was that of the fourth Great Empire - the spirit of a wild beast.

 

 

“Now we were in the city itself staying certain days

 

 

This seems designed to show the difference between their stay within the city, and their work outside it, which was blessed of God.

 

[Page 2]

13. “And on the day of the Sabbath we went outside the city beside a river, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and were speaking to the women that came together

 

 

There was no synagogue in the city; nor do Jews appear in the events which followed.  The place of prayer was beside a river; it was a spot suitable for immersion.  Prayer was made outside the city: the city itself was not disposed to the worship of God.  At Jerusalem the House of God was the chief place of the city.

 

 

The two witnesses for God, Paul and Silas, sat down; and without formal preaching, talked to the women that assembled there.  There were no books, as in the synagogue; there was no ‘standing up,’ to read the Word of God; there were no rulers of the synagogue, to invite them to speak.  It was a small and seemingly poor commencement of work for God, in Europe.

 

 

14. “And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira,

who worshipped God, was listening; whose heart the Lord thoroughly opened,

to give heed to the things spoken by Paul

 

 

So Paul met in Europe with a woman of Asia, led over to Philippi, that she might receive there the word of truth, and be saved.  She had been led out from the worship of idols, to serve the God of Israel.  Her heart, like the heart of fallen man generally, was closed and locked against the truth of Christ; but He opened it, so that, where many would have gone away, she listened, and was won by the message spoken by Paul.  But now Rome had raised up her king to be also her God: and the conflict speedily comes on between the true God, and the false ones of heathenism.

 

 

15. “But when she was immersed, and her household, she besought us, saying, ‘If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there  And she constrained us

 

[Page 3]

First comes the faith of the opened heart, then baptism, and the opened house.  It is remarkable, that baptism is twice named in the history of the Lord’s work at Philippi, but not once in the epistle; though circumcision occupies some space in it.  Baptism is named twice in the history; probably to show, that the rite was as much designed of God for Europe, as for Asia; for the woman, as for the man; and for the Roman, as for the proselyte.

 

 

16. “Now it came to pass, as we went to prayer, that a certain girl, having a spirit of Python* met us, who used to bring much gain to her masters by fortune-telling.  She followed Paul and us, and shouted, saying, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God,

who proclaim to us the way of salvation.’”

 

* Some copies read, “A spirit of Python  If this be the true reading, it would affirm, that Apollo Python dwelt in her.

 

 

Apollo was supposed to have slain with his bow a great dragon, called Python.  Python in Hebrew means ‘Serpent  So the spirit of God in Paul came into collision with the spirit of the Old Serpent.

 

 

She was a slave-girl, owned by several masters, who obtained much money by her telling fortunes, discovering thieves, and so on.  It would seem, that she was both attractive in manner, and successful in her divinations. She minded earthly things, and suited the citizens.

 

 

God’s prophecy tells of His great counsels concerning the heaven and the earth; so in the epistle we are taught concerning ‘the day of Christ and ‘the First Resurrection  Her testimony concerning Paul and Silas was true.  But how fierce was the onset of the citizens, against the messengers of salvation!  They would have been more calm in the treatment of robbers.

 

[Page 4]

18. “Now this she did for many days.  But Paul, being deeply grieved, and turning round, said to the spirit, ‘I command thee in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to come out of her 

And he came out the same hour

 

 

Paul felt like the Lord Jesus in this matter.  The spirits in the Holy Land knew Christ, and proclaimed Him to be the Son of God.  But there can be no truce between God and Satan.

 

 

The Saviour would not be thought to be allied with the Great Liar and Murderer.  “There was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he shouted out, saying, ‘Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Jesus, the Nazarene?  Art thou come to destroy us?  I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of GodAnd Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent,* and come out of him:’” Mark 1.  “And demons also came out of many, shouting out, and saying, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of God  And, He rebuking them, suffered them not to speak, for they knew that He was the ChristLuke 4.  The Saviour would not have the truth proclaimed by lying lips.

 

* Literally, ‘Be muzzled

 

 

Paul then, the disciple, took the Saviour’s example for his guide.  He did well, and suffered for it.

 

 

He spoke - not to the girl, but to the spirit of Python in the girl.  He commanded it to come out in the efficient name of Jesus.  At that call, the evil spirit was compelled to depart.  It is an example of the power of the name above every name.  In the day of Christ’s [millennial] kingdom, Satan and his angels will be cast into the bottomless pit; and the nations, now led by his deceits, will be set free.

 

 

19. “But her masters, seeing that the hope of their gains had gone out, laid hands on Paul and Silas, and dragged them to the market-place to the rulers, and after having led them

to the generals, said, - ‘These men greatly trouble our city, being Jews,

and proclaim customs which are not lawful for us to receive,

nor to practise, being Romans.’”

 

[Page 5]

What proofs are here exhibited of the reality of the possession by evil spirits!  1.  The girl has lost her previous power.  2.  The public perceive it: they no longer consult her.  She has lost the intelligence of the future, for which those who consulted her were willing to pay.  3.  Her masters perceived the difference.  The argument addressed their pockets.  They could but notice it.  Jews, when Christ ejected evil spirits, blasphemed the Spirit of God.  Romans, in this case, appeal to the customs of the Great City.  Yet there was no offence against the laws of Rome committed by Paul.

 

 

Python was a spirit allowed by Roman customs to act.  How well her masters knew how to set the populace on fire by their accusation!  “These Jews greatly trouble our city  The epistle of Paul is a tacit setting up of Christ and the city of God, the New Jerusalem, against the emperors and the city of Rome!  “For our city is in heaven* That shall abide on its twelve foundations for ever.  But the Babylon on seven hills then ruling the world is to be burnt by the ten kings of Antichrist; and then to be given up to desolation: Rev. 17., 18.  Are not then her citizens those who are described in the epistle as the enemies of the cross of the Christ, whose end is destruction?

 

* This sense in the Epistle to the Philippians is most suitable.  The city of earth is set up against the city of God [on earth (Jer. 31: 38-40; Isa. 11: 5-12); and also,] in the heavens.

 

 

“These men teach customs unlawful for Romans to accept or practise This refers, no doubt, to baptism, and perhaps also, to the Lord’s Supper: Acts 20: 7.

 

 

22. “And the multitude rose up together against them, and the generals having rent their garments from off them, commanded that they should be beaten with rods; and when they had laid on them many stripes, gave orders to the jailor to keep them safely.  He having received such orders, cast them into the inner prison, and fastened their feet in the stocks

 

[Page 6]

There is here no form of trial.  The accusation passes as proof; the passions of the multitude rule.  Where the spirits of Satan are stricken, the world takes the devil’s part.  So the Gadarenes beg the Saviour to depart, when Legion is driven out from the possessed, in spite of the road to their city, which was impassable before, being made, by the dispossession of the demoniacs, safe and free.

 

 

The colony is military, even in the titles given to the magistrates - “generals  The kingdom of God is founded on “grace and peace  The peace of God, passing all earthly understanding, guards the hearts and minds of those in Christ Jesus: 4: 7.  And to restored Israel [in the “age” to come] the promise is, “I will make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousnessIsa. 60: 17.  The Philippian jailor was very far from being so.

 

 

They laid “many stripes” upon them.  How much more merciful is God than man!  What was the amount of stripes allowed under the law of Moses?  “Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed; lest, if he should exceed and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto theeDeut. 25.  But Rome regarded Romans alone as “brethren - all other men might be treated as they pleased.  Thus Paul and Silas knew Christ practically by suffering [for the truth of His word]: Phil. 3: 10.

 

 

The jailor was commanded to keep them safely.  But Philippi was to learn that there was One greater than the magistrates of a colony of Rome.  The jailor was to be taught that prison, chains, and stocks, cannot avail to keep prisoners those whom God would set free.  This lesson the Lord had taught at Jerusalem to Herod, when he had imprisoned Peter, and appointed sixteen men to keep safely that one prisoner.  But it is the time of grace, and the Most High has compassion on the jailor, and will bring him over to the side of Christ.  But, as he was then un-renewed, he made their feet fast in the stocks.  Little did he think that he was fulfilling [Page 7] the Scripture given in Eden - “Thou shalt bruise his heel.”  How painful to lie on their wounded backs, unable to move, with nought to eat or to drink.

 

 

25. “Now at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and were singing a hymn to God; but the

prisoners were listening to them.  But suddenly there followed a great earthquake,

so that the foundations of the prison were shaken, and immediately all the

doors were opened, and the bonds of all were loosed

 

 

How wonderfully the Spirit of God the Comforter is able to give peace and joy in the midst of circumstances so oppressing!  “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you1 Thess. 5: 18.

 

 

The sacred writer would have us mark the close connexion between the prayer and praise of the two confessors, and the wonders effected by the earthquake.  Any earthquake could have shaken the prison foundations.  But whence came the opening of all the doors?  And the undoing of the chains of all the prisoners?  That spoke of angel-hands.

 

 

Strange sounds were prayer and praise to God in a prison, whence usually proceeded groans and curses.

 

 

These two witnesses were bearers of Gospel-grace; not like the Two Witnesses yet to come, who avenge with death by fire any attempt made to injure them: Rev. 11.

 

 

Whatever is shaken shall pass away: Heb. 12.  And the saved shall have no more to do with lashes, and stocks, and dungeons.  The Lord gives notice even here below of His coming deliverance of His people, when He descends from on high; and the living [“left”]* and dead saints shall be assembled to Him in air.  The earthquake was terrible to Romans; it set at liberty God’s own servants.  But, like the two earthquakes, the one at our Lord’s death, and the other at His [Page 8] resurrection, it slew no one.  How unlike the earthquake when the Two Witnesses awake from death, and ascend to heaven!  That kills from seven, to seventy, millions of men!

 

 

[* NOTE. That is, “left” (1 Thess. 4: 17) until the end of the Great Tribulation.  Others, prevailed “to escape all” (Luke 21: 36), before it commenced! See Rev. 3: 10.  There will be two raptures of living saints; and two general resurrections of dead saints; separated by “a thousand years”! (Rev. 20: 5, R.V.).]

 

 

The Lord Jesus in the synagogue of Nazareth proclaimed, by the Spirit of the Lord upon Him, that He was anointed to preach deliverance to the captives; “the opening of the prison to then that were bound  ’Twas a hint of a better and eternal rescue; as saith the prophet - “As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant, I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water :” Zech. 9.

 

 

27, 28. “But the jailor awakened from sleep, and seeing the doors of the prison opened, having drawn his sword, was about to slay himself, supposing that the prisoners had fled.  But

Paul with loud voice called to him - ‘Do thyself no harm, for we are all here.’”

 

 

The earthquake awaked in Paul feelings opposite to those of the jailor.  To the Apostle it brought deliverance from stocks and chains; to the jailor, dismay and despair; which, but for the Apostle’s intervention, would have ended in his death.  A positive command had been given by those whose favour he sought, to keep safely these especial prisoners; and lo! all the doors of the prison are opened!  The whole of those entrusted to his custody then must have escaped!  He was afraid, therefore, of the wrath of the magistrates, and of his own public execution, as unfaithful to his trust.  He was thus smitten with a calamity which Romans thought should only be met by suicide.  At Philippi, after the lost battle against Augustus, Brutus, Cassius, and others committed suicide.

 

 

Of this, his intent, Paul is made aware.  He probably heard the click of the drawn sword.  He stays the stroke of self-inflicted death, by his word of exhortation, and makes known to him that the prisoners were still in the jail.  Here Paul manifests [Page 9] the grace of Christ to one who had dealt hardly with himself and his companion.

 

 

29. “But having called for lights, he leapt in, and being seized with trembling, fell down before Paul and Silas, and said, ‘Lords, what must I do to be saved  But they said,

‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.’”

 

 

The commotion of soul produced by these incidents, wrought, in the Lord’s hands, strong conviction of sin.  He humbles himself before his prisoners, who alone have the power of making known to him “the way of salvation  The story of the fortune-telling girl had, no doubt, reached his ears.  “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation He remembers his ill conduct towards them, and abases himself before them.

 

 

The two prisoners bid him believe on Christ as Lord.  He was no longer to account the Caesar on the throne as the Lord and God, to whom he was to render worship.  Festus could say to king Agrippa, unrebuked, concerning Paul the prisoner, “Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto ‘The LORD.’”

 

 

The jailor is to learn a new salvation, not of this world; but redemption from sin, and from the eternal wrath of God.  He believes, and is rescued from believing in the spirit of Python, to faith in Christ and the Holy Spirit. ‘Salvation’ is no longer the deliverance from present death.  “Thou shalt be saved  The application of the tidings is close and personal.  “And thy house

 

 

32-34. “And they spake to him the Word of the Lord, and to all who were in his house.  And he took them in that hour of the night, and bathed them from their stripes, and was immersed,

he and all his, immediately.  And leading them up into his house, he set before

them a table, and rejoiced, with all his house, believing in God

 

[Page 10]

If the household is to be saved, the message of the Most High must be presented to it, before he and they are baptized.*

 

* [The Greek word …] here is, ‘the household’: [The other Greek word … is] ‘the building in which they dwelt

 

What was it that the messengers preached?  “The Word of the Lord  Ofttimes we have - “the Word of GodBut here it is “the Word of the Lord  It was the story of “the Lord Jesus Christ” on whom he and his family were to believe.  And, at once, on their receiving [and believing] the story of the cross, and of the resurrection of Him that hung on it, he and they were obedient to the rite commanded by Christ.  “Be immersed every one of you on the authority of Jesus Christ, unto the forgiveness of sinsActs 2: 38.  Our religion rests, for its foundation, on the Lordship of Christ, and obedience to Him, after His pardon of our trespasses.  At Rome, the emperor had apparently thrust aside, by his alleged godhead, the gods adored by the old Romans.

 

 

Faith in the jailor being genuine, it works by love.  He remembers, being now full of peace in his own soul, the sad state of his wounded prisoners; and comforts them by bathing their wounds.  He and all his were at once immersed.  God’s plan is, the baptizing, straightway, of those converted.  What a reproof to those who detain converts for months and years, before they will receive them, and own them by baptizing them!  Do we read of Paul’s receiving their ‘baptismal vows’?  Neither here, nor anywhere else in the New Testament!  Baptism is not the scene of the promise of the flesh, but of the burial of the flesh as dead.

 

 

This ‘straightway’ was a very remarkable one.  Their immersion took place, before the wounded servants of Christ had had anything to eat, after their fast and sufferings; or any rest.  How important, [Page 11] in the eye of Christ and of Paul, must baptism be!  Only it must come after faith, as the choice of the [regenerate] believer; and not before faith, in order to make a person a Christian.

 

 

He then spreads before them a table in his own house.  And, where a few minutes before there had been despair, there is faith; and with faith there is joy.  Well might he rejoice, as one delivered from sin’s guilt and enmity!  His new citizenship yields him at once rejoicing: “fellow-citizen with the saints, and of the household of God  Here again we see that where the heart is opened, the house is opened too!

 

 

Thus there are two groups of believers; those meeting outside the gate, and the family of the jailor in the prison of the city.  The fortune-telling girl is the link that connects the two.  Here is the grace of God moving, against the deserts of men!  Here is His power, taking away from destruction a Roman family, to become sons of God.

 

 

35. “But when it was daylight, the generals sent the rod-bearers (lictors), saying, ‘Dismiss those men  But the jailor told these words to Paul: ‘The generals have sent word, that you may

be dismissed  But Paul said to them: ‘They have scourged in public un-condemned

men who are Romans, and now do they thrust us out secretly?  Why, no! but

let them come themselves and lead us out  But the lictors told the

generals these words; and they were frightened, when they heard

that they were Romans.  And they came and exhorted them,

and leading them out (of prison), asked them to depart

out of the city

 

 

What led to so sudden a change on the part of the magistrates?  The earthquake, and the testimony of the Pythoness.  This shock had come from ‘the Most High God who had thus shown His displeasure at their treatment of His messengers.  So they would get rid of them, as the Philistines would get quit of Jehovah’s captive ark.

 

[Page 12]

This feeling was greatly increased, by the intelligence, that those whom they had thus unrighteously treated were Roman citizens.  So it was the magistrates, who, in their contempt of justice, brought not the matter to any trial; and had broken Roman law!  If the prisoners had pleased, they could have compelled the magistrates of Philippi to appear at Rome, and to be judged for life or death before the tribes.

 

 

Paul then sends a message, which compels them to confess the injustice they had committed; and they themselves in person lead them out of prison.  Here was no revenge, no threatening, no accusation of the wrong-doers; but a virtual confession, that ‘those men’ had not broken any law of Rome.  If they feared the penalty of violating the laws of Rome, how much more terrible the wrath of God on the breakers, of His law!  The rulers then own their guilt, in scourging and committing them to prison, by coming themselves and leading them out of the prison.  But their fear does not lead them, as it led the jailor, to ask,- “Sirs, what must we do to be saved  As the men of Gadara begged our Lord to leave their coasts, so do the authorities of Philippi beg them to leave the city.  They cleave to Rome and her privileges; and do not follow even the advice of the Pythoness, to learn the way of salvation from these servants of Christ,

 

 

40. “But they went out of the prison, and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen

the brethren, they comforted them, and went out

 

 

Thus the Roman city expressed its hatred of the Gospel.  Thus Paul shows his likeness to Christ, and his fellowship with Him in suffering.  But the Word of the Lord must not be stayed in its course.  The messengers are free to proclaim it elsewhere.

 

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

[Page 13]

EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS

 

CHAPTER I

 

 

The Epistle takes up the saints in Philippi at the point where the history in Acts leaves off.  They were believers in Christ, and were baptized; before Paul and Silas leave the city.

 

 

The epistle is designed to conduct them a stage onward in the faith and hope of the Gospel, both in knowledge and practice, till the coming of Christ to take the millennial kingdom.  The Apostle teaches them to seek a place in the glory of the Thousand Years, as the great object set before them by God and Christ.  The first stage is, faith in Christ for pardon; and baptism.  There is in consequence a natural, though a silent comparison, between the Emperor of the fourth great kingdom of earth, his city, and people; and Christ the King of kings, and the city of God on high.

 

 

The spirit of the king and people of Rome is greatly unlike the spirit of Christ.  Hence the strong directions given for the formation of an opposite character, in chapter two.  The people of Christ are to be humble, gentle, loving, in place of being proud, self-satisfied, and boastful of the city of Rome and her privileges.  The kingdom indeed is not named in this epistle: instead of it we have “the Day of Christ and “the First Resurrection  We have in the letter two views of Rome and its spirit; the first as seen in its colony, at a distance from the mother city.  (1)  In the colony the Apostle is maltreated; (2) in the mother-city he is a prisoner in peril of his life; and the last epistle that he wrote (2 Timothy) shows us his end, in the same city, as very near.

 

[Page 14]

Law appears in two forms in the epistle.  First, as in the colony, and at Rome.  Then, as exhibited under the emperors.  Justice was the nominal principle of government.  The law given to Israel was real righteousness.  But the principle to be obeyed by those in preparation for the kingdom of Christ, is grace.  Over the kingdom of earth, Daniel tells us, that “God setteth up over it the basest of men  But over the coming kingdom of God, Christ, the one example of perfect righteousness, is to be enthroned in the coming [millennial] Day.  And the epistle is designed to teach baptized believers how to reach that millennial glory.

 

 

1, 2. “Paul and Timothous, slaves of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi, joint-bishops and deacons.  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father,

and the Lord Jesus Christ

 

 

Paul commences this epistle taking no title of dignity; but he and Silas enrol themselves as ‘slaves of Jesus Christ.’  It is not said, ‘to the church (assembly) of Philippians;’ but the assembly is divided into (1) saints, (2) elders, and (3) deacons.  There were several bishops in one city, who ruled the assembly; while the younger men, who were appointed to be deacons, served.

 

 

The epistle begins with “Grace unto you  This is the key to the whole.  It shows that the Old Testament, which was founded on law, is set aside.  Then follows “peace  Settled ‘peace’ cannot be found under law imposed on sinful man.  Law works wrath and war; as we see at Mount Sinai.  In forty days the sword was sent, and three thousand idolaters slain.

 

 

“From God our Father  This is not said of all men, as if God were the Father of unbelievers; but God is Father of those who are regenerate.

 

 

“And from the Lord Jesus Christ  It is through Christ that the saints have fellowship with God.

