Sermon 2553. The Enemies of the Cross of Christ
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, JANUARY 23, 1898.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, OCTOBER. 26 1884.
"For many walk, of whom Have toldyou often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the Cross of Christ:whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. Philippians 3:18,19.
IT would seem, dear Friends, that there have been trials and difficulties connected with the Church of Christ in every age.We dream that our temptations are worse than those of our fathers, but they are not. We fancy that the Church is subject toworse diseases than in her early days, but it is not so. Paul had to complain that even in the Church at Philippi, which wasabout as good as any, and in some respects much better than most of the Churches, there were false teachers, and false-livingmen, who professed to be followers of Christ, but who were, in fact, the worst enemies of the Cross of Christ. One thing Iwish and that is that, instead of brooding over our present difficulties, we would take them to the Lord in prayer and faith-andso triumph over them. But, at the same time, I wish that we had the same tenderness of heart for the Glory of God which wasfelt by the Apostle. That we were as sensitive as he was of anything that reflected upon the Divine honor, as jealous as hewas, even to tears, lest any who professed to be the friends of the Cross should, by their lives, turn out to be its worstenemies. Oh, for more of Paul's zeal for God as the great motive power of our life, so that we might feel that it matteredlittle how anything else went so long as the Grace of Christ triumphed, men were saved and God's name was glorified! The Lordbring us to that state of mind! We shall then feel the sins of today even more acutely than we do at present-and we shallthe more confidently trust in God as we seek to overcome them.
I am not going to confine the text to its immediate connection with the church at Philippi, but I shall take it on a somewhatlarger scale. Is it not startling to read of, "enemies of the Cross of Christ"? One would naturally have supposed that a remedyso wondrous and so effectual as the Atonement would have been gladly received by souls sick unto death with sin. It mighthave been predicted by any man who judged, concerning the future, that no sooner would the Son of God descend from Heavento earth-and die to put away human sin-than men would come flocking by millions to adore Him-and would feel as if they couldnot give Him a sufficiently hearty welcome! Yes, but the fact that there ever was a Cross shows how depraved is the humanheart, how great the Fall that needed such a Sacrifice, how deep the depravity that committed such a murder as that of Calvary!Man, you are beside yourself, indeed, and gone back out of the way and, therefore, it is not far-fetched that you should bean enemy of the Cross of Christ! Yet it seems very startling to me as I picture the scene-a bleeding Christ and enemies gatheredabout the Cross whereon He dies for them! Then, a weeping Apostle warning the Church of God-the messenger of Christ in tearsas he delivers the warning-yet Christ's enemies still unmoved, perhaps pretending to be His friends, but remaining hostileto Him all the while. It is a strange conglomerate of amazing things-a Savior full of love and man full of hate-a preacherwith a heart so broken that he rather weeps than preaches, and a congregation with hearts so hard that, though he has toldthem the Truth of God again and again, they do not regard it!
Let that striking mixture of opposing elements stand before you, now, while I begin to expound the text.
I. First, let us enquire, WHAT IS THIS CROSS OF CHRIST to which some men are sadly said to be enemies?
Of course, it is not the material cross. It is not anything made in the shape of the cross. There are some who can fall downand adore a cross of wood, or stone, or gold, but I cannot conceive of a greater wounding of the heart of Christ than to payreverence to anything in the shape of a cross, or to bow before a crucifix! I think the Savior must say, "What? What? Am Ithe Son of God and do they make even Meinto an idol? I who have died to redeem men from their idolatries, am I, Myself, takenand carved, and chiseled, and molten, and set up as an image to be worshipped by the sons of men?" When God says, "You shallnot make unto you any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in Heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath,or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them," it is a strange fantasyof human guilt that men should say, "We will even take the image of the Son of God, or some ghastly counterfeit that purportsto be His image, and will bow down and worship it, as if to make the Christ of God an accomplice in an act of rebellion againstthe commandment of the holy Law." No, it is not the material cross to which Paul alludes-we have nothing to do with thoseoutward symbols! We might have used them much more, but they have been so perverted to idolatry that some of us almost shudderat the very sight of them!
