Philippians 3:16-21
Phil 3:16 (KJB)
Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
Rule - Measuring rod or standard
Paul is speaking about those who are maturing in the faith according to what he stated in the previous verses. For those who are walking in the faith and growing, all are to walk in the same standard, that is, the same pattern of seeking that higher calling and they are to think the same things. When a group of Christians is growing in the faith and are all in unison about walking in the Spirit and thinking the same thing, then there will be a strong group of Christians. When each one begins to think differently, there will be disharmony in the group, only when there is Christian unity is there strength. The rule we walk in is the grace of God and that will always be our standard.
Phil 3:17 (KJB)
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
Mark - Examine carefully or hold something as a model
Ensample - Pattern, model, or example
Paul now encourages the Philippians to take note of those who were walking according to the way just prescribed by Paul. He wants to make sure that they note the way they have been obedient and wants them to hold him and his close associates such as Timothy, Luke, Epaphroditus as examples of the way they should be walking in the faith. Here were living examples of how Christians were to be pursuing the high calling of God on their lives. On the other hand, Paul also wanted them to take note of those who were not walking according to these principles and they should note how they are not growing in the faith but have hindered themselves and caused stagnation. (Rom 16:17 KJV) Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. He gave this same admonition to the Romans, to examine carefully those who refuse to walk according to the truth.
Phil 3:18 (KJB)
(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:
Paul plainly describes these people as enemies of the cross of Christ and if Paul says he is weeping over it, he is weeping, because he knows fully well what the end of these people will be. It is very important that Christians know exactly who the enemies of the cross are so they will not fall prey their pernicious teachings. Too many Christians do not take the time to examine the teachings of questionable people who exalt themselves as teachers. This is a tragedy because these self-appointed teachers sow much discord in the body by means of their false teachings. The word ďwalkĒ is in the present tense which means that this reality can be applied to all generations.
Phil 3:19 (KJB)
Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
Destruction - Ruin or waste
Belly - Figuratively used as the seat of manís evil desires
Shame - Disgrace
Here Paul gives a fourfold description of these false teachers. First, the end of all false teachers and their false teaching will be eternal hell. They may be able to go around freely and preach what they want, but the reality is that their end will be an eternity in hell. Next Paul states that their god is their belly, that is, they pull all their false teachings from a heart of evil, or from their unsaved opinions which will always go contrary to Godís teachings. Next, they have no glory as the true believer does by bringing people into the Kingdom of God but these false teachers have only the glory of their shame. They are normally involved in schemes to defraud people, as we see today, and when they get caught and exposed, all the world sees them only in their shame for their evil actions. Then finally, Paul states they care nothing for the eternal things but mind only earthly things and that would definitely include money and material possessions. The false teachers always have a proclivity toward worldly possessions and that is why we see many false teachers today with million dollar homes and expensive cars. It is all about earthly gain for them.
Phil 3:20 (KJB)
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Conversation - Citizenship
Here is the contrast between those who are false teachers and those who are real redeemed Christians. While we are still on earth, we have citizenship in Heaven which will come to pass on the last day when all the believers will be taken to Heaven. As believers in a sin cursed world, we look forward to the time when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to take all His children to Heaven and we will forever be with Him and never again face any type of sin. This verse also teaches that as believers, we have a different authority being citizens of Heaven. Those who are unsaved will look for the things of earth to satisfy them but those who are saved know well that earthly goods do not satisfy and we have a higher calling than just trying to amass wealth, for that will fade on the last day. As citizens of Heaven, we are ambassadors for that kingdom until the time we are called back home eternally.
Phil 3:21 (KJB)
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Vile - body of humiliation
Fashioned - Conformed
To subdue - To put under subjection or submission
One of the greatest transformations in all of history is about to take place and that is the changing of our corrupted, sick, painful, hurting bodies to the glorious eternal bodies like that of the Lord Jesus Christ, whereby there will never be any pain again, it will be finished forever. (1 Cor 15:43-44 KJV) It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: {44} It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. The reason it is called a body of humiliation is because as children of God, it is below the qualified standard for being able to be in Heaven and in the presence of God. We would be consumed if we tried to stand in Godís glory with our present bodies. When the Lord Jesus Christ returns, there will not only be a transforming of the bodies of the Saints, but there will be a complete submission of all the unbelievers under Judgment and the removal of Satan, sin, and all the things which have opposed the Lord Jesus Christ and His redeemed children. (Rev 20:10 KJV) And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. The world and the universe will be changed from vile to righteous and never again be taunted by Satan and his minions. Oh glorious day!