 

 

3-11.  The theme of the epistle is Christ.  The state of the Philippians in all but one point was [Page 15] pleasing to Christ, and to His servant Paul.  He gives thanks to God, prays on their behalf with joy, glad of their interest in the Gospel, and help toward its advancement.  As the Lord had begun to work in them, He would continue it up to ‘the day of Christ’s manifestation and reign  Here is a new standard of time.  Men in the flesh say, ‘till death  But the day of Christ’s revelation might occur before the death of those then alive.

 

 

The Apostle had very affectionate feelings towards them, in consequence of their being members of Christ.  His affections were attuned to those of Christ.

 

 

We are then introduced to the subject of his prayers for them.  They had love in their hearts; but they needed the after-knowledge proper to the believer, and observations wisely directed: “Wise as serpents, harmless as doves

 

 

10, 11. “That ye may distinguish things that differ; that ye may be sincere, and not occasion any

to stumble, up to the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of a righteousness which

comes through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God

 

 

They had been good citizens of Caesar and of Rome; but they had now passed over to obey Jesus as their Lord. Caesar was no longer to receive a worship suited to God alone.  They were citizens now of a new kingdom, and of the City of God.  Before them were set new standards suited to its new life beyond the grave.  Great should be the difference in feeling and conduct between the men of ‘grace’ and ‘peace as compared with the citizens of Rome, professing justice, and living by war.  The Spirit that should rule and guide the saint, was not that of Python; but of God, and of Jesus Christ.  Much, therefore needed to be laid aside of what was approved at Rome; much to be added to the Philippians of a holiness not approved by the Great City of earth.

 

[Page 16]

The new work of sanctification by Christ and His Spirit, would cause them to bear richly the fruit of the Gospel.  This was to spring from the possession, not of their own righteousness [alone]; but [primarily] of that [righteousness] of Christ, imputed to them.  Romans might boast of their own brave and just deeds, before men; but the fruits of their righteousness would bring glory to God.  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven who had, in infinite wisdom, love and goodness, devised a way, whereby the unrighteous and condemned may be made righteous before Him.  ‘The day of Christ’ is twice named; the first time in reference to the work of God, then in reference to their own character: 1: 6-10; 12-18.

 

 

The Holy Spirit calls on the saints to “distinguish things that differ  There were before them the systems, (1) of Rome, (2) of Jerusalem below, and (3) of Jerusalem above.  They had chosen Christ, and they were now to unlearn the maxims and spirit of Rome, and of God’s city of earth, in order that they might be sincere, and not either stumble themselves, or cause stumbling in others - the limit of the action of these principles being, “till the day of Christ

 

 

11. “Being filled with the fruit of a righteousness, which (fruit is) by Jesus Christ,

unto the glory and praise of God

 

 

The true reading is ‘Fruit not ‘Fruits  The imputed righteousness of Christ is the tree; good words and works are the fruit which arises out of peace with God, through Jesus Christ.  The participle “being filled” is in the perfect.  The filling is going on now.  And this tree does not cast its fruit; but it abides till the day when reward shall be given.

 

 

Both the tree and its fruit proceed from Christ and His work.  He is the worker of the completed righteousness in which we stand.  As in Christ, we are able to bring forth good fruit.

 

[Page 17]

The work of [eternal] salvation is God’s.  The Father is the Deviser of the great plan: the Son, the Fulfiller of the righteousness; the Holy Ghost applying the work.  It is all to “the glory and the praise of God

 

 

It is not like Paul’s righteousness of law, which bore no good fruit, but led him to boast in the flesh, and to persecute those really righteous before God through the work of Christ.

 

 

The Apostle now turns to describe his position at Rome, a matter of the utmost interest to his Philippian converts.  And he encourages them to expect his release, and a visit again at Philippi.  He does not rest his hope on any view of the state of parties at Rome, or on the effect of any influence of his friends on the mind of Nero; but on the higher ground of the need of the Church of that day, specially at Philippi.

 

 

While many supposed that the effect of Paul’s imprisonment would be a heavy blow at the cause of Christ; better results had arisen, than the fears of his friends had suggested.

 

 

He was delivered up to be guarded in the Praetorian camp (Acts 28: 16), just outside Rome - the barracks of the Emperor’s body-guards.  There it soon became known, that his imprisonment was due, not to any crime, or breach of Roman political law; but on religious grounds.  The door was open to Romans and others to visit him, and to hear his story.  The effect on Christians also was good.  It showed that God was able to uphold His servant in the most trying circumstances.  They took courage therefore themselves to speak.

 

 

14. There is some difference of reading here.  And it is of importance.

 

 

14-16. “Many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the Word of God without fear.  Some, indeed, proclaim the Christ, even of envy

and strife; but some also of goodwill.  Some, indeed, out of party-spirit proclaim

the Christ, not purely, thinking to add affliction to my chains.  But the others

of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the Gospel

 

[Page 18]

1. The word spoken of in verse 14, is “the Word of God  That is a more general expression than “the Word of the Lord  The latter refers more directly to the New Testament proclamation of Christ.

 

 

In the Acts we have the preaching both of “the Word of God and “the Word of the Lord  At Salamis in Cyprus, Paul and Barnabas “preached the Word of God in the synagogues of the Jews13: 5.  The deputy of the country “called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the Word of God  At Antioch, of Pisidia, “came almost the whole city to gather to hear the Word of God ver. 44.  The references in these cases relating to the synagogues, and Gentiles seem to show that Paul’s appeal was to the Old Testament Scriptures.

 

 

But when at Philippi, the aroused jailor asks: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved the answer is: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved  “And they spake unto him the Word of the Lord, and to all that were in the house What is said also in regard of the conversion of Lydia confirms this: ver. 14, 15.

 

 

In the present passage of Philippians, “the Word of God” introduces the proclamation, not of ‘Christ’ only; but of “the Christ  By that expression, I believe that ‘the Mystic Christ or Jesus the Head, and [regenerate] believers His members, are meant.  Twice we have the proclamation of “the Christ” ver. 15, 16.  And this suggests, how the opponents of Paul might seek to injure him, through the ignorance at Rome concerning the new faith.  The very name ‘Christ’ was one which the Romans were slow to learn; and it seems as if at Rome some spoke of ‘Chreestos’ instead.  It was easy to enemies to insinuate, that ‘the Christ’ of Paul’s preaching meant an association dangerous to the authority of the Emperor; and it was expected, that this would draw down on him further affliction.  So then Paul’s imprisonment was the means of spreading the [Page 19] knowledge of Christ, and in that, in spite of the partial bitterness it caused to himself, he rejoiced.

 

 

19. “For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer,

and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ

 

 

Salvation is, in this epistle, regarded, not in respect of present peace in the soul arising out of reconciliation with God; but as the complete deliverance of spirit, body, and soul “in the Day of Jesus Christ  The threatenings of foes were to be to the Philippian saints the token of salvation given by God: ver. 28.  They were to work out their [future] salvation* in co-operation with God: 2: 12.  For, like Paul, they were to be pressing on, to gain [by effort = ‘attain’ (3: 11) R.V.] a place in the First Resurrection.

 

[* Here is, I believe, the reference is to a future “salvation of souls” mentioned in 1 Peter.  See verses 5, 9 and 13, R.V.  Cf.  Heb. 10: 39; Jas. 1: 21, R.V.) etc.]

 

 

20. “According to my earnest expectation and hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now, Christ shall be magnified in my body,

whether it be by life, or by death

 

 

“I shall not be ashamed” - that is, at the appearing before Christ.  Some will then be ashamed: 1 John 2: 28.

 

 

“Christ shall be magnified  In this case, and in the next verse, there is no article before ‘Christ.’ ‘Jesus Christ’ is spoken of, without His members.  It was Paul’s aim to glorify Him; and that would be effected, whether the Emperor released him, or caused him to be executed.

 

 

21. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain

 

 

‘All things are working together for good, to those who love God, and are called according to His purpose  While Paul lived, he sought the [coming millennial] glory of Christ, and was sustained in his services by the Spirit of God.

 

 

But even if he were slain, he would find his new place in ‘Paradise’* to be gain.  To be there is to be “with Christ, which is very far better

 

[* See Luke 23: 43, R.V.]

 

[Page 20]

That death should be gain, would not be believed in Rome: it was the King of Terrors.  It is true, and is an immense advance upon law.  Under law, death was the judge’s inflection on the transgressor.  “I the Lord have said, I will surely do it to this evil congregation, that are gathered together against Me; in this wilderness shall they be consumed, and there shall they die  At once the unfaithful spies are cut off before the Lord.  Even under the prophets, and though Hezekiah was a servant of the Lord, he took it sorely to heart, when sentence of death was passed upon him; and besought a reversal of the sentence.  The Lord so far listened as to lengthen his life fifteen years: Isa. 38.  Even Hezekiah must say [with reference to the time of Messiah’s coming millennial reign and manifested glory]: “Hadees (Heb.) cannot praise thee; Death cannot celebrate thee

 

 

The believer’s departing is not now the going into Abraham’s bosom; but the being with Christ.*  What joyful news, even though resurrection must be waited for!

 

[* Is there any difference made in Scripture between saved Jews from saved Gentiles?  Do not all dead saints go to the same place in “Sheol” / ‘Hades,’ immediately after their Death; and from there, wait for their Resurrection?  Look and see: (Psa. 139: 8b; Luke 16: 22; 23: 45; Rev. 6: 9, 11, R.V.)

 

22-26. “Now if I live in the flesh, this is to me fruit of labour: and what I shall choose I know not.  For I am in a strait between two things, having the desire to depart, and be with Christ;

for it is very far better; but to abide in the flesh, is more necessary for you.  And

having this confidence I know, that I shall abide and continue with you

all for your advance and joy in faith, in order that your boasting

in Christ Jesus in me (my release) may abound,

through my presence again with you

 

 

What would be the consequence to Paul, if his life was spared!  Life is the time of labour; and he would so spend it in the service of the Redeemer, that he would receive increased reward.  “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord

 

 

But there is a better life than that in the flesh.  What if he died?  Service would be finished; but greater blessing begun.  His desire was to depart.  For the [Page 21] work of Christ has altered for the better the believer’s sojourn among the dead; while he is waiting in confidence for the resurrection.  But Paul, as filled with the Spirit of Christ, regards rather the needs of others, than his own enjoyment.  There was much needing to be done for the benefit of the Church, which Paul alone was commissioned to do.

 

 

Hence he is persuaded, that, even in the crisis of his appearing before Nero, his life would be spared.  For the advance of the people of God in faith, knowledge, and holiness, is of great moment to Christ.  And the sparing of the Apostle’s life would make Philippian believers rejoice, when they welcomed him again to their city. Thus Paul, whose politics were of heaven, and not of earth, decides, that the alternative most desired by the Church of Christ should come to pass.

 

 

27-30. “Only conduct yourselves as becomes the Gospel of Christ: in order that, whether I come and see you, or whether absent I may hear the news about you; that you are standing fast in

one spirit, with one soul striving together for the faith of the Gospel.  And not in

anything terrified by the enemies: which is to them a token of perdition, but to

you of salvation, and that from God.  For to you it is granted, on behalf of

Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him, you

having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear of,

as affecting me

 

 

In this paragraph the Apostle glances at the internal danger threatening the peace of the Church there.  He exhorts them therefore to unity.  This prepares the way for his teaching in the next chapter on the tempers required in order to move together in harmony.

 

 

They were not to be terrified by opponents who threatened them.  Such were themselves manifestly on the way to damnation, in striking at those who were members of Christ.  Saints were persecuted, not because of their evil doing; but for their obedience to God.

 

 

To themselves it was a token, that they were on the [Page 22] right road to the First Resurrection, and its millennial glory.

 

 

And they were to regard even suffering for Christ’s sake as a gift from God; which, rightly met, would redound to their [millennial and] everlasting glory.  To some it is given to believe only.  But to suffering with Christ belongs present consolation; as well as millennial reward.  Persecution for Christ is a manifest token of the coming righteous judgment of God, “that ye may be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God for which ye even suffer2 Thess. 1: 5.  “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed unto usRom. 8: 18.

 

 

The Philippians were in trouble for Christ.  The Apostle’s position was still one of conflict.  They had seen him in it, when he was in the colony.  It was going on more fully in the metropolis.  The affliction of the two parties drew them nearer to each other.

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

CHAPTER II

 

 

1-4 (1) “If therefore there be any comfort in Christ, (2) if any consolation in love, (3) if any

joint participation in the Spirit, (4) if any compassion and acts of pity, Fulfil ye my joy,

(1) that ye be of the same mind (2) having the same love, (3) sympathetic, (4) having

one mind.  Let nothing be done through party-spirit or vainglory, but in humility

esteeming each other more than yourselves.  Regard not each his own

interests alone, but each those of others

 

 

The Apostle does not find any evil doctrine among the Philippians.  He has only to call them to practice.  In 1: 27 the Apostle uses a remarkable word for ‘conduct  It hints at the change induced by their becoming citizens of the heavenly city, and requiring to alter their sentiments and conduct, from what they had been as [Page 23] proud citizens of the great worldly metropolis.  Then they looked up to the Emperor and to the city of Rome, as the standard of their dispositions and life.  They were proud, ambitious, selfish, glorifying themselves, ever ready to split into parties, valuing themselves on their independence, standing jealously on their rights; and men of war.

 

 

But now the principle of their life was to be grace they were at peace with God, and were to look up to Christ as the standard of present perfection, and the Dispenser of future rewards.  Christ was their “Lord and they were to be lowly, seeking to benefit others; studying how to maintain the unity of the new body, into which they had, in God’s mercy, been engrafted.

 

 

Four are the grounds of appeal with which the chapter begins; and four the exhortations which the Apostle derives from them.

 

 

Both Paul and the Philippians were sufferers from the world; they, in the colony; Paul, in Rome.  Would they wish to add any new trial to the Apostle’s troubles?  Far from it; they sought only how they Might comfort and help him.  Then let the spiritual mercies that were granted of God, whether derived from Christ and the Holy Ghost, or shown by answering tempers in themselves, persuade them to that unity which the Apostle so much desired to hear of, and to see in them.

 

 

The four ‘if do not question the existence of the four excellencies noted; they are rhetorical, designed to press the appeal for unity.

 

 

The Apostle then shows how they might comfort him by their obedience to the directions given.

 

 

“Fulfil ye my joy

 

 

How mighty, how blessed were those principles and aids, which could give joy to the Apostle under his present circumstances of imprisonment, and hazard of life!  His joy would be full to the brim, if he could learn of their unity, humility, obedience, and sympathy.

 

[Page 24]

There is, I believe, an intended correspondence between the four principles announced in verse one, and the exhortations given in verse two.

 

 

1. ‘If there be any comfort in Christ’ - ‘let them be like-minded one with another  The flesh in Adam divides; but the Lord and the Spirit show their power by uniting those in Christ.

 

 

2. ‘If any consolation in love’ - ‘let them have the same love one to another  Lawlessness is opposed to love.  “Because lawlessness shall abound, the love of the majority shall wax cold

 

 

3. ‘If participation in one spirit’ - ‘let them be sympathetic one towards the other

 

 

4. ‘If any compassion and acts of pity’ - ‘let them be of one mind

 

 

In verse three, we have the negative view.  Let them put off and keep out party-spirit, and vainglory.  These were ever moving in Rome, as they are also the tempers of fallen flesh, and of the world.  They might, indeed, be as ambitious as they would, if only they sought glory from Christ to be bestowed in His day.  “Whosoever shall wish to become great among you, let him be your servant; and whosoever shall wish, to be first among you, shall be your slave  “Even as the Son of man came not to be waited on; but to wait on others; and to give His soul a ransom for many

 

 

“In humility let each esteem the other more than himself  Law could say: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself

 

 

Here is esteeming a brother more than himself!  Selfishness, that turns the eye solely on a man’s own interests, is then rebuked: in the natural body each part ministers to the other, does not isolate itself; but is sympathetic towards every other part.

 

 

5, 6. “For let that mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought not the being equal with God a glory to be jealously retained; but emptied

Himself; taking the form of the slave, being made in the likeness of men

 

 

The Saviour is here named ‘Christ Jesus’ - the superior name being put before His name as a man - ‘Jesus  As you are in Christ, seek to resemble Him as your standard; especially on the points now urged.

 

 

The Apostle begins with the Lord Jesus’ original position of glory, that we may in some measure be able to estimate the depth of His condescension.

 

 

“Who being in the form of God

 

 

He had existence from eternity, before He appeared as man.  What is “the form of God”?  It consists chiefly in two things.  1. The light and glory proper to the Creator and Ruler of all.  2. The corresponding place and service of the creature.

 

 

Let us take some examples.

 

 

1. Victoria is in the form of a Queen, when seated in her throne-room in her robes, crown, and sceptre, with her officers and subjects before her.

 

 

2. “I saw says Micaiah, “the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him, on His right hand, and His left.  And the Lord said: ‘Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth Gilead  And one said on this manner, and another said.  And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, ‘I will persuade him  And the Lord said unto him, ‘Wherewith  And he said, ‘I will go forth, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets  And he said, ‘Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth and do so:’” 1 Kings 22.

 

 

Here is God in His place as Ruler, and the creatures in their place as subjects, subservient.

 

 

3. Take another example: Isaiah 6.  “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple.  Above it stood the seraphim; each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.  And one cried unto [Page 26] another, and said, Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory  “And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, ‘Woe is me! for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips: and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts

 

 

Here we have God in His majesty, and the creatures in their worship before Him.  And John tells us, that the glory which the prophet thus saw, was Christ’s.  “Esaias said again, ‘He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and turn, and I should heal them  These things said Esaias when he saw His (Christ’s) glory, and spake of HimJohn 12: 39-41.

 

 

In Rev. 4. and 5. we have glory restored to Christ at the throne of God, after His suffering unto death, and after the unworthiness of angels and men, and of spirits departed has been manifested; together with the burst of worship which greets the Father and the Son at the close of the chapter.

 

 

“Thought not the being equal with God a glory to be jealously retained.”

 

 

We have arrived at a passage confessedly very difficult.  And the centre of the difficulty lies in the Greek word ‘Harpagmos

 

 

There are two main views concerning its meaning.  1. Some say it means the ‘thing seized and so should be translated ‘booty, prize

 

 

2. Some, that it means ‘the act of seizure  This can be better substantiated from passages in the Greek.  Does it then mean ‘robberyas our translators give it?

 

 

That rendering supposes a forcible act, seizing on something valuable possessed by another, and taken for one’s own self.  But such a sense is unsuitable here.  For what perfection can be possessed by the creature [Page 27] which God has not?  There is nothing valuable in the creature which God would seize on.

 

 

But there is another view of the word which falls in easily with the argument here.  There are two modes of seizure, one the laying a forcible hold on some treasure to take it for ourselves.  But we must refuse the idea of God’s seizing of any creature-perfection, to take it to Himself.  All creature-perfection comes from God.

 

 

But there is also the retaining with firm grasp by the lawful possessor of something valued by himself; resenting the invasion of it by those to whom it belongs not.

 

 

This is the sense appropriate to the passage: the glory of God was the due of the Son of God.  He might justly have held it fast, repelling all attempts to infringe, or abstract it.  He knew it was His right.  It was supported by the Father and by the Spirit.

 

 

Does any say ‘that the possession of the form of God’ does not prove the possession of Godhead?  Nay, but it does.  Who could support for eternity the form of God or His glory, but One who was God?  And the passage goes on to claim for Christ the being equal with God.  That asserts the Saviour’s nature to be God’s. None but He who was God had a right to make the choice here given.  None but He who was free from the duty and obligation which cling to the creature, and call for his obedience to the Most High as his King, could rightly so act.  And where would be the humility of a creature’s not claiming the Godhead!

 

 

“But emptied Himself

 

 

1. He gave up, not His divine nature, but its manifestation.  He stripped Himself of the intense light in which God dwells.  “Dwelling in the light which none can approach unto  For “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all

 

 

2. He withdrew from the service and worship of his creatures.  What a contrast to the Roman emperors [Page 28] and their keen and deadly resentment against any infringement of the divine glory which they stole, or of the honour they possessed, as kings of Rome.