What is the Cross of Christ, then? Well, first, it is that doctrine which is the center of His holy religion, the Doctrineof the Atonement By the Cross we mean that the Son of God did actually and literally die, nailed to a Roman gibbet as a malefactor-numberedwith the transgressors-doing this because He had, of His own voluntary will, taken upon Himself the sin of His people and,being found with that sin upon Him, He must expiate it by His death. He must lay down His life, "the Just for the unjust,to bring us to God." As it is written, "He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousnessof God in Him." Now, they who oppose this doctrine are "the enemies of the Cross of Christ, and they who accept this Atonementand repose their entire confidence upon it, are the friends of the Cross of Christ. They think of that Sacrifice on Calvarywith reverence linked with love. They never know how sufficiently to speak of it with adoring gratitude that ever such a Victimshould have been presented-the Father, Himself, giving Him-and that such a Victim should ever have been slain, the Lord resigningHis life for us! Oh, it is amazing and more than amazing-a miracle that carries every other miracle within itself-greaterand more Divine than all the deeds whereof poets have sung, even though they are the deeds of God, Himself, for in this Hehas excelled Himself-
"God, in the Person of His Son, Has all His mightiest works outdone." They are "the enemies of the Cross of Christ" who tryto belittle this great Atonement and to make it out to be a very small affair, next to nothing in importance. As I have oftensaid of some preachers, they teach that Jesus Christ did something or other, which in some way or other, is in some measureor other connected with our salvation. We do not teach any such hazy ideas as that! We say that He laid down His life forthe sheep and that for those sheep He has made a perfect, complete and effectual Redemption by which He has delivered themfrom the wrath to come. Blessed is he who rejoices in that Doctrine of the Cross of Christ!
But by the Cross is sometimes meant, in Scripture, the Gospel which is the outflow of that central doctrine. And what is thatGospel? Why, that, "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." And that,"He has committed unto us the word of reconciliation," which word of reconciliation is this, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,and you shall be saved." "He that believes on the Son has everlasting life." This is the Gospel which we proclaim-"For Godso loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlastinglife." As we preach this Gospel to the sons of men, we hear Christ crying to them through us, "Come unto Me, all you thatlabor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." "Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sinsare as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool." It is a promiseof free, instantaneous, perfect, irreversible, everlasting pardon to all who will believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God,for He is-mark this word-"the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him."
Other salvation there is none than that which lies in His hands, but He has opened His hands upon the Cross and today He suppliesthe needs of every sinner who comes and trusts Him. He who quarrels with that Doctrine is an enemy of the Cross of Christ!Whether he makes Baptism to be the modus of salvation, or sets up any rite or ceremony whatever, whether Divinely-appointedor humanly-invented, he is an enemy of the Cross of Christ! Circumcision was venerable, it pertained to the fathers and wasthe seal of the ancient Covenant-but even itbecame an evil thing when the false teachers would have had the Gentile convertsto be circumcised that they might escape from bearing the Cross of Christ-and might trust in circumcision instead of in Christ,alone! "For," says Paul, "in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." TheDoctrine of Justification by Faith is the Gospel-I know no other, and I wish to know no other. "Be it known unto you, therefore,men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justifiedfrom all things, from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses." But, alas, there are still many who are enemiesof that Doctrine, and so are, "enemies of the Cross of Christ."
The Cross of Christ is sometimes put in Scripture for the life which is the result of faith in Christ. What kind of life shouldthat be? Well, first, a life of self-denial. No man who is the friend of the Cross of Christ will give license to his passions,or indulgence to his appetites. If he does so, he proves that he is the enemy of the Cross of Christ. No man will seek honorfor himself who has known that Christ has bought him with His blood. He will not, he cannot, he dare not live for himself,either in the accumulating of wealth, or the getting of fame, or the enjoyment of pleasure. His first, chief, master thoughtis, "For Jesus Christ all things-all things in Him, and for Him, and to Him, seeing that He has redeemed us with His preciousblood." They who shirk His service, who take no interest in holy enterprises, who just try to live to themselves-your eatersand your drinkers, your hoarders and your men and women who are always adorning the body, but never consecrating their soulsto God-these are they who are "the enemies of the Cross of Christ." It galls their shoulders and they will not bear it, sothey turn aside to ways of their own.
