Summary: A study of three of the most common misconceptions about salvation.
Misconceptions about Salvation
Scripture References: Philippians 3:2-4:1
Other References: The Bible Knowledge Commentary
a. We each have made mistakes in our life. We probably continue to do so today.
b. Some have little price other than perhaps an embarrassment. Others, can cost us with huge impact—our source of income, our health, and ultimately our life.
c. It is also possible to make mistakes when it comes to salvation.
d. In today’s message, Paul warns the Philippians of three major mistakes we can make when it comes to our view of salvation.
e. Those same mistakes are just a possible today as they were in Paul’s time.
f. Read Philippians 3:2-21
2. I’ve got me, what else do I need? (vv 2-11)
a. In this passage, Paul was warning the Philippians to not fall into the same trap the Judaizers had.
(1) The Judaizers were a Christian sect still adhering to the Jewish Law. They came from converted Pharisees.
(2) Unwilling to see Judaism die out, they adopted a legalistic idea of salvation and insisted that no non-Jews could be saved without submitting to circumcision and observing the Law of Moses.
(3) The legalistic parallel of the Judaizers can be seen in many churches today.
b. Verses 3-4a
(1) Paul stresses that it is their faith in God and in Christ that saved them. They did not rely on works or the law as the Judaizers did.
(2) Rather than bragging about and relying on human accomplishments, they should boast about and rely on Christ alone.
(3) Paul stressed it wasn’t the physical circumcision that guaranteed their salvation, but rather they were, because of their faith in and reliance on Christ, circumcised of the heart, as God had intended.
Read Deuteronomy 30:6—The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.
c. Verses 4b-11
(1) Paul placed no confidence in his abilities or in his station in life.
(2) He recounts for the Philippians the things he could have placed his confidence, much as the Judaizers were.
(3) His list includes all the things he did place great confidence in before Christ.
(4) Almost as though he was challenging the Judaizers to a showdown, Paul establishes that in his former life, he was greater than them; but he gave all of that up for what now has in Christ.
(a) Privileges of Birth (without choice)
(1) Circumcised on the 8th day—exactly as Jewish law required; not at some point later in life like the proselytes or after age 13 like the Ishmaelites, but as a pure-blooded Jew.
(2) Of Israeli birth—both of his parents were Jewish (not Jew and Gentile). He could trace his lineage all the way back to Abraham.
(3) From the tribe of Benjamin—the tribe which produced Israel’s first king. This tribe was viewed with great honor and esteem.
(4) A Hebrew of Hebrews—Hebrew was his native tongue. Unlike some of the Israelites, he did not adopt Greek customs. He knew thoroughly the language and the customs of the people of God. He was a Hebrew son of Hebrew parents.
(b) Chosen Privileges
(1) Pharisee—a member of the strictest sect among his people. Pharisees added their own regulations to the Law of Moses, which in time were interpreted as equal to the law.
(2) Zeal—his was so great he persecuted the church of Christ. No Judaizer could match that claim.
(3) Legalistic Righteousness—in his own eyes he was faultless.
(5) The Judaizers would have loved to be able to boast such a list of credentials, but Paul considered them loss or rubbish in comparison to what he gained in Christ. Having Christ as his Lord and Savior far surpassed anything he had in Judaism.
(6) Paul goes on to say that even though he knew Christ as his Savior, he wanted to know Him more intimately as his Lord.
(a) The Greek translated “to know” in v. 10 means “to know by experience.”
(b) Paul desired to experience the very power that brought about Christ’s resurrection and is now part of every believer’s life.
(c) Paul also longed to share in Christ’s sufferings and become like Him in His death.
(1) These were not the substitutionary sufferings on the cross, because Paul knew that those could not be shared.
(2) Paul desired, because he was one of Christ’s, to participate in Christ’s suffering for the sake of righteousness.
(d) The words translated “becoming like Him” mean “being inwardly conformed in one’s experience to something,” in this case Christ’s death. As Christ died for sin, a believer must die to sin.
3. I’m saved so I don’t have to worry about Christ any more. (vv 12-16)