 

 

Her Majesty might if she would, leave her palace and attendance, her table, and robes, and be found dressed as a servant-maid, waiting at a farm-house in an obscure corner of her kingdom.  She would then be the queen in the form of a servant, while her rights as a queen and empress would still be hers.

 

 

“And took upon Him the form of a slave

 

 

This supposes the Saviour’s pre-existence, and divine glory, before He appeared as Son of man.  He divested Himself of His dues as Supreme Ruler “over all, God blessed for ever to take the place of the subject and the creature.  “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He sufferedHeb. 5.

 

 

But this very voluntary choice to descend, bespoke Him to be God.  No creature has a right, nor a power, to change his place as given him by God.  Because of so doing, angels fell in the days of Noah, and at the Flood were cast into Tartarus; being confined in cells of darkness: 2 Pet. 2.; Gen. 6.

 

 

“And was born in the likeness of men

 

 

This refers to the Saviour’s incarnation, and entering into the world of men by the humiliation of birth, and the feebleness of infancy.  He might have taken the place of an unfallen angel; but He humbled Himself still further.  The Great Creator became passive, taken up and laid down at the pleasure of others.  So His humility was doubly shown; both by what He put off and by what He put on.  And that, too, at a time, when Rome’s Emperors were putting to death at their pleasure whom they would, without form of trial; and robbing even their great men and officers of their wives; while they impiously assumed the rights of God, and were worshipped with temples, altars, and priests.

 

[Page 29]

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made* of a woman, made* under the law, to buy out those under law, that we might receive the adoption of sons  The Most High owned Him as His Son at His baptism: and at the Transfiguration.

 

* Or, “Born of a woman, born under the law

 

 

8. “And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross

 

 

Here we have the further consequences of the Saviour’s humiliation.  He was found on the earth, and in the ordinary visible conditions of men, (1) by man; and was treated with unbelief and cruelty by those whom He came to save.  (2) He was found by God - also, as a man; and as one who had become from a Son His servant. The further consequences are stated at the close of the verse.  (3) He was recognized as man, yet as more than man, by the demons.  “What have we to do with Thee, Jesus, the Nazarene?  I know Thee, who Thou art, the Holy One of God

 

 

“Being found in fashion as a man  This does not assert that the doctrine of the Phantomists, - ‘that He was a man in appearance only, being unpossessed of man’s body and blood On the contrary, He is here described as born and dying; truths which were rejected by those errorists.

 

 

He was at once taken for a man by all who saw Him.  The woman of Samaria after an hour’s converse with our Lord, says, “Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did; is not this the ChristJohn 4.  But He was more than a mere man, as being the Christ.

 

 

So the word ‘Being found in fashion as a man’ is used, because the interior nature within the manhood was different.  The Son of God became a man.  “The Word was made flesh, and tabernacled among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten [Page 30] from the Father, full of grace and truthJohn 1: 14.  He was really a man; but He was more; and that is what is implied here.  Of a mere man it would not be said, “Being found in fashion as a man  It was the effect of His choice.

 

 

Men were displeased at One in all points apparently like themselves, yet asserting His Godhead.  “‘Is not this Jesusthe son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?  How is it then that He saith, ‘I came down out of heaven?’” John 6.  “Jesus answered them when they attempted to stone Him, “Many good works have I showed you from My Father; for which of them do ye stone Me?  The Jews answered Him, saying, For a good work we stone Thee not, but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself GodJohn 10.  On the contrary, He being God, had humbled Himself to become man.

 

 

This verse, then, treats of the Saviour’s conduct after infancy and boyhood were past, and when, as the man He chose to humble Himself, aware of all that was coming upon Him.  He might have chosen, when He was found on earth, to be an emperor’s son.  But no, having become a Man, He stooped yet lower.  After, being obedient to Joseph and Mary as the Child, He earned His bread by the sweat of His brow, as the Workman.

 

 

He did not exempt Himself from any of the trials of the life of man by putting forth the energies of Deity.  Satan tempted our Lord in the wilderness so to act.  “If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread  Jesus replies, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God  Great generals have endeared themselves to their soldiers by themselves voluntarily partaking in the hunger, thirst, and fatigue, forced on them by the hardships of wars.  The Saviour did more.

 

 

“And became obedient to death

 

[Page 31]

In one view, the Saviour’s life was the result of His own choice.  In another, it was the command of His Father. “Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down my life (soul), that I may take it again.  None taketh it from Me but I lay it down of myself, that I may take it again.  This commandment have I received of My FatherJohn 10: 17, 18.

 

 

Even after the Lord Jesus had become Man, He was under no necessity of dying: for He was the Righteous One under law.  “And the man that doeth these things shall live in them  “In the way of righteousness is life, and in the pathway thereof there is no death

 

 

Here then we are led to the great crisis of Gethsemane.  Could the Redeemer’s perfection of life and of prayer avail to save us without His death?  “Abba, Father, all things are possible with Thee, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not what I wish, but what Thou wilt  But “without shedding of blood takes place no remission  The Prince of Life must bow to death, and its dishonour, as if He were the chief of malefactors.

 

 

“The death of the Cross  He must endure a death, the deepest in shame from men, Himself in pain, surrounded by foes, that took pleasure in adding to His sufferings, by taunts, and lies, and sneers.  But the sorest portion of the cross was, that it set the person so dying under the curse of God, because of the sin of Eden, and the law of Moses.

 

 

But how could law curse One who was without sin?  This point Paul in Galatians 3. settles for us. ‘How says he, ‘did you receive the anointing of the Holy Ghost?  By law? or by faith in the Gospel It came as the consequence of your having received the righteousness of Christ; thus were you justified by faith, like Abraham your father, and set under blessing.  For by birth and transgression you lay under the curse of law. How then could you arrive at blessing?  By the Saviour’s enduring the curse of the law for you.

 

[Page 32]

But how could law curse the Blessed One?  “The doers of the law shall be justifiedRom. 2: 13.  And Christ was the great Doer of the law.  God had provided for that difficulty in the manner of His death.  “If a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritanceDent. 21.  Thus came the curse on our Lord.  But the same word made it brief.  He was not to hang under the curse beyond a day.  Here the great woe of Satan is seen by contrast.  He was in emblem hung on the tree in fetters of brass, as the serpent lifted up by Moses in the desert; and never can he escape from wrath into blessing.

 

 

1. Our Lord here is the moral opposite to Adam.  Made out of dust, and put under law, Adam attempted to gain likeness to God by disobedience; disbelieving the threat of death; but finding death, and corruption after death, affixed to himself and his seed.

 

 

2. Herein our Redeemer is the moral opposite to the Roman Emperors.  The four empires are described as “wild beasts  As iron bruises and breaks all things, so would the fourth empire.  Yea, its king would seize on God’s glory, and blaspheme.  The Emperors tightly held the booty they had seized.  They slew those who questioned their deeds.  Julius Caesar, the first of the emperors, began to steal divine honours, and the populace after his death gave worship to his statue.  My authority for this and the following facts is Suetonius. The taking off the head from the statue of Augustus was punished with death.  Nero pulled down the statues of victors in the games, and put to death an actor superior to himself.  Domitian threw to the dogs in the circus one of the spectators in the games for “Impious Words against himself the [Page 33] Lord and God.  Wherefore God gave up more than two or three to the sword of the assassin.  But there is one yet to arise, who shall outdo all former transgressors, coming forth for awhile from God’s prison of the lost, only to scoff at the majesty of Jehovah seated in His temple.  But as he is enormous in guilt, he shall be pre-eminent in woe.

 

 

9-11. “Therefore God hath super-exalted Him; and granted Him a name that is above every name, in order that at the name of JESUS every knee should bow, of those in the heavens,

and of those on earth, and of those under the earth.  And that every tongue should

confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father

 

 

It is God’s principle, that ‘he that humbleth himself shall be exalted  And who has humbled Himself like Jesus?  His astonishing humility, His divine obedience, His perfect benevolence even to foes, call for this glory.  Man’s disobedient exaltation of himself was founded on unbelief, and he was sentenced to death and to dust.  Twice Christ stooped; (1) from heaven to earth; (2) from earth to Hadees.  He ‘emptied’ Himself as Son of God; He ‘humbled’ Himself as Son of man.

 

 

Therefore God, when His trial was over, raised Him above all creatures.  He raised Him [out] from among the dead to the land of those living on earth.  He lifted Him up from earth, by ascension to His own Presence of glory.  “He granted Him a name above every other name  Jesus’ humiliation was brief: His glory is for ever.  No name in the past, the present, or the future will ever come up to its dignity and power.  But as yet the glory of the Saviour is concealed from the sons of men.  It is, therefore, God’s purpose in the Day of the [Millennial] Kingdom appointed Him, visibly to glorify Him; and to make all intelligent creatures show their assent.

 

 

While the Saviour surrendered His divine glory to save the lost, God shall restore it again to Him as Son of man in the appointed day.

 

[Page 34]

1. The children of Israel “shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy Mount at Jerusalem Isa. 27: 12, 13; Psa. 95: 6.

 

 

2. “It shall come to pass that from one new moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the Lord.  And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me, for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all fleshIsa. 66: 23, 24.

 

 

3. “Every one that is left of all the nations that came up against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles Zech. 14: 16.

 

 

4. When the Father a second time introduces the First-begotten into the habitable earth, He saith, “And let all the angels of God worship HimHeb. 1: 6 (Greek).

 

 

It was much more to the Apostle’s purpose to show that equality with God, which of right belonged to Christ; than to speak of the Saviour’s not coveting or not attempting to seize on a perfection belonging to another. And the Philippians were to be taught, not tightly to retain their privileges as Roman citizens, to which they had right by their birth; but to stoop to inferiors.  Paul does not accuse the saints at Philippi of an attempt to snatch things desirable from others; but he instructs them, like Christ, to give up what was theirs.  Lowliness and unselfishness were to drive out the spirit of caste.

 

 

When the Father declared the Saviour to be His Son, it led Him at once into conflict with Satan in the wilderness.  And Israel resisted with increasing hatred His declarations of His being the Son of God till, they put Him, to death.  Even after death His name is [Page 35] scornfully rejected.  In their accusation of Stephen we read: “We heard him say, that this Jesus, the Nazarite, shall take down this place (the temple), and change the customs which Moses handed down to us

 

 

“God granted Him a name” - “Jesus” - before His birth.  The angel of the Lord says: “She shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sinsMatt. 1: 21; Luke 1: 31. Simple as is the name, it contains within it the promise of the salvation of a multitude whom none can number.

 

 

The gift of a name by a king was an honour not bestowed, save on those with whom he was well pleased.  So Pharaoh in exalting Joseph calls his name Zaphnath Paaneah: Gen. 41.

 

 

And to Daniel is given the name of Belteshazzar, by way of honour: Dan. 5: 11.

 

 

So Jehovah changed in part the names of Abram and of Sarai.  And he says to David, “I have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth2 Sam. 7.  But the name of the Son of David is greater far.  David’s was great on earth; but here is one who is to be ruler of three worlds. Caesar, the name of Rome’s king, is great: ‘Jesus’ is Lord of heaven and earth.

 

 

10. “In order that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and those on earth, and those under the earth

 

 

This glory is to be manifested in the coming day appointed by God.  Of this Joseph’s exaltation from the dungeon to be next the throne of Pharaoh, was a type.  Heralds shouted before Joseph “Bow the knee

 

 

When the hour of the Saviour’s humiliation had come, His dignity was mocked.  The soldiers clothe Jesus, when condemned, with a scarlet robe, plait a crown of thorns, and “put it on His head, with a reed in His right hand; and they bowed the knee before Him, [Page 36] and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail (rejoice), King of the Jews  And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on the headMatt. 27: 28-30.

 

 

But in the coming day the bending of the knee will be the adoration of Him as divine.  “As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to GodRom. 14.

 

 

In this Gospel-day some gladly bend the knee to Christ, and confess Him Lord, not by the lip only, but with the heart.  He calls believers to confess His Lordship by being immersed: Acts 2: 38.

 

 

Intelligent beings are here divided into three orders, according to their abode.  They are to celebrate Christ by the posture of the body suited to adoration; and by the tongue, which bespeaks intelligent worship rendered Him by both soul and spirit.

 

 

So we read in Rev. 5: 13: “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever

 

 

Christ has belonged to the three classes.

 

 

1. Originally residing in heaven, He stooped to become a man on earth.  And at length He died, and descended among the dead [in the underworld of ‘Hades’].  But God by resurrection lifted Him out from Hadees, and set Him for forty days among the men of earth.  Then He caused Him to ascend to the angels.  But beyond the highest of those, He lifted up Jesus to His own right hand.  His divine glory shall one day be manifested by the obedience and worship of the elect angels.

 

 

The saved of earth shall, most of them, pass through these three classes.  Inhabitants of earth, at death they go down among the dead; but shall be raised and ascend to dwell in the heavenly city of God.  The immersion of the believer represents him as one with Christ in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascent. [Page 37] Till then they are not fully ready to go up to Christ.  For when did our Lord ascend?  Only after His death, and burial, and resurrection.

 

 

Some may doubt, whether those of the underworld are departed spirits in Hadees.  Let us then look at some texts which speak on this point.

 

 

What says our Lord, when speaking of His death?

 

 

“An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas; for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earthMatt. 12: 39, 40.

 

 

Does that mean that His body should lie in the tomb of the rock?  By no means.  The rock was hardly the skin of the earth.  Jonah was in the deep interior of the fish and was sensible of his situation.  The corpse of the Saviour was not sensible, while laid in the tomb.

 

 

He expounded the matter to us more clearly when He said to the penitent robber, “Verily, I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise  The Paradise then of the departed is “in the heart of the earth”.

 

 

Peter at Pentecost says of the Saviour, “He (David) seeing this before spake concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His, soul was not left in Hadees, neither did His flesh, [in the tomb] see corruptionActs 2: 31.

 

 

And Paul says: “Who shall descend into the bottomless pit (Greek) that is, to bring up Chris again from the deadRom. 10: 7.  And in Ephesians: “Now that He (Christ) ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?:” Eph. 4: 9.

 

 

Then, in relation to the saved departed, our Lord says, “On this rock [Christ Himself risen] I will build My Church, and the gates of Hadees shall not [as they [Page 38] now do] prevail against it  As neither did they prevail against the Great Head.  “Because it was not possible that He should be holden [fast] by itActs 2. Our Lord says: “I have the keys of Hadees, and of DeathRev. 1: 18.

 

 

When the Lamb takes the Book - “Every creature which is in (1) heaven, and on the (2) earth, and (3) under the earth, and such as are in the sea, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and everRev. 5.  Also at the final judgment - when the earth flees away.  “The sea gave up the dead which were in it, and Death and Hadees gave up the dead which were in them Rev. 20.

 

 

“And every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”  Already evil spirits that have entered into men are obliged to come out when commanded in this Name.  Through using effectually this Name to the Pythoness, Paul and Silas were degraded, and made to suffer.  If any Jew should confess, that Jesus was the Christ, it was agreed among the rulers, that he should be put out of the synagogue: John 9.  Peter at Pentecost testifies, that “God had made the same Jesus whom they had crucified, both Lord and Christ

 

 

Many already confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, by immersion into His name (Acts 2: 38), and by acts of worship, as prayer and thanksgiving.

 

 

1. Jesus is the Saviour’s human name, given Him before He was born.

 

 

2. ‘Christ,’ or ‘the Anointed’ is the name given to distinguish Him from Joshua, who was not, anointed.  It is a name applied to the Saviour after His baptism, when the Holy Ghost descended on Him as the dove.

 

 

3. “Lord” is the name given after His resurrection.  “God hath made that same Jesus whom ye crucified, both Lord and Christ  The Saviour was ‘Lord’ by nature.   But He emptied Himself of that glory, to [Page 39] become a servant.  He is promoted to be Lord, or Ruler and Disposer of all things, and of all beings: Luke 2: 29; Acts 4: 24.  He has purchased all by His self-humiliation unto death: 2 Pet. 2: 1; Jude 4; Rev. 6: 10.  He shall resume ‘the form of God which for awhile, for our sakes, He had given up.

 

 

The Roman emperors stole this title of our Lord, and their subjects proclaimed and enforced the worship of the emperors, in opposition to the worship of Christ.  When the full time of wickedness is come, a Roman emperor exalts himself above every God and every object of worship, speaking blasphemy against Jehovah.  The height of his sin is his session in the temple at Jerusalem, demanding and receiving sole worship; while he sets up an image of himself, to which adoration is to be paid; to the glory of Satan, who has exalted him to his throne: Rev. 13.

 

 

“To the glory of God the Father

 

 

The Saviour’s Jewish foes declared, that He cast out demons through BeeIzebub, prince of the demons: Matt. 12.  When He was crucified, they sneered at Him, for presumptuously calling Himself ‘Son of God as was proved, to their minds, by His not being delivered from the cross.  “He trusted in God let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him; for He said: ‘I am the Son of God:’” Matt. 27.

 

 

The rejection of Christ by men was a reproach to God the Father.  It shall be seen in the coming Day of His Glory, that God is indeed His Father.  “For unto which of the angels said He at any time, ‘Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee And again, ‘I will be to Him a Father and He shall be to Me a Son And when He again bringeth in the First begotten into the habitable earth He saith: ‘And let all the angels of God worship Him:’” Heb. 1.  The Righteous Judge cannot but exalt His Son, as the One alone worthy to have dominion over all the works of His hands.

 

[Page 40]

So, while we cannot descend from our place at our own choice, as did Christ; we may yet imitate Him by a kind and condescending spirit.  And as we are made ‘sons of God’ by grace, we may, if counted worthy, reign with Him a thousand years.

 

 

12, 13. “So then, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only,

but now much more in my absence, with fear and trembling work out your

own salvation.  For it is God who worketh in you both the willing

and the doing, in pursuance of His good pleasure

 

 

Here we have set before us the practical consequences of the preceding instructions of the Apostle, Obey!

 

 

“Work out your own salvation

 

 

Salvation as it was a gift, was already theirs.  But there was to be yet seeking on their part for the ‘prize’ of their calling.  And in order to this, care, and adhesion to the commands given, were required.  Of the blest result at last, and of the spotless obedience on the way, Christ is the perfect example.

 

 

The spirit in which the prize was to be sought, was “Fear” and “trembling

 

 

The first of these words relates, I believe, to their feeling toward God.  It was to be, as our Lord tacitly hints, the contrary to Israel’s vain-glorious promise at Horeb.  “All that the Lord hath said, will we do, and be obedient  They knew neither the strictness of Jehovah, nor their own unruliness; and the covenant was broken in forty days.  Writing to the Hebrew Christians therefore, Paul says: “Wherefore let us, receiving a kingdom unshaken, hold grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear; for moreover, ‘Our God is a consuming fire:’” Heb. 12: 28, 29.

 

 

So in Romans the Apostle puts the fear of God as the contrast to vain trust in self, “Because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith.  Be not high-minded, but fearRom. 11.  “Trembling” [Page 41] rather becomes you in view of your weakness, and the danger of the loss of the great [Millennial] glory proposed to you.

 

 

“Work out or “work down” to the end set before you.  God has given you a height from which it is comparatively easy to work on to the completion of the task.  He has made you sons, and then He calls on you to “seek first the Kingdom of God

 

 

He works in you both the willingness to run the race, and the steady pursuit of it.  Beware, then, lest you provoke Him, as did Israel of old, till His oath went forth, that they should not enter His rest.  If the Most High leave you to yourself, you will fare no better than provoking Israel, and lose the splendid object which God presents to you.

 

 

He works in you to this end, not as a matter of justice, but of grace.  For, “He resists the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble  “Fear not, little flock; it was your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom  “Now the righteous by faith shall live; but if he draw back, My soul hath no pleasure in himHeb. 10.

 

 

14. “Do all things without murmurings and disputings, that ye may become blameless

and harmless, children of God without spot in the midst of a crooked and perverse

generation, among whom ye appear as light-bearers in the world: Holding up

the Word of Life; a boasting to me in the day of Christ, that I have

not run in vain, or laboured in vain

 

 

Just the contrary to this was the course of Rome, and of her colonies; indeed ’tis the nature of men generally. Ambition seeking self-exaltation was abroad, party-spirit too, envy, and strife.  It was the sad contrast to the Saviour’s self-humbling, and seeking the good of others in lowliness and love.