II. Now, secondly, WHY ARE MEN ENEMIES OF THIS CROSS OF CHRIST?
Frankly, I think that some do not know why they are. ' 'Let me tell you the Gospel," says a kind friend. "I do not want tohear it." "Here is a little book which has been very useful to many." "I do not want your books." Do you not know the liberal-mindedpeople that we have in the world now? When they speak, or when they write, it is all about charity and liberality-they hatebigots! Dear, dear, dear, is it not amazing that they do not hate themselves because they will not tolerate the very notionof true religion? "Why!" says one, "that Book is not true." Did you ever read it? "No." I thought so. We almost always findthat the men who reject the New Testament never read it through and never mean to do so. Nicodemus wisely asked, "Does ourLaw judge any man before it hears him?" Our lawless ones do! And there are multitudes of men who ought to think themselvesas mean as dirt because they never gave Christ a hearing-yet they thrust Him from them. "Oh!" says one, "I should never goinside any of those canting Methodist places." No, you are such a wonderful man that you think you can see through a stonewall and judge of what goes on inside-you do not need to be taught because you imagine you already know everything! I believethat in London there is a vast amount of prejudice against true religion which is based upon nothing at all. The people donot know what the Gospel is and, in part, this is our hope, for if we can but bring the blessed Truth of Christ to bear uponsome of these men, it will be like plowing up virgin soil in the western states of America-we may hope to reap a gloriousharvest. God grant that we may!
But there are some who are "enemies of the Cross of Christ" for reasons which they would not like to confess. Some, becausethe Cross of Christ hurts their pride. Why should they need to be pardoned? They have done nothing amiss- they are as goodas most people and a great deal better than many! You speak to one of them and he says, "Do not talk to me as if you thoughtI was going to be lost. I do not know anybody who can find fault with me. I really think that I am an example to others."Just so and, therefore, of course you hate the Cross of Christ! No man who is well likes medicine- how we laugh at the doctorswhen we feel all right! What jests we make about their calling! It is only when we begin to feel strange that we send fora medical man. And it is just so with men spiritually-as long as they are whole, they need not the Great Physician. Whilethey think they are righteous, they reject the righteousness of Christ.
Others, too, abhor the Cross of Christ because the Gospel is so simple. They belong to a club and they take in a QuarterlyReview. And though they do not know very much about any one thing, yet they know a little about a great many things. Theyjust get a smattering of various kinds of knowledge and they think they are wonderfully clever. Do you not notice the developmentof their foreheads? You cannot expect that they would have anything to do with the Gospel that would suit a servant girl!The religion that fits Jack, Tom and Harry is not grand enough for them. Why, they actually had a distant relative who wasconnected with a Baronet, so of course we cannot expect such gentlemen as they are to be saved simply by believing on theLord Jesus Christ! The Gospel is too plain, too easy, for them. O Sirs, would you like to have it made difficult, that allthe poor ignorant people in the world might perish just to please you? Let me remind you that such a man as Sir Isaac Newton,who had one of the greatest of all human minds, gloried in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and felt it all too great for him. Andin our days, such a truly scientific man as Faraday bowed meekly before the Divine Savior and looked up and found everythingin Him. Yet some foolish people think they know better than the eternal God so they hate the Cross of Christ. Self-conceitis the reason of much of the opposition of men to Christ.
Besides, although the Cross of Christ is lifted high, as the one hope for guilty sinners, it is the most terribly holy thingbeneath the cope of Heaven. That Cross, blood red from His dear wounds, frightens away sin, though it draws sinners near itself.That Christ of God, making Atonement with bloody sweat, pierced hands and anguished cry of, "Why have You forsaken Me?" isthe most powerful preacher of godly living whose voice was ever heard among the sons of men! Not only do sins acknowledgedto be black by society in general flee from the light of the Cross, but even secret sins fly before the blaze of God's mingledvengeance and love upon the accursed tree! The Cross is the birthplace of Puritans-the men who must be clean, who will nottouch your filthy world and its amusements and nine-tenths of its engagements. These are the men who have sat beneath themidday midnight of a dying Savior's griefs and heard Him cry, "I thirst," as He bore the guilt of sinners. But, alas, multitudesof men do not want holiness-they want their harlots, they want their wine, they want their carnivals of vice, they want theirselfishness and they want everything that Christ does not give, so they cry, ' 'Not this Man, but Barabbas," and they makethe awful choice of sin as they neglect their Lord! These are "the enemies of the Cross of Christ."
III. I cannot go further into that painful part of the subject, for time fails me, and I want next, to enquire, WHAT ARE THEMARKS OF THE ENEMIES OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST IN THE CHURCH?
Paul is evidently alluding here to some who professed to be followers of Christ, but who were really "the enemies of the Crossof Christ." I do believe, Brothers and Sisters, that the description given of them is true of many in our day. Here is whatthe Apostle said of them, "Whose God is their belly." That surely means self-indulgence and applies to professing Christianswho never restrain their appetites, or their desires, or their passions-who are sensual while they boast of being spiritual-whoare altogether given up to self-indulgence and yet claim to be followers of the Man of Sorrows who gave up everything forthe good of others. That is the first kind of "enemies of the Cross of Christ."
