Philippians 3:15

Friday, 10 February 2017

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. Philippians 3:15

“Therefore” is given based on what he has said in verses 12 through 14. He said he was not perfected, nor had he already attained the end goal. Instead he was still in the race with all of his efforts directed toward “those things which are ahead.” He sums that up by saying, “…let us, as many as are mature, have this mind.” He is saying that those who are mature in their thoughts should conduct themselves in exactly this same manner.

Concerning the word “mature,” he uses the adjective form of the same word he used in verse 12 which was used as a verb. There, the NKJV translated it as “perfected,” but it is the same word. Because of this, there is certainly irony involved in the thought. He is contrasting himself to those who may claim that they are already perfected, which obviously they are not. Translating the words the same way will show his hint of irony –

  1. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected…
  2. Therefore let us, as many as are perfect…

Obviously, his intent is that being perfected is not the same as being perfect. Rather, the choice of “mature” gives the correct sense, but it loses the irony. The same word is used in 1 Corinthians 14:20; Ephesians 4:13; Hebrews 5:14, and etc., where it indicates a state of maturity. He is saying, in essence, “Those who are mature are not already perfected, but are striving forward towards that goal.” For the others then, they fall short because they are, in fact, not perfected. Instead they are not striving forward toward perfection, and thus they are immature.

He then notes this directly by saying, “…and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.” For those who are not striving forward in the way noted in verses 12-14, they have a surprise coming. God will reveal to them their folly in pursuing the temporary instead of pursuing the eternal. They should have fixed their eyes on Christ, and instead they have fixed their eyes on the flesh. While they should have been concerned about circumcision of the heart, they are having parts of their body removed; a body which would corrupt and return to the earth. Whatever was not being done with the ultimate goal of Christ in mind was useless, and that would be revealed to them by God.

Note that he does not say “by Christ Jesus.” They have not kept their eyes on Him as they should have. He should be the chief desire of their heart, and so God – Father, Son, and/or Holy Spirit – would reveal to them the error of their ways. God’s intent is for the Son to be exalted.

Life application: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, striving towards Him as our goal. We are to emulate Him now, endeavoring to be more and more like him until we are perfected in  Him.

Heavenly Father, Your word instructs us to fix our eyes on Jesus, to strive to be like Him, to pursue Him and His righteousness always, and to never divert our attention from this goal. Help us in this Lord, the world has many temptations, and we face many trials. But despite these things, our hearts and attention need to be directed to the eternal, not these temporary things. Be with us in this, as we conduct ourselves in accord with Your desires for us. Amen.

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