 

 

The Philippian believers were by nature of the world’s spirit; and the Apostle bids them become, by the power of God, of the opposite tempers.  Outsiders complained of the perpetual elbowing and strife; evil [Page 42] words flew fast; and out of them came the plotting and doing mischief.  They were to be “children of God” without spot; a contrast in spirit, word, and deed to the ambitious, envious, dissatisfied, around them.

 

 

The generation around them were seed of the Old Serpent, “crooked” and deceitful, choosing a life against God, and against their own real interests.  The world is dark, and they as saints were to be God’s light-bearers. This the Saviour appointed at the opening of His first sermon.  “Ye are the light of the world  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven

 

 

Is there here an allusion to the jailor’s call, when awaked by the earthquake, and hampered by the darkness around, he called aloud for ‘Lights  God’s truth is light: and it shows the Christian the path he is to tread. The worldly man is a lamp unlit; the Christian a lighted lamp; not designed for himself alone, but to benefit others.

 

 

He is a lighthouse for the tempest-tossed.  He shows life to be within the reach of the lost.  It is “the Word of Life*  As presented at first to them, it was given from the lips of Paul.  It was now confirmed by his pen.

 

* Some of the Roman emperors bore with them ‘books of death  They wrote down in them the names of those whom they intended to slay.

 

 

‘The Acts’ shows us how the foundation was laid.  But the foundation is to be followed by the superstructure. Faith is the true foundation; but Christ looks for works as the fruit.  Reward is at last to be granted according to works.

 

 

So would they be a recommendation of Paul, and of the commission given him by the Lord Jesus.  They would show in the Great Day of Christ, that he had behaved with all diligence and uprightness.  Not vain were his travels from Jerusalem to Rome.  Not in vain [Page 43] had the Lord called him from Asia into Europe.  How beautiful to the eyes of God were these children of His! beautiful even to the eye of the candid of the world.

 

 

17, 18. “But even if I be poured out as a libation on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all.  In like manner do ye also joy and rejoice with me

 

 

Even if Paul should be slain, as he was a little later on, he would be as the drink-offering of wine poured over the sacrifice and service of the Philippians’ faith.  This marks the new style of Christian sacrifice brought in by the Gospel.

 

 

Under the law it was, “And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even, and shalt do thereto according to the meat-offering of the morning, and according to the drink-offering thereof, for a sweet savour, an offering made by fire to the LordEx. 29.  “Then shall he that offereth his offering unto the Lord bring a meal-offering of a tenth-deal of flour, mingled with the fourth part of a hin of oil.  And the fourth part of a hin of wine for a drink-offering shalt thou prepare with the burnt-offering or sacrifice, for one lambNum. 15: 5.

 

 

Paul would rejoice in the fulfilling of his course, conformed to the pattern of Christ’s death, and [as a consequence, the] assurance of a place in the First Resurrection.

 

 

Here is the new light brought in by the resurrection of Christ, which scatters the darkness of the tomb.  That rests on nature, and on the law of Moses.  The death of a believer, yea, not even his violent death is to be celebrated with heavy sorrow such as we read of in the Acts after the stoning of the Lord’s servant, Stephen.  It was a time of great persecution; before which the Church of Jerusalem was broken up.  “But (not ‘And’) pious men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over himActs 8: 2.  While Christians were afraid and fled from Jerusalem, earnest men of the Law mourned over Stephen unrighteously cut off.

 

[Page 44]

The Philippian Christians were not to seek to avenge Paul’s death, as under the law.  Nor would he say, as did Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, “The Lord look upon it [my blood] and require it :” 2 Chron. 24: 20, 21.

 

 

19-24. “But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy quickly to you, that I also may be of good cheer, having learned news of your affairs.  For I have none like-minded who will genuinely

be careful for your interests.  For all are seeking their own interests; not those of Christ

Jesus.  But ye know the proof of him, that as a child with a father, he has served with

me in the Gospel.  Him then I hope to send, immediately, as soon as I shall

see clearly the issue of my own case.  But I trust in the Lord,

that I also shall come quickly

 

 

Twice the Apostle ‘hopes’ to send Timothy.  He speaks more confidently concerning himself.  ‘I trust and not ‘in the flesh, but in the Lord to come myself in person.

 

 

He praises greatly both Timothy and Epaphroditus.  So also does the Lord Jesus freely give praise wherever He can.

 

 

In our day and land, there is great parsimony of praise among believers.  Some would tell you, they are afraid of puffing up those whom they commend.  How is it that men are wiser than God?  What says Paul?  “I am become a fool in boasting; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended by you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing2 Cor. 12.

 

 

The Apostle in the verses under notice is tacitly acting out himself the instructions he has given in verses 3 and 4 of this chapter.  “In lowliness of mind let each esteem others more than themselves  How he praises, and so heartily, Timothy and Epaphroditus!  About his own praises he is silent: ver. 24.

 

 

Again: “Look not each on his own interests, but each also on the interests of others  Would not Paul, in the lowliness of his imprisonment have wished to retain with him both the brethren whom, he so praises?  [Page 45] No doubt!  But the Philippians’ interests required him to send away both; and without a murmur he submits.

 

 

Even in the Apostle’s day [regenerate] believers were pressing on to secure their own temporal interests, rather than those of Christ.  But Timothy might be trusted with heartiness to seek the spiritual interests of the Philippians.  He would second the commands given by Paul, and lead them on zealously to secure the prize of their calling.

 

 

25-30. “But I considered it necessary to send you Epaphroditus, my brother, and fellow-labourer, and fellow-soldier, but your apostle, and waiter upon my need.  For he was longing after

you all, and cast down, because ye heard that he was sick.  And indeed he was sick,

and near death; but God had mercy upon him, and not on him alone, but

on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.

 

 

“The more diligently, therefore, did I send him, in order that when ye see him

again ye may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful.

 

 

“Receive him therefore in the Lord with all joy, and hold such worthy of honour;

because for the work of Christ he drew near to death, not regardful of his life,

that he might fill up your lack of service to me

 

 

But little need be said on these verses.  They exhibit a beautiful picture of Christian affection and sympathy.

 

 

By the statement that Epaphroditus was ‘their apostle,’ I do not think it is meant, that he was commissioned by the church to travel to Paul with their gift; but that he was angel, or stationary Apostle of the Church at Philippi.  And then we have the three orders of church officers noted in this epistle, (1) apostle, (2) joint-bishops, and (3) deacons.

 

 

Epaphroditus was indeed sick, almost to death, by having overworked himself in service to Paul.

 

 

Some in our day seem to think that the Christian ought never to be ill; that it bespeaks some sin in him, [Page 46] which God has visited with illness as a token of His displeasure.  What shall we say then of the Christian’s death?  Ought he ever to die; at least by internal, disorder?  He must be sharp-sighted, who can see such an implication here!  The good man is praised for such hard work as he engaged in on Paul’s behalf.  And such are worthy of honour, says the Holy Spirit; for work for Christ, or for His body, the Church, is of more importance than life.  The world might count Epaphroditus a fool for jeopardizing his life; but they were not so to regard the matter.  It was service to Christ, and that is a matter more important than life.

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

CHAPTER III

 

 

1. “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.  To write the same things to you,

to me indeed is not irksome, but for you it is safe

 

 

The kingdom being taken away from Israel and given to the Gentiles, the Jews are regarded ecclesiastically, so to speak.  The subject of rejoicing, and that a joy in Christ, occurs more than once in this epistle.

 

 

The grounds of the rejoicing of the men of law were very different from the Christian’s under grace.  In the law, or the five books of Moses, we have never mention, I believe, of rejoicing in the Lord.  The Jew must rejoice in his portion in the land; he could not rejoice in his own righteousness.

 

 

1. He was to rejoice before the Lord seven days, when he had gathered in the fruit of the land; it was the Feast of Tabernacles, when he was to dwell in booths made of the branches of trees.  And he was to [Page 47] keep the feast in Jerusalem.  When they had arrived at the land of promise, and were dwelling in peace and safety, they were to rejoice together, families, servants, and the Levites, at the city of God’s choice: Deut. 12.

 

 

“There shall ye eat before the Lord your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the Lord thy God hath blessed thee

 

 

This is the first ‘finally another occurs in 4: 8.  If I mistake not, the first ‘finally’ refers to the joy arising out of the first knowledge of Christ, as our Righteousness; the second relates to the after-knowledge, connected with the hope of the First Resurrection.

 

 

The phrase ‘Rejoice in the Lord’ occurs first in the Psalms, and very significantly the command is given in connection with righteousness.  “Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteousPsa. 33: 1.  See again Isa. 61: 10: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation; He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness A third example of joy in the Lord is found in the ninety-seventh Psalm, where the joy is over the [messianic] Kingdom of God and of [Messiah’s] glory come.

 

 

The sentiment and the phrase occur also in the New Testament, and the call to joy is given by our Lord. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven Matt. 5: 12; Luke 6: 22, 23.  That must be a robust joy, which can find occasion to arise in the midst of trouble.  It is a joy derived from [Messiah’s millennial] glory to come.  Reviled on earth, the Christian is to rejoice over a name written in heaven: Luke 10: 20.  It is a “rejoicing in hope for God will anoint His [‘accounted worthy’*] people in the coming day with “the oil of gladness

 

[* Luke 20: 35, R.V.]

 

 

“To write the same things to you, to me is not irksome, but for you it is safe

 

[Page 47]

What are ‘the same things’ which Paul was not tired of repeating, and that were profitable to the Philippian saints?  I think it is the rejoicing in the Lord, which is noticed in various forms some eighteen times in this brief epistle.

 

 

This falls in very readily too with the following context, where the righteousness of the Gospel is contrasted with that of the law.

 

 

2, 3. “Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workmen, beware of the slashing.

For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God, and

boast in Christ Jesus, and trust not in the flesh

 

 

Thrice the article is used in the description.  The parties were well known.

 

 

1. “Beware of the dogs

 

 

The Gentiles were “dogs,” as being unbelieving and unclean.  The people of Israel were God’s ‘holy people“Ye shall be holy men unto Me; neither shall ye eat any flesh that is torn by beasts in the field; ye shall cast it to the dogsEx. 22: 31; Lev. 22: 8; Deut. 7: 6.  But now Israel, as unbelieving in Christ, was no longer holy.  They had refused John the Baptist, and the Prophet promised by Moses, and God was requiring it of them: Deut. 18.

 

 

We have been washed.

 

 

2. “Beware of the evil workmen

 

 

1. They were ‘evil workmen in misinstructing those whom they drew over to law.  “Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselvesMatt. 23.

 

 

2. They were ‘evil workmen’ in resisting the Gospel of God’s grace and in seeking to slay those that belonged to Christ.  Observe, Paul does not teach, that one religion is as good as another, if you are only ‘sincere

 

[Page 49]

3. “Beware of the slashers”* (literally, ‘slashing)  They regarded the mark in the flesh alone, and refused the reality which was intended to be set forth in emblem.

 

* This seems the true reading.

 

 

The two forms of law: (1) the law of man and of Rome, and (2) the law of God, were both opposed to the Gospel of the grace of God; and the men of law, both men of Rome, and men of Israel, joined to afflict Paul.  In neither of the two forms of law was righteousness before God to be found.

 

 

This then is a caution like that given to the Galatians.

 

 

‘Be not led back from Christ and grace, to Moses, flesh, and law.  There is in law nothing but a curse for the sinner

 

 

“For ye are the circumcision

 

 

Even under Moses, the reality of holiness, of which circumcision was the sign, was called for.  “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-neckedDeut 10: 16; 30: 6; Lev. 26: 41.  “Behold their ear is uncircumcised; and they cannot hearkenJer. 6: 10.  “Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do yeActs 7: 51.

 

 

It is remarkable, that baptism, as the sign of the acceptance of the Gospel, is not named here; while such stress is laid on circumcision.  But [believers’] baptism is not forgotten; it has a prominent place given it in the history of the preaching at Philippi; and in reference to the two groups of which the Church there at first consisted.

 

 

1. Lydia “was baptized and her household

 

 

2. The jailor “took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his straightwayActs 16.  The baptism too of Paul, the preacher at Philippi, is thrice recorded in the Acts.

 

 

Now come three characteristics of the true circumcision, in opposition to three characters of ‘the slashing 

 

 

“Who worship by the Spirit of God.”`

 

[Page 50]

The Jews worship by the fallen flesh of man; and the flesh is unclean.  We worship the Father in sincerity and truth: John 4.  Theirs is ceremonial religion without heart, But the Holy Spirit has begotten again those who are Christ’s; that they may worship in faith and love.

 

 

“And boast in Christ Jesus

 

 

Israel boasts in Moses, and in their superiority over the Gentiles.  And Moses condemns them.  “There is one that accuseth you, even Moses in whom ye trust  They boast of Abraham; but Abraham owns them not as true sons.  We boast in Jesus, the Second Adam anointed with the Holy Ghost, and able to bring His people into their inheritance; while Moses is shut out of the land.  “Neither they that are circumcised keep the law, but desire to have you circumcised, that they may boast in your flesh.  But God forbid that I should boast, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world is crucified to me, and I unto the world.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation(Greek) Gal. 6.

 

 

We boast in Christ as our Righteousness, and His being our round of resurrection.

 

 

“And trust not in the flesh

 

 

[Redeemed] Israel trusted in the flesh, its promises and performances.  “All that Jehovah hath said we will do, and be obedient  We know how soon that promise was falsified.  Fallen flesh, in which dwelleth no good thing, is unfit to serve God.  “Blessed are the poor in spirit [the opposite to the boasters in the flesh], for theirs is the kingdom of heaventhe kingdom of the thousand years.  The visible entrance into the Church of Christ, is by immersion, which is the death and burial of the flesh.

 

 

Moses, at the conclusion of the law promises from God that circumcision of the heart, and love of God, which we have now : Dent. 30: 1-6; Col. 2: 11.

 

 

4-6. “Although I am in possession of ground of confidence, even in the flesh.  Circumcised

the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew

of Hebrews; concerning law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal,

persecuting the Church; concerning the righteousness

which is in the law having proved blameless

 

 

He who here calls Gentiles away from trusting in the law is not a Gentile, nor one who could not boast in the flesh.  He had more and weightier boasts on this ground than most of Israel, or perhaps than any one who rested on Moses and his own deserts.  Men of law could not say against Paul, ‘You cry ‘The grapes are sour;’ because they are beyond your reach

 

 

Seven are Paul’s boasts; divided, as usual, into four and three; or more accurately still 1 + 3 + 3 = 7.

 

 

The four first relate to his purity of descent, and to the initial rite of law.  Confidence in the flesh or distrust of it made the great difference between Jew and Christian.

 

 

The three last give us a view of his life as a son of the law.  When he arrived at manhood he acted out the principles of which he boasted.

 

 

1. “Circumcised the eighth day

 

 

He was no proselyte, circumcised in later life: but he was bound over to keep the whole law on the very day named in the covenant of circumcision made with Abraham.

 

 

2. “Of the stock of Israel

 

 

A son of Abraham by the line of Jacob.

 

 

3. “Of the tribe of Benjamin

 

 

He belonged not to any of the ten tribes, that fell away to idolatry; but was one of the two that adhered to David and his house.  The temple too was fixed in the lot of Benjamin.

 

 

4. “An Hebrew sprung from Hebrews

 

 

His line was not defiled by the admission of any Gentile, on the male or female side.

 

[Page 52]

 

Now come the three boasts resting on his conduct after having attained to manhood.

 

 

5. “As regards law, a Pharisee

 

 

He belonged not to the unorthodox sect of the Sadducees.

 

 

6. “As regards zeal, persecuting the Church - An evil workman.

 

 

No doubt this was in the eyes of the Jews a merit and a boast, that scarce any other Jew could assert.

 

 

7. “As it regards the righteousness that is in the law, having proved blameless

 

 

So he said, while trusting in the flesh.

 

 

It is not said “Having been found blameless He is speaking of himself as looked at by Israel.  At the time he broke away from Moses, he was not, and never had been, under any censure, as a defaulter or transgressor against law.

 

 

‘How then could he be condemned by law  The last of the ten commandments overthrew all his righteousness.  “Thou shalt not covet  He had never stolen but he had coveted.  “For I was alive without the law once; but when the [10th] commandment came, sin revived and I died.  And the commandment which was for life, I found to be unto deathRom. 7.

 

 

When the Jewish rite is looked at by Paul the Christian, it is put last with a note of displeasure.

 

 

“Slashing When regarded by Paul, as a Jew, it is called by its usual name, “circumcision and is put first in the picture of righteousness under law, because it bound a man to observe all the law.

 

 

7. “But the things that were to me gains, these I counted loss because of the Christ

 

 

These seven boasts were to Paul’s mind of nature, his ‘gains  But he stands here upon the ground of the Saviour’s parable about the Pearl of Great Price.  “Again the kingdom of the heavens is like to a [Page 53] merchant-man seeking beautiful pearls  His seven boasts were seven pearls according to law, for Israel was set by Moses to win righteousness.  “Righteousness, righteousness shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live and inherit the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee(Hebrew) Deut. 16, 20.

 

 

“But when he had found one pearl of great value, he went away, sold all that he had, and bought it

 

 

This is what the Apostle tells us here that he did.  He gave up all the previous pearls of his acquirement, smitten with a sense of the superiority of the righteousness of the Christ.

 

 

It illustrates also for us the parable of the Wedding garment.  The king, before his son enters, casts a look around on the guests mustered for the feast; and finds one who has come into the banquet-room in his working-clothes.  “Comrade, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment?  And he was speechless  Men in general are but too ready to justify themselves even at the expense of truth.  And here was a ready excuse for him; that he had been invited, from working on the highway, to enter the marriage feast.  ‘Whence should a poor man like himself be able to procure apparel suited to a royal feast  This, then, was a defence which he knew he could not offer, without being condemned.  That supposes then, that on entering the palace, he had had presented to him a robe, which the servants told him was provided by the king for all who would have part in the wedding-feast of the king’s son.  He must, therefore, have refused it in pride.  And though, on entering the hall, he finds the other guests apparelled in the wedding-garment provided by the king he still doggedly keeps his place, and his soiled garments.

 

 

“Then said the king to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and take him away, and cast him into the darkness outside: there shall be weeping and gnashing [Page 54] of teeth:” Matt. 22.  He who will keep [only]* his own righteousness has no right to a place in the coming [millennial] glory.*

 

[* See Matt. 5: 20; 7: 21.  There must be a distinction made between the eternal ‘glory’ in “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21: 1), from the coming millennial “glory” which will, after Messiah’s second advent, be established and seen throughout this sin-cursed earth, (Rom. 8: 18-22, R.V.).]

 

 

Paul esteemed his previous gains “loss  So entirely were his views changed.  And his soul was in harmony with the testimony of the prophet. - “We are all as an unclean thing; and all our righteousnesses are as filthy ragsIsa. 64: 6.

 

 

One of his former boasts proclaims him (1) persecutor of the members of Christ.  The seven boasts kept (2) him from accepting the righteousness of Christ, by fostering his pride.  (3) They kept him from eternal life and [millennial] glory.

 

 

“Loss, because of the Christ

 

 

The article before ‘Christ’ is important; as it presents to us ‘Christ the Head, and His members in union with Him or ‘The Mystic Christ as we find it written in another place.  “For as the Body is one, and hath many members, but all the members of the one Body, being many, are one Body; so also is THE CHRIST 1 Cor. 12: 12.

 

 

Now this truth is vividly presented to us on the occasion of Paul’s arrest by the Lord Jesus.  “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou ME  “Who art Thou, Lord  “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest  The persecuted saints are identified by Christ with Himself.  And Paul was struck with astonishment and dread, at his guilt, and his danger.  This testimony of the Lord Jesus was the foundation-principle of his new faith.  And none seems to have felt with so overwhelming a force this blessed truth, as the Apostle who was once the chief persecutor unto death of the members of Christ.  Therefore this scene, and in almost the same words, is given thrice in the Acts.

 

 

1. First it is recorded by Luke in its place in the history: Acts 9.

 

 

2. Then twice is it appealed to by Paul, as the warrant for his change from Judaism to Christ.  First [Page55] at Jerusalem, before the people, infuriated at his alleged defilement of the temple: chap. 22.

