Our End Game In Christ
Today we finish Philippians chapter 3, which puts us on pace to complete this letter by the middle of September. We’ll try to determine if Paul is prideful, where our citizenship lies and what the endgame of our faith truly is.
Paul starts out this final paragraph with what seems on the surface as a statement exuding pride. He says, Brethren, join in following my example, and observe the pattern you have in us. In essence, Paul is saying to be like him. Follow his example. Pattern your life after me. Is this prideful? For most of us, yes. But what is Paul truly saying? What pattern is his life following? What Paul is saying is that he has given up everything that was important to him so that he can follow Christ. He is not saying that the Philippians should follow him because he is anything special. He has already dispelled that when he called his resume’ rubbish. He is saying that the only thing he does that amounts to anything is following Christ and they should do the same.
Others don’t do this and this is to their detriment. For many walk, of who I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ. Here Paul gives the counter point to following his example. Others live their lives as enemies of Christ. Paul has told the Philippians about them before and it breaks his heart to the point he actually cries. These could be false teachers who teach false gospels that minimize the cross. In reality, it’s anyone who opposes the cross of Christ. Paul’s desire is that they would know Christ.
Paul gives us a picture of what their life is like with out Christ. Whose end is destruction, who god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. In the end, without Christ, these enemies of Christ will only face destruction. Their fate is not life, but death. They only think of what they can consume to satisfy themselves. They live sinful lives and actually glory in what is truly shameful. Their mind is focused only on the here and now and what they can see.
Paul contrasts that with the his life and the life of the Philippians. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul is not simply earthly minded. He is a citizen of God’s kingdom. For him, to live is Christ, to die is gain. He can’t wait to see Christ. He is so heavenly minded that he is earthly good.
What happens in that day when he, and the Philippians, and us, get to be with Christ? Who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. Our end is not destruction, like the enemies of Christ. Instead out end is to be transformed into something much more, something that resembles Christ in His glory. Paul demonstrates the power of Christ to be able to this is also that power that he has to subject all things to himself.
What do we learn from Paul in the passage? He encourages the Philippians, and us, to imitate him by following Christ to the conclusion of being transformed, in the end, into what we were truly created to be.