Tuesday, 14 February 2017
…whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. Philippians 3:19
Concerning “the enemies of the cross of Christ” of the previous verse, Paul now says that their “end is destruction.” This is set in contrast to the “resurrection from the dead” in verse 11, and of the right of entry into the New Jerusalem for the believer which will be noted in verse 20. Instead of an anticipation of life, these enemies of the cross will be cast into the burning pit of the Lake of Fire. Their reward is one of perdition, as the Greek reads, not salvation.
In order to explain why this is so, he next gives three descriptions of them which reflects their very character and nature. First he says, “whose god is their belly.” This is a further explanation of his words of Romans 16 –
“For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.” Romans 16:18
This same idea concerning the appetites of the belly is given in 2 Peter 2 and in Jude. These people live for the temporary, feasting themselves now on that which can never fully satisfy while forsaking the true heavenly meal which will satisfy for eternity. Paul will give a contrast of this description to that of the believer in verse 21.
He next says of them that their “glory is in their shame.” In Ephesians 5, Paul notes that there are things which are shameful even to speak of even in secret. However, these perverse people actually glory in such things . Perfectly representing this are modern homosexual pastors and preachers. They revel in their perversion, and they openly avow that they engage in such abominable practices. They glory in defying the Lord who would save them if they would simply turn and be saved. But instead of this, Paul gives the final description of them by saying that they “set their mind on earthly things.”
This state is in contrast to the thoughts of verses 13 and 21. We are to set our mind on that which is heavenly and eternal, not on that which is worldly and temporary. This contrast between the two is well described by Paul in Romans 8 –
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:5
Life application: If this life is where our hopes lie, then our hopes will die with us in this life. But if the promise of God which is found in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is where our hopes lie, then there is a great and eternal reward which awaits us. May we think reasonably and rationally concerning our eternal destiny. This life is but a temporary breath. Is it worth sacrificing eternity for such a passing moment?
Lord God, when we are young, it seems as life will go on and on, but as we grow older we realize how temporary our life really is. In this, we have but two choices. We can set our hopes and affections on You, and on the eternal ages which stand before us, or we can greedily live for all that we can grasp now, forsaking true life and filling this temporary, vain existence with earthly things. Give us wisdom to use our time rightly, and to live for the greater hope which is found in the finished work of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.