 

 

3. Then before King Agrippa the Jew, and Festus the Roman governor, at the Gentile capital, Cesarea chap. 26.

 

 

This view of the Christ on high in the glory of God confessing believers of this dispensation to be His members, overpowered all resistance in the Apostle’s mind.  He beheld “Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemptionthat, according as it is written, ‘He that boasteth, let him boast in the Lord:’” 1 Cor. 1: 30, 31.  And so he ever after did.  With all his heart he sought thenceforward to be one of the members of that Risen and Glorified Head, Christ Jesus.  What was Israel, (God’s people after the flesh,) what were his boasts under law, to be compared with the glory of the Son of God?

 

 

Let us glance at the blessings promised by law; and we shall see how shallow and brief they seemed to the Apostle, as compared with the glories which he beheld in ‘the Christ or the Son of God risen [out] from the dead, and in His companions.

 

 

The blessings to be gained by obedience are detailed both in (1) Leviticus, and in (2) Deuteronomy. Why?  Israel, if obedient, was to be blessed, as kings and priests to Jehovah.  Leviticus takes up their portion as priests; Deuteronomy, their blessing as kings.  To us that is given, which they were called to earn.  “Unto Him that loveth us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood; and made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever AmenRev. 1.

 

 

(1) Israel, if obedient, was to have rain from heaven, heavy crops of the field and from the trees, splendid vintages, bread to the full, and safety in their land.  They were to enjoy peace; or if enemies came against them, they were to be scattered and slain.  Their children were to be numerous, their stores of provision [Page 56] large.  God would dwell with them in His tabernacle, in their land; He would be their God and they His people: Lev. 26.  Then comes a view of the curses on disobedience.  After that, if they repented, God would return to them, and fulfil the unconditional promises made to Abraham.

 

 

(2) In Deuteronomy 28. we have the twelve tribes divided into two bodies, one of six tribes to proclaim the blessings; and one of the remaining six to proclaim the curses.  But the curses come first, and shut out the blessings.

 

 

If obedient, Israel was to be exalted above every nation of earth.  They were to be blessed whether in city or country; blest in their families, and their crops; victorious over foes, a holy people.  The nations should be afraid of them, because of their favour with Jehovah.  Heaven should be open to them to pour down its rain for blessing.  They should be the rich nation, lending to other nations, and not borrowing.  But if they became disobedient, all this would be reversed.  They should be taken back into Egypt, and sold into slavery.

 

 

But a hope is attached to God’s grace, to be put forth on them in the latter day: Deut. 30.

 

 

Which then would they choose?  Life or death?

 

 

We can see, then, how Paul’s eye, enlightened to discern the righteousness of Christ and the spiritual and eternal blessings in Him, could look with comparative contempt on these national and earthly blessings, when viewed in the light of the glory of Christ, and of those united to Him, “His fellows

 

 

In verse 8 we have Paul’s present mature thoughts as compared with his first sentiments.

 

 

‘But the Greek verb is in the perfect tense, and that includes the present effects of his change of view

 

 

Yes; but the sentiment of verse 8 is a new one, greatly enlarged beyond the statement in verse 7.  His previous knowledge was that of law, and of his own righteousness in accordance therewith. But now he rejects everything [Page 57] that stands in the way of the knowledge of Christ, and he accounts all to be not only ‘loss but ‘dung

 

 

8. “Yea, moreover, and I count all things to be loss, because of the superiority of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and I count

them but dung, that I may gain Christ

 

 

Here is advance upon the statements of the preceding verse.  Not merely did he count his seven boasts ‘loss,’ but all other things that would turn him away from the knowledge of the new object, Christ.

 

 

He had previously been learned in the law of Moses, and the traditions of the Pharisees, beyond his equals in age.  He had learned concerning Adam, his first brightness, his fall and his sentence.  But here was the last Adam, arisen out of death [and ‘Hades,’ the place of the dead*], bringing righteousness and eternal life not to be won from law.  Law properly lowered man’s vain thoughts of himself by weighing him in God’s balances; but it did not supply his need of a righteousness in which to stand before the Judge.  Moses displayed to man his debts which he could not pay.  But in Christ he now saw the Law Fulfiller.  The unclean, upon touching the fringe of the robe of Jesus – “the Lord our Righteousness,” became cleansed and righteous.

 

[* Acts 2: 31, R.V.]

 

 

Moses was once Paul’s master, now it is “Christ Jesus my Lord  “This is My Beloved Son hear Him Observe here the change in the description of the Saviour.  It is no longer “the Christ” Mystic; the Apostle speaks of “Christ Jesus my Lord  He is now speaking of Christ as the individual, the risen Son of God.

 

 

Moses was a sinner, shut out of the land, and buried by God in some spot unknown.  But ‘Christ Jesus,’ who was laid in the sepulchre for others’ sins, has left the tomb empty, to seat Himself at God’s right hand in heavenly places.

 

 

“For whom I have suffered the loss of all things

 

[Page 58]

With the giving up of Moses as his master he lost the earthly heritage and benefits attached to law.  While obedient to the Old Covenant, he was to enjoy all fleshly blessings in earthly places.  When he turned away he lost his former reputation, and became a turn-coat and a madman.  What a proof it was of the reality and intensity of his convictions, that he was content to be so despoiled!  But the truth he taught others, he felt himself.  “Through many troubles we must enter the [millennial] kingdom of God

 

 

“And I count them but dung

 

 

What was the value of all that he had lost?  What was it, in comparison of what he had gained instead? ‘Dung He had won instead “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ He made no effort to recover, in whole or in part, what he had been despoiled of.  As the father of Mr. Wesley said of his burning house, after his children were set in safety, “Let the house go, neighbours; I have here all my children  How unlike to robbed Micah, “Ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and ye are gone away, and what have I more

 

 

The Saviour when advised to add a fast to those appointed by the law, refused.  His was new wine, which required new bottles of skin.

 

 

“In order that I might gain Christ*

 

* No article before ‘Christ

 

 

The gaining of Christ takes place now.  Else he would not be ‘found in Christ’ in the coming day of account. He was at first a foe of Christ.  He passed over to belong to Christ, as Peter had taught.  “Repent, and be immersed every one of you on the authority of Jesus Christ, unto the remission of sins  Or, as Ananias sent by Christ instructed Paul, “And now why tarriest thou?  Arise, and be immersed, and bathe away thy sins, having called on the name of the Lord Therein was a visible testimony to his [Page 59] nation, to the Church, and to himself, that he had left Moses.  He put off at once both Adam and Moses.  “Wherefore the Law was our school-master up to Christ, that we might be justified by faith  “For ye are all sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many as have been immersed into Christ have put on Christ  Immersion compels a man to carry out the figure.  The old wet clothes must be put off; the new and clean put on.  There is also the coming up ‘out of the water’ (no more to enter it) at Christ’s command.  He gains Christ then who puts off his own righteousness, and unrighteousness; and who, putting on Christ, continues of the same mind and faith to the end.

 

 

9. “And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which comes out of law, but that

which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is out from God on faith*

 

* Or ‘on that faith[See Greek.]  See Note A. Appendix.

 

 

This refers to the coming day of judgment, when a man’s trial is over, and when, after examination by the Judge, he reaps the result of life.  ‘Found’ is a word often occurring in law.  ‘All persons found trespassing will be prosecuted  ‘The verdict was, ‘Found guilty   “Thou art weighed in the balances, and found wanting  “I find in Him no fault at all  See also 2 Cor. 5: 3; 2 Tim. 1: 18; 1 Pet. 1: 7; 2 Pet. 3: 14; Rev. 20: 11, 15.

 

 

Now there is present choice, and activity; then comes the being set passively before the Judge, to receive the award.  Paul would abide in Christ, and so be adjudged in that day to be ‘in Him  For Paul would continue of the same mind to the end.

 

 

“Not having mine own righteousness, which comes out of law

 

 

Where Moses speaks of righteousness, as demanded by God from man, it is to discourage the thought that they had it.  “Speak not thou in thy heart saying, For my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in to possess this landDent. 9: 4.  Job at first holds fast to it.  “My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it goJob 27: 6.  But afterwards he withdraws the vain attempt to establish his righteousness before God.

 

 

The true “My righteousness” is where God speaks, commending it as provided by Himself for lost man.  “Hearken unto Me, ye stout-hearted, that are far from righteousness: I bring near My rightecusness; it shall not be far off, and My salvation (dependent thereon) shall not tarryIsa. 46: 13.  And again, “My righteousness is near; My salvation is gone forth51: 5.

 

 

Paul has set before us his boasts, as the man obedient to law.  Twice is ‘law’ named in his boasts.  “As touching law, a Pharisee  “Touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless

 

 

Moses commanded Israel to seek after righteousness, by obedience to every part of the law.  None could furnish such a righteousness.  But now Gospel-grace first provides a righteousness, and then calls for its fruits.

 

 

When righteousness is said to be, “in the law it is where Paul is describing his choice of law, and his abiding in it.  But here it is “Righteousness out of law  Law is the field - by diligence in cultivation of which, righteousness was to be obtained, as the harvest.  Here it is supposed that the harvest is come, and that righteousness is borne away as the result.

 

 

“Not mine own righteousness  Here Paul strips off his apron of fig-leaves, to put on the coat of skin, of Jehovah’s making.  He puts away, not his sins, but the best products of his life.  He saw the fatal defects of his own righteousness.  “The mind of the flesh is enmity against GodRom. 8.  How should [Page 61] enmity love God with all the heart?  Law forbids lusts.  “I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not lust” (covet): Rom. 7: 7.  But wherever the flesh is found, there are “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life

 

 

Righteousness then is “of faith; that it might be by graceRom. 4: 16.

 

 

“But that which is by means of faith in Christ

 

 

The righteousness is that which was wrought by Christ during His life.  “Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness  Jesus Christ is “the Righteous  Faith in Christ is the hand that puts on Christ.  We are made one with Him, and His righteousness becomes ours.  He who is ‘in Christ’ is righteous with the righteousness of Christ.  “If any sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins1 John 2: 1.  Under law each one was to stand and be judged by his own individual righteousness.  “The man that doeth those things shall live in them” Rom. 10: 4.  But now there is only one righteousness for all the saved.  It is that which once belonged to Another, but is now made available to every one that believeth.  Law’s means of righteousness is doing, or obedience to God’s commands.  The Gospel’s means is belief in the Son of God as our righteousness.  Faith is not righteousness.  It is only the hand that puts it on.  As there is but One owned of God to be righteous by law, “Ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus1 Cor. 6: 11.

 

 

And righteousness is needed; a spotless righteousness, in the Great Day.  “For the wrath of God from heaven is revealed on all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of menRom. 1: 18.

 

 

“The righteousness which is from God on faith

 

 

Literally, the righteousness is “out of God  Therefore it cannot be, as some would have it, the attribute of [Page62] justice, which must ever dwell in God.  It is a righteousness which derives its origin not from man, but from the Most High, and which proceeds from Him to us, and for us.  “Their righteousness is from Me, saith the LordIsa. 54: 17.  “Let the skies pour down righteousness, let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation; and let righteousness spring up together; I Jehovah have created itIsa. 45: 8.  “Surely shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strengthver. 24.  “He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation Psa. 24: 5.  It was to be obtained as Abraham obtained it: Isa. 51: 1, 2.

 

 

Hence it is called in Romans, “the righteousness of God  “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God by faith is revealed to faith as it is written, ‘Now the righteous by faith shall live For the wrath of God from heaven is revealed on all ungodliness and unrighteousnessRom. 1: 16-18.

 

 

And again, “But now the righteousness of God without law hath been manifested, being witnessed by the law, and the prophets.  I mean the righteousness of God, which is by faith in Jesus Christ for all, and on all that believeRom. 3: 21, 22.

 

 

“On faith

 

 

1. The Greek preposition may also be translated as a particle of time.  ‘On faith as soon as it exists.

 

 

2. Or ‘For the benefit of faith

 

 

3. But the translation of the preposition as related to place and the destination of God, is far superior; it means a garment resting on the shoulders of the man of faith.  It is thus brought into connection with other passages.

 

 

1.  After the entrance of sin by our first parents’ disobedience to law, we read as the immediate result: [Page 63] “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons  They feel the need of covering, now that they have received the knowledge of right and wrong.

 

 

But when they appear before God, they are sensible still of nakedness, and Adam’s defence of himself because of his hiding from God, but draws out the proof of his guilt.  “I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself Unrighteousness is nakedness before the Judge; and Adam finds that the covering of his own manufacture is worthless.  But then comes grace.  “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them

 

 

2. Again: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation.  He hath covered me with the robe of righteousnessIsa. 61: 10.

 

 

3. Again: “When the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment. And he saith unto him, ‘Comrade (not ‘friend’), how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?’” Matt. 22.  He was just the opposite to Paul, who put off his own righteousness to take that provided by God.

 

 

4. Again: “Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision? or upon the uncircumcision also?  For we are saying, that faith was reckoned to Abraham unto (not ‘for’) righteousnessRom. 4: 9.

 

 

5. “What then shall we say? that Gentiles who were not pursuing after righteousness, have obtained righteousness, I mean the righteousness which is by faith.  But Israel pursuing after righteousness has not attained to the law of righteousness.  Why?  Because they sought it not by faith, but as (something to come) out of works.  For they stumbled at the stumbling stone.  ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling, [Page 64] and rock of offence and, ‘Every one that believeth on Him shall not be ashamed:’” Rom. 9: 30-33.

 

 

6. Once more: “For they (Jews) being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and attempting to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of law, unto righteousness to every one that believethRom. 10: 3, 4.

 

 

7. “For ye are all sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as were immersed unto Christ, put on Christ Galatians 3: 27.

 

 

8. “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be upon them, and mercy; and on the Israel of God6: 16.*

 

* See also Job 29: 14; John 1: 32, 33; Mark 1: 11; Matt. 3: 16; Luke 2: 22.

 

 

9. But now without law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God, which is by faith in Jesus Christ, for all [provided of God for whoever will] and UPON all them that believe Rom. 3: 22.  Here is the result of the offer; - that righteousness clothes all who believe.

 

 

10. “And a great sign was seen in the heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars

 

 

The woman here is Jerusalem; but not Jerusalem in the attitude of Paul’s day.  She is not trusting to law for her salvation.  Law, - “the moon” - is “under her feet But she is “clothed with the sun  And Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness, the Lord our Righteousness.  Only when law is no longer our dependence, can we be clothed with this sun.

 

 

The source of this righteousness is, not law, but God.  The righteousness is not of my working, but of Christ’s; but as I wear it, and it clothes me, it is mine.  Its effect is God’s glory, who devised it, fulfilled it, and [Page 65] applies it; and not my glory.  Law gives not, and cannot give us the knowledge of our [imputed or accredited] righteousness.

 

 

“For by the law is the knowledge of SINRom. 3: 20.

 

 

11.  And the effects of both sin and righteousness are given in that word: “The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him; and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him Ezek. 18: 20.

 

 

10, 11. “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship

in His sufferings, being conformed unto His death; If by any means I may

attain unto the select resurrection that is from among the dead

 

 

“That I may know Him

 

 

This, I believe, gives us a second and further view of “the superiority of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord named in verse 8.  That was in the next verse, shown to be the finding in Christ a righteousness, which neither Adam nor Moses can bestow.

 

 

Here we have the second step, after the surrender of hopes springing from flesh and from law.  When we take the righteousness of Christ as ours, we become one with Him by faith.  “We are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus1 Cor. 6.

 

 

Law would have us justified in our own name, if we had wrought righteousness ourselves.  While Paul was under Moses, he was high in reputation with Israel; when he took the righteousness of Christ, he was voted “mad  But then he came to know Christ as a person, far more really than before.  He began then to resemble Christ in his character, as under grace; and in his history, as finding men and Satan against him.  But then also there arose to view the prospect of the prize of [millennial] glory set before him.

 

 

1. Take now the Saviour’s final commission to the disciples in Matthew.  The believers go to the appointed Mount in Galilee, to see the Saviour.  Some worship Him; some doubt whether they ought to do so.  Jesus, instead of reproving the worshippers, encourages the [Page 66] doubters to give Him adoration.  He is Lord of all in heaven and on earth.

 

 

“Go ye therefore, (travel) and disciple all the nations, immersing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost

 

 

1. Here we have the FIRST KNOWLEDGE of Christ, as (1) the Risen One, and (2) as the Lord.  On this foundation at once immersion into the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit is to follow.  God is One - and therefore we have - “the Name not “names  In the Unity of God there is a Trinity of Persons.

 

 

2. Then comes the AFTER-KNOWLEDGE.  “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo! I am with you all the days unto the end of the age  After the reception of baptism comes the being instructed in many new truths, even all that was taught by the Saviour.  And His mighty power as Immanuel, ‘God with us,’ is to be experienced day by day, till the ending of this evil age in judgment is come; and obedient disciples are to be caught away out of earth to meet the Saviour in air, and to receive a place in the millennial kingdom of glory.  The [regenerate] believer is to seek first this kingdom, and all that is necessary by the way shall be added.

 

 

II. Take as a second example the Lord’s commission as given in Mark.  The eleven are rebuked by Christ for unbelief in His resurrection, although more than two or three messengers of the truth had been sent them.

 

 

They are to go forth to spread the good news of the Redeemer’s resurrection, far as the world extends.  “He that believeth and is immersed shall be saved; but he that believeth not [though he be immersed] shall be damned  What a proof of the necessity of faith to a right immersion before God!  Baptism without faith avails not to save !

 

 

Then are given signs of the coming millennial kingdom of power and glory.

 

[Page 66]

1. “In My name (believers) shall cast out demons This is a token and testimony of that happy day when Satan and his angels shall be cast into the Bottomless Pit, and the nations shall no longer be deceived.

 

 

2. “They shall speak with new tongues  Grace came with the Holy Spirit; and the power of speaking languages never learned, was one of His gifts.  Probably this may indicate that but one language shall prevail on millennial earth.

 

 

3. “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them  The serpents of earth are the representative of the Tempter, who deceived our first parents, and brought them under death and the curse.  Paul at Malta was an example of the powerlessness of the serpent and his venom against the man of faith.  So shall it be in the Day of the Kingdom.

 

 

4. “They shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover This gift, token of the kingdom in which diseases shall be removed, and death checked, was given as soon as the Holy Spirit came down.

 

 

III.  Let our third and last example be Paul’s leave-taking at Miletus.  He addresses the elders of Ephesus: Acts 20.  Many were his troubles, past and to come.  But he had taught Jews and Gentiles repentance toward God, and faith in Christ.  At Jerusalem, to which he was going up, he might be called even to lay down his life.  But his great object was to fulfil the ministry of the Gospel of the Grace of God, with which Christ had entrusted him. He had proclaimed among them the Gospel of the Kingdom of God also, which is a reward to those obedient to Christ, which shall be distributed according to works.  Having presented both these parts of the counsel of God, he was clear from any reproach by them in the Great Day.  But troubles would arise even from among the elders against which they were to watch.

 

[Page 68]

He committed them to God, and to the word of His grace, which was able to build them up, and to give them inheritance among the sanctified.  Here are both the knowledge of Christ, and the after-knowledge, stated together.

 

 

We have in this passage, I believe, an example of the two great divisions of Christianity: (1) KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST; (2) and AFTER-KNOWLEDGE.  This distinction appears in the two different ways in which Philippi is brought before us.

 

 

1. First we have Paul’s testimony outside the city, his oral teaching beside the river.  Lydia, a worshipper of God, as a proselyte of the law, hears the Apostle’s word, and the Lord (Jesus) opens her heart to attend and believe.  She is baptized, and her household.   Her heart opens to receive Paul and Silas into her house.

Here is the first-fruit of faith.

 

 

Within the city, Paul, shamefully treated and imprisoned, preaches to the jailor Christ, as Lord.  “Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house He speaks to them the word of the Lord.  They are all baptized, and there is joy in God.

 

 

In these two examples we see what is necessary to constitute a disciple.  There must be preaching of the word.  Here it was oral discourse.  The foundations of the faith are declared by God’s messengers; and received by man.  The mouth and heart are won for Christ; and then follows reception of the rite, which proves the man’s acceptance of the truth; and shows, in emblem, the believer’s coming out from the world.  We are taught by Romans 10. that there is first, faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection; and then confession with the mouth, that Jesus is Lord.

