The Spiritual Mind - Cont'd.
Verses 15-16: Now if youre going to run a race you have to be
focused, know the rules of the race to run it most effectively. Again, remember
this isnt talking about salvation; its talking about sanctification.
We, if we are mature, will have this focus. Our relationship with the Lord
must be the focus of our life. In fact, it is holding this view that is a
sign of maturity. Again, this is process. This is why God provides us pastors,
until we all reach unity in the faith and
in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole
measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).
Paul says, in all modesty, if you dont agree with what he is saying,
its only a matter of time until God brings you around to this way of
thinking. We call ourselves believers, so it is only reasonable that we life
up to that calling. And it is possible to do so, to the extent we are willing
to let God live His life through us.
Verse 17-19: Paul doesnt leave the Philippians without help
in this process. Keeping in mind these believers didnt have a completed
New Testament, they needed examples for their conduct. So Paul presents them
with examples, himself and others who had been ministered to by him. And
what pattern is he talking about? He wants them to follow the example of
mature believers, focusing on the Lord. The result of modeling themselves
after these people will be keeping perspective, pursuing the goal and not
having their joy stolen by circumstances, people and things.
The Philippians arent to be thrown or distracted from the race, by
the attacks of the enemy. Who are these enemies? They are those who profess
Christ, but dont posses Him. Wiersbe believes they are the Judaizers
we have already discussed. On the other hand, Kent seeing the thrust of the
passage towards maturity and discipline, thinks the problem may have been
more one of lack of these qualities in the enemies.
Others (commentators) view them as antinomians, who went to the opposite
extreme from the Judaizers and threw off all restraints
By their lawless
lives, they too were enemies of the Cross and the new life that should issue
from it. Verse 19 is more readily understood of the antinomians. It is not
likely that these men were simply pagans, of whom nothing much better was
to be expected. In all probability, they were professing Christians, but
ones whose lives were so profligate that it was clear to Paul that they had
never been regenerated. Presumably, they were not actually members of the
Philippian church (the character of the entire Epistle would have been different
if many such people were in that congregation), but because there
were such in the Christian world as a whole, they posed a danger to every
But please note how Paul reacts to his enemies. What is his reaction to
them? He weeps for them. Why do you think this is the case? He
know they are lost. He knows they are Christs enemies and therefore
his. But, he also knows they are destined for destruction, and that is what
he is weeping over -the destruction of professed Christians. Identified is
the distinction between those who are committed to Christ and the lost, one
Paul had been encouraging the Philippians to keep their focus on the goal,
Christ. But what is the focus of the enemy? They are concerned about their
physical comfort, here described as their stomach. And all they claim to
their credit is success by the worlds standards. But these successes
are, from Gods perspective, the only one that counts, shame.
We dont have to be concerned with all the things people around us have,
because these things are empty. We dont need to be concerned with the
approval received by the lost, because it isnt Gods approval.