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Philippians Chapter Three

Philippians Chapter Three

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY ROBERT RAINY, D.D.

NO CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH
BY ROBERT RAINY, D.D.

NO CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Aug 14, 2013
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PHILIPPIAS CHAPTER THREEBY ROBERT RAIY, D.D.O COFIDECE I THE FLESH" Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the samethings to you, to me indeed is not irksome, but for you it is safe.Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of theconcision: for we are. the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God, and glory in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh :though I myself might have confidence even in the flesh : if any otherman thinketh to have confidence in the flesh, I yet more : circumcisedthe eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, aHebrew of Hebrews ; as touching the law, a Pharisee ; as touching zeal,persecuting the Church; as touching the righteousness which is inthe law, found blameless. Howbeit what things were gain to me,these have I counted loss for Christ. Yea verily, and I count all thingsto be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus myLord."— Phil. iii. 1-8 (R.V.).CHAPTER X.O COFIDECE I THE FLESH.THE third chapter contains the portion of thisEpistle in which, perhaps, one is hardest put toit to keep pace with the writer. Here he gives us oneof his most remarkable expositions of true Christianreligion as he knew it, and as he maintains it must essen-tially exist for others also. He does this in a burst of thought and feeling expressed together : so that, if weare to take his meaning, the fire and the light mustboth alike do their work upon us ; we must feel and seeboth at once. This is one of the pages to which aBible reader turns again and again. It is one of the
 
passages that have special power to find and to stirbelieving men.Yet it seems to find its place in the letter almostincidentally.It would seem, as some have thought, that in thefirst verse of this chapter the Apostle begins to drawhis letter to a close. Cheerful words of farewell beginto shape themselves. At the same time a closingreference is in view to some practical danger that172 THE EPISTLE TO THE PHIL1PPIAS.required to be guarded against. Almost suddenlythings take a new turn, and a flood of great ideasclaim and take their place."Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord." Re- joice, Be of good cheer, was the common formula of leave-taking. The same word is translated " farewell "in 2 Cor. xiii. n (Authorised and Revised Versions).But the Apostle, especially in this Epistle, which isitself inspired by so much of Christian gladness, can-not but emphasise the proper meaning of the customaryphrase. Rejoice, yes, rejoice, my brethren, in the Lord.The same turn of thought recurs again in ch. iv. 4.What it is fitted to suggest will be equally in placewhen we reach that point.ow he seems to be on the point of introducingsome subject already referred to, either in this or ina previous Epistle. It concerned the safety of thePhilippians, and it required some courteous preface intouching on it once again ; so that, most likely, it wasa point of some delicacy. Some have thought this topicmight be the tendency to dissension which had appearedin Philippi. It is a subject which comes up again in ch. iv. :
 
it may have been upon the point of coming up here.The closing words of ver. 1 might well enough prefacesuch a reference. The theme was not so pleasant assome of those on which he had written : it might bedelicate for him to handle ; and it might call for someeffort on their part to take it well. Yet it concernedtheir safety they that should fully realise this elementiii. 1-8.] O COFIDECE I THE FLESH. 173of the situation, and should take the right view of it.Therefore also the Apostle would not count it irksome todo his part in relation to it. People entangled in a faultare in circumstances not favourable to a right estimateof their own case. They need help from those whocan judge more soundly. Yet help must be tenderedwith a certain considerateness.But at this point a new impulse begins to operate.Perhaps the Apostle was interrupted, and, before hecould resume, some news reaches him, awakeningafresh the indignation with which he always regardedthe tactics of the Judaisers. othing indicates that thePhilippian Church was much disposed to Judaise. Butif at this juncture some new disturbance from theJudaisers befell his work at Rome, or if news of thatkind reached him from some other field, it mightsuggest the possibility of those sinister influencesfinding their way also to Philippi. This is, of course,a conjecture merely ; but it is not an unreasonable one.It has been offered as an explanation of the somewhatsudden burst of warning that breaks upon us inch. iii. 2 ; while, in the more tranquil strain of ch. iv., topics are resumed which easily link them-selves to ch. iii. 1.*

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