Summary: An in-depth study on the book of Philippians.
Philippians Part 15, Chapter 3:4-3:12
I. Confidence in Flesh (v. 3:4-)
A. Paul was a descendant of the tribe of Benjamin. Benjamin and Joseph were the sons of
the favored wife Rachel. Paul was not of Ishmael (Abraham & Hagar) nor of Esau
(Isaac & Rebekah). The first king, Saul, was of the tribe of Benjamin.
1. A Hebrew—spoke Hebrew language and lived Hebrew customs.
2. A Pharisee—elite group –the “Separated Ones”. Never more than 6,000—spiritual
Athletes of Judaism.
B. I have no confidence in the flesh.
C. Concerning zeal, persecuting the church. (v. 3:6)
Concerning zeal, persecuting the church - Showing the greatness of my zeal
for the religion which I believed to be true, by persecuting those whom I
considered to be in dangerous error. Zeal was supposed to be, as it is, an
important part of religion; Paul says that he had shown the highest degree of
zeal that was possible. He had gone so far in his attachment for the religion of
his fathers, as to pursue with purposes of death those who had departed from
it, and who had embraced a different form of belief. If any, therefore, could
hope for salvation on the ground of extraordinary devotedness to religion, he
said that he could. (Barnes’ Notes)
D. Blameless concerning the Law. (v. 3:6)
Touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless - So far as the righteousness
which can be obtained by obeying the law is concerned. It is not needful to suppose here
that he refers merely to the ceremonial law; but the meaning is, that he did all that could
be done to obtain salvation by the mere observance of law. (Barnes’ Notes)
He led a moral and strictly upright life, and no one had occasion to "blame" or to
accuse him as a violator of the law of God. There is every reason to believe that Paul,
before his conversion, was a young man of correct deportment, of upright life, of entire
integrity; and that he was free from the indulgences of vice and passion, into which
young people often fall. (Barnes’ Notes)
E. Taking an account; That I may win Christ. (v. 3:7-8)
1. He had been led by these things to an improper estimate of his own character, and
he had been thus hindered from embracing the true religion. He says, therefore,
that he now renounced all dependence on them; that he esteemed them not as
contributing to his salvation, but, so far as any reliance should be placed on them,
as in fact so much loss. (Barnes’ Notes)
2. Earthly Rich—Scholar—but Heavenly Poor
3. Paul lost his religion and his reputation, but he gained far more than he lost.
4. “He is no fool to give what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot
5. Paul knew that the only way to peace was to abandon the way of human
achievement and accept the way of grace. (WB pg 61)
II. Life in Christ (v. 3:9)
A. Life in Christ is not a continuance of the former life under new conditions; it is a new
qualitative life which is the risen Christ’s heavenly life. The old life simply is not
purged of its evil aspects. Life in Christ means that a person is “a new creation.”
B. Faith is not mere assent to testimony, a mental act separable form personal trust and
reliance. The derived meaning of the word stresses the idea of personal reliance.
It also involves distrust in self and trust only in Christ. Believers are united with
Christ by God’s grace through faith.
III. That I may know Him (v. 3:10)
A. To know Christ means that we share the way He walked; we share the cross He bore;
we share the death He died; and finally we share the life He lives forever more.
B. If Christians are satisfied with Christ for salvation, they cannot be satisfied with
themselves until they are like Him. (Robbins pg 99)
C. To know Him means more than simple knowledge of, but an intimate relationship.
D. We should never rest until we know Him as we know our friends, and are able to read
without speech the movements of His soul. We should know by a quick intuition
what will please and what will hurt His pure and holy nature. We should know
where to find Him; should be familiar with His modes of thought and methods of
action; should understand and identify ourselves with His goings forth, as, day by
day, He goes through the world healing and saving. (F. B. Meyer)
E. Power of His Resurrection – Christians ability to conquer sin’s daily habits, and the
possibility of living in daily holiness, are derived from the power of the resurrected
Christ living in them. (RFR)