The Berean Expositor
Volume 9 - Page 130 of 138
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spoken of as types, but such passages are not strictly connected with the thought of
Phil. 3: We have not yet, however, considered the particular phase of the apostle's
example that he gives in Phil. 3:; that particular phase is given in verse 20, but is
preceded by a warning concerning those whose walk is quite contrary; these two types,
the one to follow and the other to avoid, together with their ends, we must leave for
another paper.
#19. The enemies of the cross (Phil. 3: 18, 19).
pp. 53 - 57
Before passing on to the grand conclusion of the chapter, which gives a glimpse of
what the "out resurrection" will mean, the apostle pauses to give one final word of
earnest warning. Early in the chapter he had sounded the same note, "Beware of dogs,
beware of evil workers, beware of the concision, for we are the circumcision which
worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the
flesh"; these "dogs", "evil workers", and "concision" are in utter opposition to the true
circumcision. Sadly enough, not only without but within the church were those who were
not the true circumcision:--
"For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping
(parallel to the writing the same things which to the apostle was not grievous, as this was,
but was safe), that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction,
whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things."
When the apostle speaks in the same breath of his own example, and that of those
whose walk must not be imitated, it seems impossible to believe that he is speaking of the
unsaved. Surely the example of the unsaved would be no snare to the Philippians in their
running for the prize! No, these are believers, who though redeemed by the precious
blood of Christ, and therefore saved and justified, had not gone on to realize the deeper
teaching of His cross, who had not learned the circumcision of their flesh, whose God
was, alas, their belly, whose mind was set on earthly things. Of such the apostle says,
"their end is destruction". Concerning His sheep the Saviour had said, "they shall never
perish", and this we believe is foundation truth also concerning every member of His
church. The destruction here cannot refer to the believer himself, but is to be understood
by its context, as being similar to the teaching if I Cor. 3: 15-17. "If any man's work
shall be burned, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire. . . .
if any may defile (margin and R.V. "destroy") the temple of God, him shall God
destroy". The words, "he himself shall be saved", and "him shall God destroy", are so
contradictory that the latter clause demands an explanation that shall bring it into line
with what is clearly taught in verse 15. The word here rendered "destroy" signifies to
spoil, mar, deprave, and this meaning agrees with the teaching as to suffering loss;
further, there is something worth considering in the suggestion that the word rendered
"him" should read "it", indicating thereby the building which, not being "God's
building", is destroyed.