Next are those who are the subjects of shameful pride-"whose glory is in their shame." That is to say, they boast of thingsof which they ought to be ashamed. Do you not know some who can grind down the wages of their employees and boast that theyhave done a clever and business-like thing-and then go and "take the sacrament"? Think of the poor starving needlewomen who,if they sew their souls away, cannot get bread enough to appease their hunger! I do not know who it is who oppresses themso cruelly, but I should not wonder if their taskmasters do not even think that they will go to Heaven-I shall be surprisedif they are not very greatly mistaken! Then there are others who are the prey of avarice, and they boast of what they cansave. They never give anything to the poor, they seem to think that it is wrong to do so. They even found a Society to stopit! God gives to the evil as well as to the good, but they give to no one! They call their methods, "political economy," andglory that they save so much which others would have given away. As to the cause of God, one wretched creature boasted thathis soul did not cost him a shilling a year! Somebody said that such a sum would be too great an expense for such a miserablesoul as his, and we hardly wonder at the sarcasm of the remark. Alas, that there should be those who glory in that kind ofthing-pinching, grinding, money-loving wretches! Some of these are even called Christians, but all the while "they are theenemies of the Cross of Christ."
There are others who profess to be Christians who go about talking to young people and trying to indoctrinate them with falseviews. Sometimes they even cause the faith of the old to stagger-and they draw one and another aside to this novelty and tothat, which is not according to the Scripture. I believe that such people are the worst "enemies of the Cross of Christ."When the devil is in the pulpit, he is a devil! When we get bad doctrine proclaimed by ministers of Christ, themselves, thenhave we, indeed, "the enemies of the Cross of Christ," and there are, nowadays, plenty of them of whom I would speak, evenweeping, as I say that, "they are the enemies of the Cross of Christ."
Paul adds one other description of these "enemies of the Cross of Christ," that is, worldliness-"who mind earthly things."This is a very close home-thrust to many professing Christians. Do they ever help the Sunday school? Oh, no, no! Sunday school?They hope somebody or other attends to it, but it is no concern of theirs. Do they ever aid in a Mission? A Mission? Why,they do not get the shutters closed till so late at night that they cannot help in mission work-they have enough to do tolook after themselves. But are they doing nothing at all for Christ? No, nothing! And for 20 years together, nothing. Whatare they minding, then? Well, I do not know. Only I am sure that they cannot be minding anything but "earthly things." Thatis all. This is the catechism that they go through every day-"What shall we eat? What shall we drink? With what shall we beclothed?" That is all they live for.
Now, do not be deceived! If this is true concerning you, you are no friend of Christ, for those who belong to Christ admitthat they are not their own, but they are bought with a price and they have some higher and nobler objective than that whichtakes up the lives of worldlings. They are living for God and for eternity, for Christ and for the good of men! And theirgreat wish is to lay themselves out for the Glory of God and the benefit of the human race. God grant that we may not be foundamong these characters, "whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things"!
IV. For, next, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THESE PEOPLE?
We are told that their "end is destruction." There will be a total destruction of their profession. There will be a destructionof all their hopes. There will be a destruction of all their happiness. There will be destruction of themselves and they shallstand forever as destroyed and ruined things, ghastly exhibitions of what sin can do-and what must follow upon a false profession,or any other form of enmity to the Cross of Christ.
V. Now, lastly, How SHOULD WE ACT IN THIS MATTER? If there are still such people as the Apostle describes, what have you andI to do concerning them?
Well, first, some of us have to give frequent warning-"Of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, thatthey are the enemies of the Cross of Christ." O Friends, there are so many outside the professing Church who are "the enemiesof the Cross of Christ" that it might break one's heart to think of them! But those who are inside the Church, professorswho never knew Christ, who have often come to the Communion Table, but have never had fellowship with Christ-who are quitesatisfied with their outward religion while their hearts are rotten through and through-it is an awful and a dreadful thingthat there should be such! But we are bound to keep on exhorting one another and warning one another because there are such"enemies of the Cross of Christ" even inside His nominal Church.
And, l et me add, if exhortations are frequently to be given, the warnings ought to be as frequently taken. How you and Iought often to pass the Apostolic question round, "Lord, is it I?" Suppose He stood on this platform and lifted up those piercedhands and said in majestic sorrow, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, one of you shall betray Me"? Would not that question stirus all to anguish? Well, let it do so! See to it that you make sure work for eternity, my Brothers and Sisters, and whileI talk to you-I am talking to myself as well-oh, see to it that you do not have a flimsy profession, a name to live when youare really dead! What is religion worth if it is not in the heart? It is like the pageantry which surrounds the grave-thepomp, the pall, the hearse-death decently covered up! May God, of His infinite mercy, save us from having a dead profession,for, as the Lord lives, He will not endure dead professors! "He is not the God of the dead, but of the living," and He willone day say, "Bury My dead out of My sight." These "enemies of the Cross of Christ" shall be punished with everlasting destructionfrom the Presence of the Lord, and from the Glory of His power.