 

 

Hence come righteousness and peace; the man is justified before God.  But no sooner is this attained at Philippi, than the messengers are sent away.  How then shall the super-structure be carried on?

 

[Page 69]

With the cessation of oral teaching comes the word written, and it is addressed to all the servants of Christ at Philippi.  The Apostle takes them up from the point at which he had left them, and proceeds to tell them of the further truths which are to guide their life.  The justified are to be led on to sanctification; by the truths not yet made known to them.

 

 

After faith is begun, the hope of their calling, is set before them.  They know Christ as their righteousness; they are now to regard Him as coming back to earth, to bestow reward on His obedient ones.  They are taught concerning the First Resurrection, or the coming forth of God’s approved ones from the tomb to enjoy a thousand years of power, and of joy with Christ.  “Ought not the Christ to suffer, and to enter into His glory

 

 

They are then instructed in the course of life well-pleasing to God.  They are to be “a peculiar people; zealous of good works  They are to await the return of Christ Jesus, in obedience to all His commands.  This is the AFTER-KNOWLEDGE OF CHIRIST.  And in regard of these further truths, disciples are to be forbearing one toward another; and differences of belief are to be borne with.

 

 

“If in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.  Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule; let us mind the same thing

 

 

Let me add a few confirmatory passages on this great truth concerning knowledge and after-knowledge.

 

 

The Jew’s knowledge of Moses was shown, first in the two tables of stone outside the hearts of the covenanters.  They carried with them condemnation and death.  But Paul bore with him the righteousness of Christ which saves, and the Holy Spirit who sanctifies; while on the receivers of Christ he laid hands, and they received the gifts of the Holy Ghost.

 

 

Paul knew the Lord Jesus Christ experimentally, [Page 70] and not merely the doctrine contained in His words.  He found new difficulty in living on the principle of  grace, and not of justice.

 

 

“And the power of His resurrection

 

 

This refers, I am persuaded, primarily to the Saviour’s own resurrection.  He was to be the first that should arise from among the dead: Acts 26: 23.  Thereby He was manifested to be “the Son of God by the power (according to the spirit of holiness) [Christ’s own Spirit] of the resurrection from among the deadRom. 1: 4.

 

 

The resurrection of the Saviour is that of the Head of the body, the Church.

 

 

Then comes the application of His resurrection to individuals, members of His body.  The special passage asserting this is found in Ephes. 1: 16-23.  Paul, after he heard of the Ephesians’ faith, and love to all saints, lifted up his prayers on their behalf.  “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, might give them the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your heart being enlightened

 

 

1. “That ye may know what is the hope of his calling” [the first Resurrection, the prize set by God].

 

 

2. “And what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints

 

 

3. “And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe according to the energy of the might of His strength, which He wrought in the Christ [the Head and body together] when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His right hand in the heavenlies, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and lordship, and every name named, not only in this age but also in the coming one; and put all things under His feet

 

 

“And gave Him to be Head over all things to THE CHURCH, which is His Body, the complement of Him that fills all in all

 

[Page 71]

The next step to faith is our visible acceptance of the truth of Christ’s death and resurrection, by our being immersed.  In it the believer dies, is buried, and rises again with Christ.  The history of the great Apostle, Paul is an example of this counsel of God.  As soon as his eye-sight is restored to him, though he has neither eaten nor drank anything for three days, he is at once baptized.  Ananias, visiting him by Christ’s command, reminds him of his meeting the Lord Jesus on the road; and tells him of the intention of Christ that he should be His witness to all.  At once then comes the exhortation: “And now, why tarriest thou?  Arise, and be immersed, and bathe away thy sins, having called on the name of the LordActs 22.

 

 

It was not fitting that he should be Christ’s witness, till he had received the visible cleansing of the whole man, appointed to set forth God’s great pardon by faith in Christ.  The first thing one whose eyes are spiritually open should do, is ‘Be immersed

 

 

Thereon begins our spiritual education by the Holy Spirit, leading out, from - the pursuit of the world’s prizes, so strenuously sought by most.  The Holy Spirit makes use of the doctrine, and of the baptismal rite, to wean us from the earth, and to prepare us for the [blessings from] heaven.  “If then ye are risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.  Set our affections on things, above, not on things on the earth.  For ye have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our Life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear together with Him in gloryCol. 3: 1-4.

 

 

“And the fellowship in His sufferings

 

 

Peace with God means war with the devil as long as he is at liberty.  The Saviour conquered Satan’s temptations in the wilderness.   But he was to assail Him again when He is made the sacrifice for sin.  “That the Christ should  suffer was one of the main testimonies of Moses and the prophets.  Our Lord [Page 72] foretold it Himself: Matt. 16: 21; Luke 24: 46; Acts 3: 18.

 

 

Paul had already suffered.  He had learned the difference between persecuting, as the man of law; and the being persecuted by the Seed of the Serpent, as a man under grace.  Specially at Philippi.  And to the Colossians he says: “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is lacking in the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for His Body’s sake, which is the ChurchCol. 1: 21.

 

 

But suffering was not destined for apostles alone.

 

 

“We must through many troubles enter into the kingdom of GodActs 14: 22.  Here ‘the kingdom of God’ cannot mean the present day of grace, but must respect the day of glory and reward.  It is in the present day of grace that the troubles come.  As members of Christ, the Seed of the Woman, we receive the bruising of the heel, if we occupy our true position.  Paul would have the Philippians regard it as a gift: 1: 29.  “To you it is given, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake

 

 

And to the men of nature and of law it is a strange portion.  Law said, if only obedient, “All people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of thee  “And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if thou hearken unto the commandments of Jehovah thy GodDeut. 28: 10, 13.

 

 

But very differently does Peter speak.  “If when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.  For even hereunto were ye called;* because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow in His steps1 Peter 2: 20, 21.

 

[* NOTE.  At the time this commentary was being prepared for a C.D. and ‘themillennialkingdom.org.uk’ the website, I had been reading accounts of the sufferings which Christians endured for their faith in Richard Wurmbrand’s book: “Tortured For Christ  “…and [but] joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him:” (Rom. 8: 17b. R.V.)  This joint-heirship is conditional; and it depends upon suffering for the truth, which Messiah and His Apostles taught to the redeemed people of God.]

 

The Saviour spoke this out strongly, when the two apostles desired to have a throne on His right hand, [Page 73] and a throne on His left, in His [millennial] kingdom of glory.*  He assured them that they did not know what they were asking for.  They did not see, that such a special glory was bound up with special suffering.  “Are ye able to drink the cup which I am about to drink of, or to be immersed with the immersion that I am being immersed withMatt. 20.

 

[* Hab. 2: 14. cf. Rev. 20: 4, R.V.]

 

 

Sufferings now with Christ look onward to Christ’s return, and carry glory with them in the Day of Reward.  “Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy1 Peter 4: 13, 14; 5: 1-9.

 

 

The millennial reward is indeed God’s compensation of comfort to those who suffered loss with Christ.  “Woe unto you that are rich [disciples], for ye are receiving your cousolation  “Woe unto you when all shall speak well of you; for so did their fathers to the false prophetsLuke 6: 24, 26.

 

[* Keep in mind: “There is something far nobler than the right to own, even the right to give up one’s right” (G. H. Lang).  When Christ put the ‘rich young ruler’ to the test, he failed it miserably!  He was not prepared ‘to give up’ that which he loved, for the inheritance he asked Christ for!]

 

 

“Being conformed to His death

 

 

The Saviour’s was not only a sacrificial death, but a martyr’s death.  And Paul here testifies his desire to be like Christ in this respect also.  The Apostle was one of the violent ones, of whom the Saviour spoke, who would break through all obstacles to win the thousand years of glory: Matt. 11: 11, 12.

 

 

Observe that the four times ‘him’ and ‘his’ of verse ten all refer to Christ.  (1) “That I may know Him, and the (2) power of His resurrection, and (3) the fellowship of His sufferings, being (4) conformed to His death

 

 

Here then we have two steps or stages of the wonderful and super-excellent knowledge of Christ.

 

 

1. The first attests Paul’s rejection of his own righteousness to take that of Christ, with the loss of all things in consequence of it: 8, 9.  This ensued very soon after his baptism, immediately after which he began his testimony to Christ as the Son of God.  He received Christ as his righteousness, and took his stand on grace.  He [Page 74] possessed JUSTIFICATION before God.

 

 

So far the Philippian saints are carried in Acts 16.  They believed in the Lord Jesus, and were immersed into His name.  At that point they are parted from the Apostle, who moves onward to Thessalonica.

 

 

2. The epistle then now before us takes them up at the point they have reached, to lead them on to the second stage of the knowledge of Christ.  It is observable, that the foes of the disciples fix on their baptism.  That, at least, was one of the “customs, which were not lawful for them to receive, not to observe, being Romans

 

 

The first step or stage is called ‘the Knowledge of Christ  The second is called ‘the After-knowledge of Christ  That is found in the second chapter, in the Saviour’s humiliation and sufferings which are to have their reward in His Coming “Day  The third chapter applies these points through the immediate example of Paul if we seek to have part in the [coming] kingdom and [manifested] glory of Christ for disciples.  Baptism, or immersion is the portal, which prepares the way for our entrance into the main building beyond.

 

 

Christ, as the new object of experimental knowledge, was welcomed by Paul, though involving both suffering, and perhaps death with Christ.  “For he had respect to the recompence of reward  He would be, one of the ‘Fellows’ of Christ: Heb. 1.  Here is a mighty advance beyond law.  Law set its subjects to work out, by their own obedience, a righteousness in which they might live; though none could attain thereto.  Grace bestowed a righteousness on all those that believed on Christ.  Then it set before them a new object, a ‘prize’ proposed to the righteous in Christ, the glory of the First Resurrection; or the millennial kingdom, as the first fruits of eternal life.

 

 

First we believe in Christ’s death for us: Rom. 4: 25; 5: 8; 1 Cor. 15: 3.  Then in immersion we die with Him in emblem: Rom. 6: 8; Col. 2: 13; 3: 3, 4.

 

[Page 75]

The reality of this distinction between the First Knowledge and the After-knowledge is proved by the Saviour’s words at the Great Commission.  “Go ye, therefore, disciple all the nations, and immerse them, into the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost  Here is the first step then.

 

 

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you all the days unto the end of the ageMatt. 28: 19, 26.

 

 

To this second step belong sanctification by the Spirit, and the running for the ‘prize’ of our heavenly calling.

 

 

11. “If by any means I may arrive [‘attain,’ i.e., to ‘gain by effort’] at the select resurrection

(that is) from among the dead

 

 

“If by any means

 

 

This phrase implies (1) something very desirable, (2) but encompassed with difficulty and danger; so that there would be its loss on the part of any who did not strive to attain it.

 

 

Let us look at occasions where this phrase is used.

 

 

1. Paul warns his fellow-voyagers of dangers ahead, because the stormy time of the year had arrived, and sailing was dangerous.  “O men, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our livessouls’).”  Nevertheless, he was not believed.  The majority, “because the haven was not commodious to winter in, advised that they should sail thence, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there winterActs 27.  All confessed the danger, but hoped for good success with careful seamanship.  But they were grievously disappointed; till the severity of the tempest took away even the hope of escape with life.

 

 

God sends them a hope through an angel’s message to Paul.  The tempest carries them to the north of Malta. “And when it was day they knew not the land; but they discovered a certain bay with a beach into [Page 76] which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship

 

 

2. “God is my witness says Paul, “how without ceasing I make mention of you in my prayers, making request, if by any means I might be sped on my journey, by the will of God to come to you  “I would not have you ignorant brethren, that often I purposed to come unto you, but was hindered up to the presentRom. 1.

 

 

3. “For I speak to you, Gentiles, inasmuch as I am Apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my service, If by any means may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh, and might save some of themRom. 11: 13, 14.  How difficult a task it was Paul knew, and few were the results to his prayers and efforts.

 

 

The expression, then, “if by any means” supposes (1) something very desirable; but also (2) very difficult, with determination to break through all difficulties to get it.

 

 

What is the object desired in this case?

 

 

“If I might attain [gain by effort] unto the select resurrection* from among the dead

 

* Literally “the out-resurrection  See the critical editions.

 

 

What is meant by this expression?

 

 

It is generally believed, that there is but one resurrection, at which both the righteous and the ungodly will together appear, and receive the judgment of Christ at the same time.  But Scripture testifies that there are two resurrections, a thousand years apart.  The First Resurrection is one of honour and reward the second mainly of judgment and condemnation.

 

 

“I saw thrones and men sat upon them, and judgment was given to them; and I saw the souls of those beheaded for (1) testimony to Jesus, and to (2) the Word of God; and whoever had not worshipped the Wild Beast [Antichrist] nor his image [his statue], [Page 77] nor had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they came to life, and reigned with Christ a thousand years.  But the rest of the dead came not to life until the thousand years were ended.  This is the First Resurrection.  Blessed and holy is he that hath a portion in the First Resurrection; over these the Second Death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of the Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years

 

 

After the completion of these thousand years of blessing the rest of the dead are assembled before the [‘a great white] throne’ of judgment.  And then, after the books containing the deeds of the wicked are produced, “another book was opened, which is the Book of Life  In it are found the names of [regenerate] believers not judged worthy of the glory of the millennium; but they are saved by grace.

 

 

“The hour is coming in which all that are in the tombs shall hear His (Christ’s) voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgmentJohn 5: 29.

 

 

This doctrine of two resurrections was new to the Jews.

 

 

1.  Mark 9: 9, 10.   “As they came down from the mountain, He (Jesus) charged them that they should relate to none what they had seen; until the Son of man should have risen from among the dead.  And they kept the saying among themselves, questioning what is the meaning of the rising from among the dead

 

 

2. At the resurrection of Lazarus, Jesus says to Martha, “Thy brother shall rise again.  Martha saith unto Him, I know that he shall rise again at the resurrection in the last dayJohn 11.  She knows but of one resurrection.

 

 

The First Resurrection is of necessity a resurrection [out] from among the dead.  Those favoured by God arise; but [Page 78] the main body of the dead remain in the tomb, till the day of reward is over.  “The rest of the dead (beside those who live and reign with Christ) came not to life again, till the thousand years were finishedAnd this ‘rest of the dead’ consists of two portions: (1) believers not accounted worthy of the millennial kingdom; and (2) unbelievers, who are condemned after the kingdom.

 

 

Hence, when the Great White Throne is set, there are two classes discovered to us; (1), those condemned according to their works, as testified by the open books: ver. 12.  (2) But another book is opened, “the Book of Life,” beside the books of death. 

 

 

Now while those not written in the Book of Life are cast into the lake of fire, those enrolled* in that book are able to enter the city of God: 21: 27.

 

* That characteristic word - “found” - occurs here.  “And if any was not found written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the lake of fire

 

 

Of the select resurrection from among the dead, Christ is the first example: Acts 26: 23.  He has won this place by His perfect righteousness.  He is raised two thousand years before His Assembly, the Church.  After that time comes another resurrection of honour.  And those not ‘accounted worthy’ of it have to wait [in ‘Hades’ – the place of the dead ‘in the heart of the earth’ (Matt. 12; 40. cf. 16: 18)] a thousand years; before they enter in the inheritance [promised to Messiah (Psa. 2: 8), and] provided for those who believe and are saved.

 

 

This [millennial] glory of the Lord Jesus was presented in a figure, when Israel under Joshua entered the land of promise through the Jordan.  “After three days [Jesus rose the third day] the officers went through the host.  And they commanded the people saying, ‘When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place and go after it.  Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure; come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go; for ye have not passed this way heretofore

 

[Page 79]

“And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves, for to-morrow the Lord will do wonders among youJosh. 3: 3-5.

 

 

The ‘about 2000 cubits by measure’ refer to the about 2,000 years since the Saviour’s resurrection, and ascent to His Father.  And till we cross into the land, God calls on us to look to our sanctification.

 

 

We see then, that the Select, or First Resurrection, is the desirable object to be sought.  The entry on this demands first - Faith.  But faith alone, without answering works, is not enough.  Those who enter the kingdom of millennial glory enter as “the righteous not as [regenerate] believers only.  (1) Those Christians who make feasts after the new (or Gospel) pattern, says the Saviour, shall be “blessed for the guests in them cannot not recompense their hosts; “for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the righteous Luke 14: 14.  (2) “Then shall the righteous shine out as the sun in the kingdom of their FatherMatt. 13: 43.  (3) “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life everlastingMatt. 25.

 

 

12. “Not that I have already received, or am already perfected; but I am pursuing, if that I may also lay hold on that, with a view to which I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus

 

 

Paul a man of strong faith, of great losses for Christ, and heartily at work for Him, had not yet obtained – What?  It cannot be spoken of ‘the First Resurrection’ as a fact already fulfilled.  None could imagine that he had.  But he had not attained yet the title thereto before God.  That is morally equivalent to obtaining the ‘prize’.  And of this other passages speak.  In the Epistle to the Hebrews he blames the main body of the saints; and urges them to put forth the same diligence and steadiness of pursuit manifested by some; for so would they attain the full assurance of hope.  “That ye become not slothful, but imitators of those who through [Page 80] faith, and patience [perseverance] are inheriting the promises  And then he sets before us the history of Abraham; who, after patient endurance obtained the oath of God over Isaac offered up: Rom. 2: 7-9, 16.

 

 

While in the Philippians the Apostle confesses he was not sure of the ‘prize yet, in his last letter, he testifies his assurance of it.  “I have fought the good fight; I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, shall give me at that day2 Tim. 4: 7, 8.

 

 

“Or am already perfected

 

 

I understand this to assert, that his internal sanctification was not complete.  His education for glory, by the changes wrought within him by the Holy Ghost, and without by the trials of the way, was not finished.  The change from Adam and Moses to Christ is not effected fully in a moment.  The Saviour, in more than one place, speaks of His own perfecting.  “The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto Him, ‘Get Thee out, and depart hence; for Herod is wishing to slay TheeAnd He said to them: ‘Go, and tell that fox, Behold, I am casting out demons, and effecting cures to-day, and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfectedLuke 13.

 

 

So in the word addressed to disciples the Saviour says: “Become ye therefore perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect

 

 

“But I am pursuing, with a view of laying hold on that

 

 

The Apostle was not seeking to attain eternal life.  That was his already by the gift of God.  Redemption belongs to faith.        “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal lifeJohn 3: 14-16.  “He that believeth on the Son hath eternal lifever. 36.

 

 

Salvation belongs at once to the believer.  “Through [Page 81] this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins. And in Him all that believe are justifiedActs 13.

 

 

“IF that I may apprehend that

 

 

Here is doubt expressed; and effort to attain certainty of reward in the way of obedience and diligence.

 

 

To get a place in the First Resurrection is more difficult than Christians think.  It is also more valuable.  Both of these things call for sustained pursuit.

 

 

“For which I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus

 

 

The time supposed is that of the Apostle’s arrest by Christ on his way to Damascus.

 

 

Here then we learn, that the ambition to attain the ‘prize’ was no vain fancy of his own mind; but a part of Christ’s design of good for him.  To have a part in the First Resurrection is desired by Christ, for those regenerate by the Holy Spirit.  And so we find in the parable of the Talents - that the Saviour says of the two approved servants - “Well done, good and faithful servant,” “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lordthat is, partake of His millennial reward.

 

 

This context shows that the Apostle has specially in view his arrest by Christ when on his mad career of persecution.  (1) Then was he stopped, cast to earth, and blinded.  (2) Then it was, that a view of the Saviour and His disciples of this dispensation united in glory, as One Body, - ‘the Christ’ - was presented to his mind. Then too was shown the reality of Christ’s resurrection to one who blasphemed.

 

 

Here is one aspect of the prize, for Christ was now seen to shine in heaven in the glory of God.  It was then that the Saviour taught him, through the ministry of Ananias, the suffering on which he was about to enter.  On that occasion he learned the difference between the earthly calling of law, and the heavenly calling of grace.  It was Christ in heaven speaking to Saul on earth, and telling him of the forgiveness of sins, and of eternal inheritance, by faith in Himself, the [Page 82] Risen.  Moses, as the man of law, was called on earth by a voice out of the bush on fire in the desert.  He was to lead Israel from bondage and idolatry, to the land of freedom and of true service, promised by Jehovah.  But Paul saw Christ no longer in the bush on fire, but victorious over all the persecution of men; danger now threatening any who should attempt to persecute.

