V 1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.
Last but not least, rejoice in Christ. The word “joy” and “rejoice” appeared 19 times in Philippians. Paul rejoiced in prison but his audience was free. Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”
VV 2-7, 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
The Greek word for dog is “kuon” a mongrel dog. Beware of the Judaiser, legalistic Jews who insisted that Gentile believers be circumcised, keep the law, observe the ritual, sabbath, temple worship, and other religious activities. True circumcision is spiritual, not physical, inward, not outward, of the heart, and not of the flesh. A true Jew is someone who is circumcised, in the heart. Romans 2:28-29, NLT, “For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people”. Paul was a Jew, a Pharisee, circumcised in the flesh, zealous for the law, persecuted the church, but he counted these things as nothing to boast about.
VV 8-11, 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
He counted these things as rubbish. The Greek word for rubbish is “skubalon”, which word means dung, refuse, or waste thrown to dogs. A Jewish heritage, circumcision, law-keeping, religiosity, and legalism is to be counted as rubbish. To be imputed with the righteousness of Christ and knowing Christ and the power of His resurrection is the real deal.
VV 12-16, 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.
Christ is the author and perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12:2, “looking unto Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”.
Like running a race, persevere and endure to reach the finished line and win the heavenly prize from Christ. Live in anticipation of heaven. This world is not our home, we are just passing through.
VV 17-19, 17 Brethren, join in following my example and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their mind on earthly things.
Paul is our role model. 1 Cor 11:1, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ”. Beware of enemies of the cross, the Judaisers, legalists, who insists on circumcision, the liberal theologians, who reject the substitutionary atonement of Christ, the TV evangelists, who preach the gospel to line their pockets and self-glorification. Sounds familiar?
VV 20-21, 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
Our citizenship is in heaven and we must patiently wait for Jesus’ second coming, the rapture and resurrection of the dead. 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord”.