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importance to us both in its teaching and its help in understanding the nature and purpose
of God: we must not confuse that with the teaching before us; to obtain the prize,
conformity to His death is necessary. Paul has already spoken in this strain before; he
"Always bearing about in the body the dying (`deadness', see Rom. 4: 19) of Jesus,
that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body" (II Cor. 4: 10).
The death of Christ is a wide term. From one aspect it stands alone, none can enter
into fellowship with Him. In the capacity of the bearer of sin that sacrificial death would
lose its saving power were it possible for even one to aspire to fellowship in it. But the
death of Christ has other aspects; such a passage as I John 3: 16 will illustrate this:--
"Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us; and we
ought to lay our lives for the brethren."
In this aspect the believer is called upon to be "conformed". Again, Eph. 5: 2 presents
another aspect of that death with which we may have fellowship:--
"Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering
and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet smelling savour."
Phil. 4: 18 uses the same words in reference to the kindly acts of the Philippians in
ministering to the apostle's needs:--
"But I have all and abound, I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things
which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice well pleasing to God."
The words of I Pet. 4: 1-4 and 12-14, while referring indeed to the sufferings of
Christ, give the same line of argument. Returning to the epistle to the Philippians, the
great emphasis is placed upon the fact that the death of Christ was the death of the cross
(Phil. 2: 8). This passage, as indeed the whole epistle, was not written to teach doctrine,
but to enjoin practice. Philippians contains no reference to the doctrine of, or even the
words, "Redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins". Sin and redemption are
not under consideration, it is supposed that the reader has already believed the basic
teaching of Ephesians, and desires to "walk worthy". That profound revelation, both of
the person and work of Christ given in Phil. 2: 6-11, was written to give point to the
exhortation, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus", the lowest depth
of His humiliation is sounded when we read the words, "and became obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross". It is to this aspect of His death that the apostle looks in
3: 10, and to this he looks when uttering his warning with weeping in verse 18, when he
speaks of those whose walk showed them to be enemies of the cross of Christ.
In an article under the heading Things that differ, we show that fellowship with this
aspect of Christ's death is voluntary. The cross had a meaning before Christ Himself was
crucified, as may be seen by reading the closing verses of Matt. 16: To take up one's
cross was to deny one's self. We do not repeat ourselves here, but pass to yet another
aspect; it is hinted in Phil. 3:, but set out in Col. 2: In Phil. 3:, before the apostle
recounts his loss and his gain, or tells of his desire for the prize, he says:--