 

 

13, 14. “Brethren, I count not myself to have laid hold (on the prize).  But one thing (I do), forgetting the things behind, but reaching forward to those in front, I press forward

to the goal, for the prize of God’s calling on high in Christ Jesus

 

 

“Brethren

 

 

The Apostle here sets all believers on the same footing as himself, though he was an apostle.

 

 

The call was directed to them, as well as to himself.

 

 

“I count not myself to have laid hold (on the prize).”  The stress lies on ‘count not myself  Thereby he introduces us to the thoughts of his fellow-believers concerning himself.  They felt sure, that a man who had made such sacrifices, had endured such sufferings, and wrought so unflinchingly, and steadily for Christ, would certainly receive the [millennial] kingdom of God of which he was in pursuit.

 

 

But he was not so flattered by their thoughts of his merits, as to slacken his efforts; as if they were no longer necessary.  He knew more of the value of the prize than they did.  He was aware that the standard of God’s requirements was higher than theirs.  The goal was not yet reached; and till that was won, he wisely refused to relax.

 

 

He was an enthusiastic racer; and while his friends bade him look back on the past, and on what he had done, had lost, and had suffered for Christ, he kept his eyes fixed on the space before him, esteeming nothing done, till all was accomplished.  The course and the goal had been fixed by God.  Now is the time of activity; in the Day of Christ comes the rest of God, when the [Page 83] winner shall cease from his present labours, as God did on the first Sabbath after His work was complete.

 

 

Verse 13 gives us the Apostle’s care and exertion to win for himself the prize.  But the call to seek first the kingdom was not given to himself alone; but was open to other saints.  Hence in this verse he sets before us the hope of God’s presenting, as open to them.

 

 

Twice he names his pursuit; but he regards it from different points of view. (1) “I pursue, ‘if that I may lay hold:’” ver. 12.  (2) “I pursue to the goal for the prizever. 14.

 

 

Paul was not like the fleshly Christians of Corinth (third chapter), where envy, strife, and parties ruled; and where false doctrine seems to have been taught.  These, in the day of the future testing by Christ, would have to escape as out of a house on fire.

 

 

Good works were called for, as well as the abstinence from evil ones: Rom. 2: 6, 7.

 

 

Christ will judge each of His people according to their works: Rev. 2: 23; 22: 12: And the workers of iniquity will be shut out: Matt. 7: 23.

 

 

How oft is the word, “He shall not enter the kingdom” addressed to the [regenerate] believer!

 

 

1. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father in heavenMatt. 7: 21.

 

 

2. “Except your righteousness shall exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees ye [disciples] shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heavenMatt. 5: 20.

 

 

3. “Verily I say unto you (a word to apostles), Except ye repent and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heavenMatt. 18: 3 (Greek).

 

 

4. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich (man) to enter into the kingdom of heaven

 

 

5. “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of heaven as a little child, he shall [Page 84] not enter lhereinMark 10: 15; Luke 18: 17.  And how many [genuine] Christians deny the millennial glory!

 

 

6. After a long list of works of the flesh, Paul adds, “Of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit (have part in) the kingdom of God

 

 

7. “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any part in the kingdom of the Christ and God: Eph. 5: 5:

 

 

‘Then you teach a maimed Bride

 

 

By no means!  That is an objection, of force only to those who hold, that the millennium, is the time when the whole Church, (or the saved of this dispensation) will reign with Christ.  Please to prove it!  Till then this objection has no force.  It is only an opinion: which is set aside by denial.  The millennium is not the Day of Grace, but of reward to the obedient, and to sufferers for Christ: Rev. 11: 14-18; 2: 22-28; 22: 12.

 

 

The gift to faith is eternal life; not part in the reign of the Thousand Years: Rom. 6: 23.

 

 

It is only after the millennium, when the Book of Life is opened before the throne (Rev. 20: 12), that those not accounted worthy to partake of millennial reward will enter on their eternal heritage of grace; and [after]* the ‘Bride’ is complete.

 

[* NOTE.  Not all of the redeemed are to be the Bride of Christ!  The ‘Bride’ will be taken out of the ‘Body’: that is, out from amongst God’s redeemed family members, Gen. 2: 22; 24: 4. cf. Rev. 19: 7, 8.  “The man and the woman were to rule together (Gen. 1: 26) – the man as king, and the woman as consort queen.  This forms an unchangeable principle which God established at this time.  The man could not rule alone.  Rather, he must rule as a complete being.  Christ, the Second Man, the Last Adam, will one day take the sceptre [from Satan] and rule the earth.” (A. L. Chitwood.)  “Ask of me, and I will give thee [Messiah] the nations for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession:” (Psa. 2: 8.).  cf. Rev. 3: 21; 11: 15; 20: 2-4. R.V.]

 

“For the prize

 

 

Is a PRIZE the same thing as a GIFT?  Many shut their eyes to a truth, which is understood by boys and girls of a the Sunday School.  To obtain a gift it is only necessary to accept what is offered.

 

 

But a prize demands care and exertion.  It may be lost by simple neglect; much more by offences against the rules.  All turns on the decision of “the Righteous Judge who will weigh the work of each.  And thrice the conduct of Israel as coming short of the hope set before them is laid before us; to awaken the sluggish, [Page 85] and to make us fear, lest conduct like theirs should shut us out of the hope.

 

 

Through unbelief and disobedience [the accountable generation of] Israel was kept out of the land [which God promised them as an inheritance].  And in [regenerate] believers of our day the flesh is as strong and as evil, as in theirs: Heb. 3. & 4.  A race demands zeal, and temperance in all things, with the keeping under of the flesh: 1 Cor. 9. Hence Paul in the next chapter shows us, how the flesh of Israel unrestrained led them into offences, which excluded them from the hope: 1 Cor. 10.

 

 

“The prize of God’s calling on high in Christ Jesus

 

 

This is not the only place in which ‘the Prize’ is spoken of.  (1) “Know ye not that they which run in a race, run all, but (only) one receiveth the prize1 Cor. 9: 24.

 

 

(2) “Let no one defraud you of the prize in an affected humility and worshipping of angels” (Greek): Col. 2: 18.  And none will obtain the prize, who do not believe there is such a thing.  Not all will be “accounted worthy While Abraham will enter in, Lot will not.

 

 

So here the First Resurrection is a third time presented to us from another point of view.

 

 

1. It was first shown us, as a something arising out of ‘the knowledge of Christ at once closed with by Paul, from a sense of its surpassing value: ver. 10, 11.

 

 

2. Then, as the design of Christ, toward any whom He turns away from the paths of death: ver. 12.

 

 

3. And now, as the crown of the heavenly calling forming part of the counsels of God: ver. 14.

 

 

Not only did Christ call to Paul from on high, but, He is calling us out of earth up to Himself, and to the heritage of heaven.  We are to be waiting for the shout, voice, and trump of God; on the sounding of which those ready will be caught up to the Lord’s Presence on high.  The heavenly calling is more difficult and trying than the calling of Moses and Israel; and hence a special “consolation” is by God annexed to the call: Luke 6: 20-26.  But most disciples [Page 86] prefer to have their consolation now, and hence will lose the one to come, in the millennial glory.

 

 

Much was made of Rome, much of the Jerusalem of earth in those days.  But our city is above.  “Jerusalem which is above, is free, which is our motherGal. 4: 26.  And our affections are to be above, where Christ is: Col. 3: 1, 2.

 

 

It is “the calling on high in Christ Jesus

 

 

It is something open to believers in Christ only, and so only available in this dispensation.  In the next, Christ awards the prizes, and “His fellows” accounted worthy, reign with Him.  Suffering for the truth will be over; faith swallowed up in sight.

 

 

The striving in the games of Greece for the perishable crown was permitted to freemen only: slaves were excluded.  So the seeking after the glory of the [millennial] kingdom is open to those only who are sons of God in Christ Jesus.

 

 

15. “Let then as many as are perfect be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even that unto you

 

 

‘But had not Paul said, that he was not perfect

 

 

He had said that he was “not already perfected  But here he is speaking of a previous perfection at starting, enabling him to run the race.

 

 

The seeker of the prize must have given up his own righteousness, and have faith in the millennial day.  He must have been immersed as a man of faith, taking his standing outside Adam and Moses.

 

 

1. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, ‘Except a man be born out of water and Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God:’” John 3: 5.  ‘But we don’t believe that water is there to be taken literally  What have we before and after this word of our Lord?  “That He (Christ) should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come, immersing in waterJohn 1: 31.  “He that sent me to immerse in water ver. 33.  “Jesus and [Page 87] His disciples came unto the land of Judea, and there He tarried with them, and immersed.  And John also was immersing in AEnon near to Salim, because there was much water there John 3: 22, 23.

 

 

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were immersed into Jesus Christ were immersed into His death?  We were buried with Him, therefore, by means of the immersion, into death; in order that, as Christ was raised from among the dead by the glory of the Father, so also we should walk in newness of life.  For IF We became fellow plants in the likeness of His death, why we shall be also of the resurrection:”  Rom. 6: 3-5 (Greek).

 

 

How few [regenerate believers] obey this command! and how many tell us ’tis ‘not necessary,’ ’tis ‘unimportant

 

 

But the Holy Spirit says: “But even if any wrestle, he is not crowned, except he wrestle according to the laws (of the games):” 2 Tim. 2: 5.  And accordingly Paul, who is our pattern herein, was immersed three days after his conversion, though he had neither eaten nor drank since his being struck blind.

 

 

Before that any seek the prize, they must give up modes of life inconsistent with their profession.  Moses allowed the taking of oaths, and the being a man of war.  Christ forbids these things: Matt. 5: 38-48.  There is to be no pursuit of the prizes of earth, if we seek that of the heaven: Luke 6: 20-26.

 

 

The rich young man asked our Lord if there were any higher standard than that of the law?  And the Saviour replies: “If thou wishest to be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor; and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow MeMatt. 19.  The young man declines.  Peter and some other of the apostles had performed that to which Jesus called the young man; what then should they have?  A throne in the coming day of the [messianic] kingdom!  And whosoever should give up anything for Christ’s sake, and the kingdom’s, should receive [Page 88] a hundredfold now, and in the coming millennial age, eternal life should begin [in a much greater sense of satisfaction and enjoyment]* for him.

 

[* See Luke 22: 28-30. cf. Isa. 61: 8, 11, R.V.]

 

 

This exhortation is one of the main points of the epistle.  Paul knew, that multitudes of converted men would not believe in, or seek for the prize.  He knew that some who would believe in the millennium, would suppose that it would come to them, like eternal life, as a gift.  And that many would refuse to take the steps, and make the surrenders required for seeking the prize.  What are they?

 

 

1. Determined seeking of the world’s prizes.

 

 

2. Refusal of the immersion of the believer: Luke 7: 28-30.

 

 

3. Refusal of the new system of the Sermon on the Mount,

and a cleaving to the old basis of the law of Moses.

 

 

4. Refusal of the imputed righteousness of Christ.

 

 

5. Refusal of the cross of the Christ,

in the many ways it attacks one bent on obtaining the [coming messianic] kingdom.

 

 

A name in the Book of Life carries with it glory eternal in the new heavens and earth.  But Peter, after the Lord Jesus had declared him ‘Blessed as enlightened by the Father concerning Christ as Son of God, was declared immediately after to be ‘Satan because he resisted with all his might this new truth, the further counsel of God on the appearing of Jesus.

 

 

“And if in anything ye be otherwise minded, even that shall God reveal to you

 

 

The Apostle knew full well, how many at this point would break away from him.  ‘I don’t agree with you, Paul; you have exceeded your instructions  At this time, too, how many turn a deaf ear to this doctrine!

 

 

The first time the Saviour announced this truth, He met the most stout resistance from Peter.

 

 

What is to be done in such a refusal of this truth?  Was the inspired Apostle to excommunicate him?  By no means.  The opponent was to make his appeal to God, to show him who was right!

 

[Page 89]

Thus after the Saviour’s rebuke of Peter, God the Father, on the Mount of Transfiguration revealed His mind on the subject.  Moses and Elijah are set aside.  “This is My Beloved Son; hear Him

 

 

Of course, in this appeal to God, a true heart ready to yield to God’s testimony, is supposed.  Do we not remember the rebuke administered through Ezekiel?  “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling-block of their iniquity before their face; should I be enquired of at all by them?

 

 

If the millennial glory belongs to each disciple already, how does the Apostle make all this stir about it?  How could he say, that after his faith, his zeal, his losses, his persecution endured for Christ’s sake, he was not sure of the prize?

 

 

16. “Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule

 

 

The words - “let us mind the same thing” - are probably not genuine.

 

 

It might be said to the Apostle, ‘If you introduce these two stages of faith and practice, you will split up the Church of God into two parties.  (1) The men of the Gift; and (2) the men of the Prize  The Holy Spirit foresaw this, and, therefore, adds this caution.  The Assembly of Christ is to be but one; though the diversity of attainment may be great.

 

 

As far as we see our way traced in Scripture, let the men of the Prize walk with the men of the Gift, both in doctrine and practice.  Keep unity in fundamentals, and move onward in increase of knowledge.  Both parties are cared for together by the Apostle in one epistle; both are in Christ, members of His body.  The rule of walk is the same for both.

 

 

17. “Become ye together imitators of me, brethren; and observe those who are walking so as ye have us for an example

 

[Page 90]

“Become ye  Men by nature know not of this counsel of God.  It is a new position to be taken by those converted.  Great was the difference of Paul’s principles and practice under the Gospel, as compared with those of law.  Christians were to follow him both in doctrine and practice; they were not to regard Paul’s example alone.  Timothy and Epaphroditus are both set forth to guide us.  Timothy was great in his likeness to Paul’s conduct.  He was one of a pastor’s spirit; zealously caring for the things of Christ in their bearing upon the spiritual welfare of those in Christ.

 

 

Epaphroditus is set before us in his great relations first with Paul, and then with Philippian believers.

 

 

1. He was Paul’s ‘brother’ in faith; believing and observing the truths of the Gospel, and their visible results in practice.

 

 

2. He was a “companion in labour” for the good of the converts.

 

 

3. He was also ‘fellow-soldier bearing with patience and grace the troubles falling on all those that work for Christ.

 

 

He was also “apostle” of the Philippians; perhaps he was set up by Paul, when he took his leave, to look after their spiritual interests.  I do not admit the meaning that the Philippians constituted him “their apostle,” because of his bearing their gift to Paul.  I suppose the title here and in 2 Cor. 8: 20, to be nearly equivalent to our Lord’s word ‘angel’ in the Apocalypse a stationary apostle, presiding over a church.

 

 

Neither of these holy men was following his own worldly interests, but those of Christ and His people.  So attached was Epaphroditus to Paul, as to have brought on himself a severe attack of illness through overwork. This was to be regarded by them, not as fool-hardiness, but with honour.  For this mortal life is not the chief point to be consulted.

 

[Page 91]

18. “For many are walking, of whom I often spoke to you, but now speak, even weeping, as the enemies of the cross of the Christ

 

 

The prize depends upon THE WALK after conversion, or SANCTIFICATION; just as justification depends on faith.

 

 

Paul was of Christ’s spirit, and wept over the lost, as Jesus did over Jerusalem.

 

 

“They were the enemies of the cross of the Christ

 

 

An article precedes both ‘the cross’ and ‘the Christ By ‘the Christ’ is meant as before, ‘the Mystic Christ consisting of the Head and the Members.  It is confirmed by Galatians 6: 12, where we read: “As many as wish to make a fair show in the flesh, these compel you to be circumcised, only lest they should be persecuted for the cross of the Christ  “The cross of the Christ” - is that which by God was attached to the Seed of the Woman, in Eden.  And so the Saviour says: “If any man will follow Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me

 

 

Peter showed himself of this unbelieving disposition at first.

 

 

“Be it far front Thee, Lord; this shall not be unto Thee  Like minded was Judas; but he did not speak out like Peter.  And Peter submits to the Saviour’s rebuke; while Judas holds fast his unbelief.

 

 

‘The cross of the Christ’ was peculiarly obnoxious to both Jew and Gentile.  To the Roman, it was the ‘lowest depth of degradation’; to “Jews a stumbling-block, and to Greeks foolishness.  But unto the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God  To the Jews the cross is the curse of God under law.  Jews would welcome Messiah the King.  But a crucified Messiah was their abhorrence.  “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us, the saved, it is the power of God

 

 

The parties here spoken of are, I doubt not, [Page 92] the unregenerate; as the next verse shows; but many of the regenerate answer closely to features of the picture.

 

 

19. “Whose end is destruction; whose God is their belly; whose glory is in their shame;

who mind earthly things

 

 

‘Destruction’ is a word characteristic of the lost.  It is the opposite of “life  “Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth unto destruction, and many there be that go in thereat: Because strait (narrow) is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth unto life; and FEW there be that find itMatt. 7.  “In nothing terrified by your adversaries; which is to them an evident token of perdition; but to you of salvation.”  “But we are not of them that draw back unto perdition [destruction]*; but of them that believe to the saving of the soulHeb. 10: 39.

 

[* NOTE. “The saving of the soul” is shown in 1 Peter 1: 8, 9 to be future salvation: “at the revelation of Jesus Christ]

 

 

“Whose God is their belly.”

 

 

A like sentiment, yet with difference, is spoken of those Christians who were walking so badly as to draw forth the Apostle’s rebuke.  “Mark them which cause the divisions, and the offences contrary to the doctrine ye have learned, and avoid them.  For they are such as serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly Rom. 16.

 

 

“Whose glory is in their shame.”

 

 

I understand this to refer to their boasting in the goodliness and power of their bodies, and their subserviency to natural desires.  Our bodies in this life lie under sin and death, about to turn to corruption; according to the sentence of the Judge on Adam, our father.  They boast in “the body of our humiliation the signal of the Fall, to be removed by Christ.  It is only fit for the seventy or eighty years of this shadowy life.

 

 

“Who mind earthly things.”

 

 

If the hopes which Christ has brought, the glories of heaven in resurrection be refused, what remains, but the things of earth and death?  Many of the saved [Page 93] come near to this description.  We doubt.  Are they Christ’s or of the world?

 

 

20, 21. “For our city is in the heavens; out of which also we are expecting as Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Who shall transfigure the body of our humiliation to become like

to the body of His glory, according to the energy of His ability

to subdue even all things unto Himself

 

 

The word rendered ‘city’ in this verse is taken by some to signify (1) ‘commonwealth,’ ‘civil constitution;’ by others, (2) citizenship, - and here I take it as (3) ‘city

 

 

I know but of one passage where it clearly means ‘city  It is found in 2 Maccabees xii. 6 : “And when the town was shut up, he went backward, as if he would return to root out all them of the city of Joppe

 

 

The differences of rendering do not greatly alter the sense, but the translation ‘city’ seems to me the most appropriate.  The refusers of Christ here spoken of, if they were Philippians, looked to Rome, as the chief city of earth; and were jealous of their dignity as Romans.  If they were Jews, their city was the old Jerusalem of earth, in bondage with her children.  But our city, as Christians, is the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem.  It can be reached only in resurrection.  Philippi, the colony, was shaken by an earthquake, showing the insecurity of all the cities of the earth.  But the citizens of the Jerusalem of heaven are enrolled in the Lamb’s Book of Life; and the New Jerusalem shall rest on its twelve foundations, unshaken for evermore.

 

 

“Out of which

 

 

Does it mean (1) ‘Out of this city’?  It would naturally and grammatically mean so; but this city of the heaven does not yet seem to be inhabited, either by our Lord or by any one of its citizens: Gal. 4.  “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is our mother” [Page 94] (omit ‘all’).  “For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she that hath the husbandGal. 4.

 

 

It is generally supposed to refer to ‘the heaven, out of which  But the Greek has ‘the heavens;’ and ‘out of which’ is in the singular.

 

 

Out ‘of the heaven’ then, or ‘of the city - I do not feel sure which, but prefer ‘the heaven  Christ will descend: Heb. 9: 28.  His people are expecting Him thence.  Out of Rome full oft came ‘Destroyers great in war.  But He who is coming now, descends as the Saviour of His saints.  Could the emperor of Rome so save his subjects? or even himself?

