TAKING HOLD OF WHAT CHRIST HOLDS FOR ME
1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safe-guard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh—4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is my faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Indicate verses in your response) Paul is still rejoicing, but what about the dogs?
In vrs. 2 and 3, what is the contrast between spiritual and physical circumcision? (Colossians 2:11-13; Jeremiah 9:25, 26; Romans 2:28, 29).
What is Paul’s answer to the “dogs” and mutilators of verse 2 in 4-6?
What change came to Paul’s achievements?
What did Paul get in exchange for his rubbish?
What was Paul’s part in the exchange?
What did Paul want to know by experience?
From this passage, what can we conclude about “sinless perfection?
What prize does God have waiting for you in heaven?
How can we forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead?
Rejoice in the Lord:
Loss for the sake of Christ:
Like Him in His death:
Pressing toward heaven:
One of the issues that plagued the early church was the practice of circumcision. There were Judaizers who wanted to impose the old ceremonial law on Gentile believers. In perhaps his strongest statement, here Paul stripped away the notion that acceptance in God’s sight is based on what we do rather than on what God has done.
Our standing before God comes from our being “in Christ.” Paul reminded the Philippians that he had all the credentials of Judaism. He gave that all up so he could be in relationship with God through Christ.