Philippians

Philippians 3:17-21 No Dual Citizenship.

We have to walk the talk. True faith will evidence itself in the fruit in one’s life lived. Paul considered his readers to be brethren, and as such he urged them to walk according to the pattern of his own example (v. 17). He was not ashamed to ask them to imitate his own example, but only insofar as he imitated Christ (Cf. I Cor. 4:16; 11:1). Paul delineated to the pastoral protégé Titus what this entailed (2:7-8). Walking is inevitable, but we walk what we believe, albeit not perfectly or consistently. However, there is another way to walk that is fundamentally opposed to the way of the word and the gospel. There are some who talk a good game but who show by their walk that they are “enemies of the cross of Christ” (v. 18). Paul, through the cross of Christ, was crucified to the world (Gal. 6:14).

In both the Galatian context and here, Paul has in view those of the circumcision, who took pride in themselves and the outward badges of membership (3:1-11). They were essentially advocating a different “gospel,” a perversion of the true, which evidenced itself in the lack of spiritual fruit in their lives (Cf. Ga. 1:6-7). Paul accuses his opponents of idolatry-making a god out of their own bellies. These enemies of the cross knew nothing of the sufferings of the cross, rather they gloried in their own shame-they took pride in their gluttony and excess. These are those who set their minds only on earthly things, whose end is destruction (v. 19 Cf. Rom. 8:5; II Cor. 11:15; I Tim. 6:5). Christians, on the other hand, have their citizenship in heaven, and we are more and more being conformed to His image (vv. 20-21).

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