 

 

In the great and terrible day of the Lord a king of Rome is coming up out of the Bottomless Pit, and his “name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon” (Destroyer), but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon” (the same): Rev. 9.  When he comes, he compels all to mark their bodies as devoted to his service, and really to the wrath of God, and of His Christ.  “If any worship the Wild Beast and his image” (the opposite to Christ, the Lamb of God), “and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of GodRev. 14: 11.

 

 

‘We are expecting’ (but it is very far from being now true of all believers) “the Lord Jesus Christ  This is the full title of His Majesty, who descends as King of kings, and Lord of lords in the glory of His Father and of the holy angels.

 

 

Who is your ‘Lord’? was the critical question between the Roman and the Christian.  The Roman’s ‘Lord’ was the emperor, the object of obedience, both civil and religious.  This comes out very pointedly in the martyrdom of Polycarp.  Those who seized him conducted [him] to the city of Smyrna.  “He (Polycarp) was met by Herod, who was the irenarch, and his father Nicetes; who taking him into their vehicle, [Page 95] persuaded him to take a seat with them, and said, “For what harm is there in saying, ‘Lord Caesar,’ and to sacrifice, and thus save your life?”  He, however, at first did not make any reply; but as they persevered, he said, ‘I shall not do as you advise me.’  Failing, therefore, to persuade him, they uttered dreadful language, and thrust him down from the car with great vehemence, so that as he descended from the car, he sprained his thighEusebins, book iv., chap. 15.

 

 

“Who shall transfigure the body of our humiliation.”

 

 

The souls of the Lord’s people are redeemed, and sanctification is going on in them.  Their bodies lie still under the sentence of Eden.  The bodies of those in Christ, as yet moulder in the tomb, just as the bodies of those in Adam.  We are not to find our salvation as ‘glorified spirits the body never more to be re-knit to the soul.  But Christ is coming down, to change the bodies both of the living and of the dead saints.  For “flesh and blood or the bodies of the living saints, cannot have part in the millennial kingdom on high. Much less can “corruption or the bodies of the dead saints, enjoy the glory of the thousand years.  But after resurrection the body will be glorious; and glorious for ever.  For Paul and Silas no more of the scourge, and of the bruising of the heel in the stocks!  For Christ is the Saviour of the body; no less than the Saviour of the soul.

 

 

He who bore suffering unto death is no more to suffer, but to subdue by power all things.  This present body is the body of our humiliation, because of sin.  Of this body unbelievers boasted.  But what of its aches and pains during life? what of its turning to dust in the tomb?  Who should give it the resurrection provided for those put to sleep by Christ?  Our Lord!  He shall change the body of dishonour to become like His own body, radiant as the sun.

 

 

Jesus, then, was no phantom, as the Doceetists taught.  He has a body on high a body never to grow old, [Page 96] or decay.  And we are to be like Him in body, no less than in soul.

 

 

False systems, such as Swedenborg’s, teach, that at death the soul comes forth from the corpse; and the body is never to be used again.  So it was not with Christ.  He left no portion of Himself behind in the tomb of the rock.  Of His people’s appearing before Him we read: “I pray God your whole spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless so as to be in the Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it1 Thess. 5.  And in His Presence the deeds done by means of the body will be accounted for: 2 Cor. 5: 10.  The “fellows” of Christ, now like Him in spirit, will then be like Him in body also.

 

 

This great work is consigned to the power of Him who is Almighty.  “Afterward cometh the end, when He (Christ) shall deliver up the kingdom to God,* even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule, and all authority, and power.  For He must reign [upon and over this earth ‘for a thousand years’ (Luke 22: 28-30; Rev. 3: 21; 20: 4)], till He hath put all enemies under His feet.  The last enemy that shall be struck powerless is death1 Cor. 15.

 

[*“The radical error in the matter has been to confound terms that differ.  By both schools ‘inheriting the kingdom’ has been wrongly taken to mean simply saved from hell; and so ‘not inheriting’ has been wrongly deemed synonymous with everlasting perdition.  But once it is seen that receiving [eternal] salvation from wrath is one thing, and that rising [‘out from the dead’ (Phil. 3: 11b)] to the glory of rule in the [millennial] kingdom [of Messiah] is another thing, and IS AN ATTAINMENT that follows, then the Gordian knot is united; for it at once becomes a possibility [for a disobedient, carnal and regenerate believer] to forfeit the [millennial] kingdom by personal misconduct, (and to incur in addition abundantly severe chastisement - [from a loving Father toward His disobedient and redeemed children] - proportionate to the offences, and sufficient, if apprehended, to deter from carnality,) whilst yet retaining eternal life by the pure grace of God, exercised on the ground of the merit of Christ alone  -  (G. H. LANG, (edited.)]

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

CHAPTER IV

 

 

1-3. “So then, my brethren beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, thus stand fast in

the Lord, beloved.  I beseech Euodias, and I beseech Syntychee, that they be of one

mind in the Lord. And I ask thee also, true yoke-fellow, help those women that

laboured with me in the Gospel; with Clement also and my other

fellow-labourers whose names are in the book of life

 

 

Paul has, in the preceding chapters, shown, how the Philippians were to stand fast in the Lord.

 

[Page 97]

It would seem that the two named in the second verse had fallen out in the service of the Lord.  It was the result of the high-mindedness which was natural to the Roman, and against this spirit Paul all along is striving.

 

 

The service of women who labour in the Gospel is very valuable - provided only they keep to the path marked out for them.  Both men and women are citizens of the New Jerusalem, enrolled in the Lamb’s Book of life. This one ‘Book [‘of life’] is the contrast to the many ‘books’ [Rev. 20: 12] of men’s unpardoned deeds which, brought forth at the Last Judgment, are the ground of their sentence to [the eternal place and state of the lost, after their resurrection, in] ‘the lake of fire’.

 

 

4-7. “Rejoice in the Lord alway: again I say, rejoice!  Let your candour be known unto all men.  The Lord is near.  Be anxious in nothing; but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which exceeds all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus

 

 

If, under the circumstances named, Paul could call upon the Philippian saints to rejoice, all ought to rejoice. Around may be many circumstances of trial but one field is ever open to joy - their place and portion in Christ.

 

 

The saints are to be candid; not one-sided; but able to take a fair view of the true state of the question.  Seek in nought to be disapproved by Christ, when He shall come to take account of His servants.

 

 

While both they and Paul were suffering persecution, they were not to be anxious as to the event.  “Care,” is taken in two different senses.  In the sense of diligence in things under your hand, be careful!  “Be careful to come to me before winter2 Tim. 6: 21.  “Be careful to be found by Him (Christ) in peace2 Peter 3: 14.

 

 

But the care here forbidden is that, wherein we step [Page 98] beyond our province.  A mother is right in using all carefulness to watch over her child’s health.  But when it falls ill, and she worries herself about what may befall him, she is offending against the word here given.  Let her give the medicine - that is within her reach, and her allowed diligence.  But when she frets over the possible effects of the medicine, she has travelled beyond her province.  The issue of life or of death must ever rest in the hand of God: Matt. 6: 25-34.  The Holy Spirit’s cure for anxiety is, prayer to the Most High, joined with thanks for the precious promises which assure us, that all that befalls us shall tend to our good; and with praise to God for His former answers to our supplications.  The Lord promises the cure of anxiety to all who will observe this prescription of the Heavenly Physician.  Or, as it is put here, He assures us, that a sentinel shall be set over our house, to keep out the irruption of anxious care.  Our hearts and thoughts shall be kept in “the peace of God” which rises above man’s comprehension, both in its source and its effects.

 

 

8, 9. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are suitable, whatever

are righteous, whatever are pure, whatever friendly, whatever are of good report,

if there be any virtue, and any praise, take these into account. What ye

have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do:

and the God of peace shall be with you

 

 

This is the second - “Finally” - and it serves to point out the last division of the epistle.  A second time Paul’s example is set before them.  They were to respect his conduct and objects of pursuit, not only in view of the prize, but in all his other conduct.

 

 

There is always an opening to further advance in grace.

 

 

The result of obedience herein would be, that “the God of peace should be with them  Under the Law Jehovah was “the God” and “Lord of hosts;” or of armies, and of war.  In the day of battle, the priests [Page 99] were to encourage the troops of Israel to fight; they were to sound the silver trumpets, made after the pattern given by Jehovah, and the Lord would give them courage for the conflict, and victory: Num. 10; Dent. 20.

 

 

Just before the millennial day, and during it, when righteousness shall be the ruling principle, Jehovah will again take the title of “Lord of Hosts and will act in accordance with it.  “Then shall the moon be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before His ancients (elders) gloriouslyIsa. 24.  “The Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, saith, ‘Behold, I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods:’” Jer. 46: 25.

 

 

But in this dispensation the Christian is to be a man of peace, like his Father loving enemies, and not slaying them.  Hence no Christian can, with Christ’s leave, be a soldier.  “Blessed are the peace-makers  Woe then to the war-makers, and those that live by their sword! Luke 6: 20-26; Matt. 26: 52.

 

 

Now Jehovah is “the God of peace that brings peace to the unworthy, and guards our heart with “the peace of God

 

 

 

THE PHILIPPIANS’ GIFT TO PAUL

 

 

10-13. “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care for me hath thrown

out a new shoot; on which matter you had taken thought, but you had not a good

opportunity of carrying it into effect.  Not that I speak in respect of want: for

I have learned in the circumstances in which I am found, to be content.

I know how to be humbled, I know also how to abound: at all times,

and in all circumstances I have been initiated, both to be full, and

to be hungry; both to abound, and to be in straits. I can do

all things through Christ who strengthens me

 

 

We hear but little of the financial report of Paul’s mission.  He was able to trust the Lord to maintain him in His service.  A long season it would appear, [Page 100] had intervened between the two gifts sent him at Thessalonica, and this third one.

 

 

He did not wish to treat of it, as it respected the straits in which be had found himself; for he had been taught by Christ, how to conduct himself in the varying events of life; now having abundance and now again in need, even to hunger.

 

 

He excuses the Philippians, that they had thought of his necessities, but did not know how to transmit to him the money.  That matter was not so easily arranged as in our day.

 

 

14-16. “Nevertheless, ye did well in contributing to me in my affliction.  But do ye also,

O Philippians, know that in the beginning of the Gospel, when I went out from

Macedonia, no church had fellowship with me in the matter of giving

and receiving, but you alone.  For even in Thessalonica

ye sent once and again to my need

 

 

This, Paul’s statement, was not to give them the idea that he was displeased with their contribution.  It was an honourable trait in the history of the Church at Philippi, that they alone sent him aid in the way of money.

 

 

17-20. “Not that I am seeking an additional gift; but I seek in addition the fruit that may abound unto your account.

 

 

“But I have now all things, and abound: I am filled full, having received from Epaphroditus the things from you, a scent of perfume, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.

 

 

“But my God shall fill up all your need, according to His riches in glory, in Christ Jesus.

 

 

“Now to God and our Father be glory for ever and ever Amen

 

 

Paul’s enemies would be ready to say that he spoke so much of his need, because he was angling for a further gift.  But it was not so.  Far, indeed, from that was he.  But he would gladly encourage them to give in the Lord’s cause; for in the Great Day it would be found a benefit to themselves.  “Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, verily I say [Page 121] unto you, he shall in no wise lose his rewardMatt. 10.  And on the other hand, “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.  Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his own flesh shall out of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the spirit, shall out of the spirit reap life eternal*Gal. 6.

 

[* NOTE. The Greek adjective before the word “life” is ‘aeonian’; and, in this context, - a context of works - the clause should therefore be  translated: “… of the spirit he will reap life age-lasting”, (Lit. Gk.)]

 

This gift was one of the fruits of the righteousness of Christ, which God had bestowed on them.  It was one of the New Testament sacrifices, which had superseded the gift of bulls and goats to the altar.  With it, as taught of Christ, God was well pleased.  It was a token of the new nature imparted by the Holy Spirit.  It would surely be rewarded by Christ in the Coming Day.

 

 

Paul was robbed of his worldly goods, and seldom had money.  How then would he have fruit, that might abound to his account in the Great Day!

 

 

“If I live in the flesh, this is to me fruit of labour...” 1: 22.  Christ would remember and reward that.  The Philippian saints had money; and in bestowing some of it on Paul they would have fruit, which the Saviour would put to their account.  Both the poor labourer in the Gospel, and the saint that has well used his money shall be rewarded.  God was well pleased with this sacrifice: ver. 18.

 

 

21-23. “Salute every saint in Christ Jesus.  The brethren with me salute you.

All the saints salute you; but especially those of the house of Caesar.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen

 

 

God had His elect saints, even in the idolatrous and most profligate house of the emperor Nero.  And they are not ashamed to confess themselves as servants of Christ, and of one body with the despised Christians.

 

 

Paul begins his epistle with grace and peace, and ends it with the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, so necessary to every believer.  In His fulness we stand.

 

 

*       *       *

 

[Page 102]

NOTE A.

 

 

PHILIPPIANS 3: 9.

 

 

(1) “The righteous by faith (2) shall live

 

 

Thus should be translated a leading passage, which might be called ‘Paul’s banner.’

 

 

The exact words occur three times in Paul’s epistles, and once virtually in Phil. 3: 9.

 

 

Our translators render the words in their three occurrences, - ‘The just shall live by faith

 

 

But the order of the Greek both in Habakkuk and in Paul’s citation, is different.  It is ‘THE RIGHTEOUS BY FAITH SHALL LIVE

 

 

Nor is the difference unimportant.  Luther, Calvin and our translators understood the words to refer to the believer’s present life before God.  D’Aubigne gives us an example in the life of Luther which attests this. Luther was at Rome.

 

 

“One day, amongst others, wishing to gain an indulgence which the Pope had promised to every one who on his knees should climb up what is called Pilate’s Stair, the Saxon monk was humbly crawling up the steps, which, he was told, had been miraculously transported to Rome from Jerusalem.  But while he was engaged in this meritorious act, he thought he heard a voice of thunder, which cried at the bottom of his heart, as at Wittenberg and Bologna, ‘The just shall live by faith  These words, which had already on two different occasions struck him like the voice of an angel of God, resounded loudly and incessantly within him.  He rises up in amazement from the steps alone, which he was dragging his body.  Horrified at himself, and ashamed to see how far superstition has abased him, he flies far from the scene of his folly:” vol. i. chap. vi.

 

 

Now that faith is the sustaining principle of spiritual life, is a great truth; but not the one here designed, as appears by the order of the prophet’s words, and by Paul’s use of them.

 

 

Let us look then at the three occurrences of them.

 

 

I. The first occurrence of them is in Rom. 1: 16-18.

 

[Page 103]

16. “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of the Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every believer.

 

 

17. “For the righteousness of God by faith is in it revealed unto faith; as it is written, ‘The righteous by faith shall live

 

 

18. “For the wrath of God from heaven is revealed on all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men

 

 

The text in question is divided into two parts.

 

 

(1) “The righteous by faith (2) shall live

 

 

That the ‘righteous’ is a better rendering than ‘the just,’ will, I suppose, at once approve itself.  It is thus brought into close conjunction with the occurrences of ‘righteousness’ so frequent in this epistle.  The employment of another word interrupts the flow of the argument to the mind of an English reader.

 

 

1. The 16th verse contains a statement of the two parts of the text.  (1) ‘The Gospel, to every believer, (2) is the power of God to save

 

 

2. The 17th verse shows us that jewel of the Gospel on which depends salvation.  It is “the righteousness of God” provided by the Most High in the work of Christ, for those who were unrighteous and condemned.

 

 

3. The 18th verse sets before us the necessity of righteousness, if we would not lie under the wrath of God lying upon ungodliness toward Himself, and unrighteousness to our fellow-men, for ever.  As (1) ‘the righteous by faith (2) shall live so (1) ‘the unrighteous by his own works (2) shall be lost in the Second Death  Thus the three verses together are an establishment of the two parts of the text of the prophet.

 

 

We are not righteous by our own works before God, as the law insisted, ‘He, that doeth them shall live in them  But (1) “he, that is righteous by faith in the work of Christ, (2) shall live  And the life promised relates to the eternal life, belonging to an eternal righteousness.  For “My salvation shall be for ever, and My righteousness shall not be abolished Isa. 51: 6. [Page 104] “My righteousness shall be for ever; and My salvation from generation to generationverse 8.  (1) The good news of the Gospel relates to a righteousness wrought by Christ, and (2) carrying with it life eternal.  Thus the two parts of the prophet’s text are proved. (1) ‘THE RIGHTEOUS BY FAITH (2) SHALL LIVE;’ and that for ever.  And that is the “salvation” brought by faith.  Grace “reigns through righteousness, unto eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord

 

 

Put together the two statements in Rom. 1: 16-18, and we have:

 

 

16, 17. The (1) Gospel bringing righteousness (2) to every believer, is (3) salvation.  (1) “The righteous (2) by faith (3) shall live

 

 

Here then ‘shall live’ means ‘salvation,’ or eternal life.

 

 

This citation from Habakkuk is the key to the whole epistle.  The Apostle shows, that righteousness to the sinner cannot come through law and works; but through faith in the righteousness of the Second Adam, Christ.  Then the “shall live” is further expounded for us, as relating also to the millennial life of a thousand years, a matter of reward to the obedient.  “For if ye live after the flesh, ye are about to die; but if ye through the Spirit mortify the works of the body, ye shall live8: 13.  Here are a life and a death suspended on our conduct after faith.  The context tells of the time, when the glory shall be revealed unto the sons of God; and when creation, which has suffered through Adam’s fall, shall be delivered.  “That as sin hath reigned in death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord Here is eternal salvation, the fruit of [impeccable and] eternal righteousness.

 

 

II. The second occurrence is in Galatians 3: 11.

 

 

The Christian is justified, “not by works of law, but by the hearing of belief, even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him unto righteousness So [Page 105] then they who believe as Abraham did, are his sons.  The nations, and not Israel alone, are blessed, wherever they are possessed of Abraham’s faith; according to the promise made to the patriarch.  But the men of law are cursed as disobedient.  Not one loves God with all his heart.  None is justified then by law before God.  For “THE RIGHTEOUS BY FAITH SHALL LIVE,” says the prophet.  And justification by law can only take place on the opposite principle.  ‘He that doeth the law’s commands shall live in them  None but Christ could take away the curse of law from off us; and that only by bearing it Himself on the tree of death.  Law cannot give life, and from a dead soul and spirit, righteousness cannot flow.

 

 

We are justified then by faith.  Immersed into Christ, we have put off Adam and Moses, and put on Christ; and become in Him one person, possessed of one righteousness before God.

 

 

Walk not after the way of the flesh; otherwise you shall not enter the millennial kingdom of God: Rom. 5: 16 [See Jas. 2: 20].  Those alive in the spirit are to walk in the spirit.  Reaping in the Day of Christ shall be as the sowing.  ‘He who sows to his own flesh shall reap corruption’ (he shall be confined to the tomb, when the approved are enjoying the First Resurrection); ‘but he that soweth to the spirit shall out of the spirit reap life eternal [age-lasting]Gal. 6: 8. * This verse then gives us the sense of the “SHALL LIVE” of the prophet.

 

[* Another good example, of where this same Greek word ‘aionian’ should be translated ‘age-lasting’ instead of ‘eternal’ or ‘everlasting,’ is found in Heb. 5: 9: “   he (Christ) became to to all those obeying him a cause of salvation age-lasting, 10 having been declared by the God a high-priest according to the order of Melchizedek:” (Lit Greek.)  Here is reference made of a future salvation for those: “guarded through faith, for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (or ‘season’):” (1 Peter 1: 5, (Lit. Greek.)]

 

 

III. The third occurrence of this weighty sentence is found in Hebrews 10: 38. We cannot go through the whole epistle; but begin the consideration of it with chap. 10.

 

 

Pardon and access to God in the Holiest above have been granted to us through the sacrifice and priesthood of Christ.  Therefore let us draw near.

 

 

But it is possible for the justified by faith to draw back through unbelief; in the wilful returning to [Page 106] flesh and law.  This is an offence for which no sacrifice can be found.  Be patient [persevering], then, believers, in the path of faith, and the troubles into which it leads you.  Cast not away your confidence in Christ, which will bring great reward at His appearing: ver. 35.  Then will you receive the blessings promised.<