But while we speak of these people, it becomes us to be very tender, for the Apostle says, "of whom I have told you often,and now tell you even weeping." Why weeping? Because it is an awful thing for men to hear the Divine and final sentence, "Depart,you cursed." I would not like to think of anybody here who will have that for his portion at the Day of Judgment! And I wouldbe a gross traitor to your souls if I did not also add that I cannot help fearing that this will be the lot of some of you!You have never come to Christ. Perhaps you have professed to do so, or, possibly, you have neither done it nor professed todo it, but you are openly and avowedly antagonistic to the Cross of Christ. May God's Grace convert you! Otherwise we maywell weep over you that you should die in your sins.
But we have further tears because of the mischief that such sinners do. "Enemies of the Cross of Christ" do a world of damageto wife and children, neighbors and friends. "One sinner destroys much good." One graceless life is a great robbery of thetreasury of God. One life spent in distinct opposition to the Gospel of Jesus is a terrible thing. A Scotchman took some thistleseed to Australia that he might see a thistle grow on his farm. He only wanted one or two rare old Scotch thistles to makehim think that he was at home. But now, thousands of acres are covered with this horrible weed which nobody can destroy andwhich has become the most gross nuisance of the region! One seed of sin may cover a continent with crime! God save us, then,from being numbered with "the enemies of the Cross of Christ"! Why should we not all come to the Cross now? The best homagewe can pay to Jesus is to come and receive Him as our Savior. Let us do so! Let us sing this verse while we do it-
"Just as I am-without one plea
But that Your blood was shed for me,
And that You bid me come to You,
O Lamb of God, I come"
Let those who can truly sing it, do so, even if they never sang it before. God bless you all, for Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: PHILIPPIANS3.
Verse 1. Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. As much as to say, "If this were the last sentence that I should writeto you, I would say, 'Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.' It is your privilege, it is your duty to rejoice in God-notin your health, your wealth, your children, your prosperity, but in the Lord." There is the unchanging and unbounded sourceof joy. It will do you no harm to rejoice in the Lord! The more you rejoice in Him, the more spiritually-minded will you become."Finally, my brethren." That is, even to the end, not with you, the bitter end, but even to the end of life, rejoice in theLord. Make this the finis of everything, the end of every day, the end of every year, the end of life. "Finally, my brethren,rejoice in the Lord." Blessed is that religion in which it is a duty to be happy!
1. To write the same things to you, to me, indeed, is not grievous, but for you it is safe. Saying the same thing over andover again is safe, for your minds do not catch the Truth of God at the first hearing, and your memories are slippery.
2. Beware of dogs.-Men of a doggish, captious, selfish spirit. In Paul's day, there were some who were ca1led Cynics, thatis to say, dogs. "Beware of dogs."
2. Beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. By which Paul meant those Jews who made a great point of circumcision.He calls them here "the cutters," for they mangled and cut the Church of God in pieces. "Beware of the concision."
3. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in theflesh. These are three marks of the true Israel of God. Have you all of them-worshipping God in the spirit, rejoicing in ChristJesus and having no confidence in the flesh?
4. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If anybody might, Paul might. If birth, if education, or if externalreligiousness could have saved anybody in the world, it would have saved Saul of Tarsus!
4, 5. If anyone thinks that he may have confidence in the flesh, I more: circumcised the eighth day. The ritual was observedeven to the hour in his case.
5. Of the stock of Israel Not an Edomite or a Samaritan, but, "of the stock of Israel" and of the very center of that stock.
5. Of the tribe of Benjamin. Which remained with Judah, faithful, long after the ten tribes had gone aside.
5. An Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the Law, a Pharisee. That is, one who observed all the minutiae and details of theCeremonial Law and a good deal more-the traditions of the elders which hung like moss about the old stone of Jewish ceremonialism.Paul had observed all that.
6. Concerning zeal, persecuting the Church! He was most zealous in the cause that he thought right. Bitterly, cruelly, evento the death, did he persecute the believers in Jesus.
6. Touching the righteousness which is in the Law, blameless. Paul had been kept from the vices into which many fell. In hisyoung days, he had been pure. And all his days, he had been upright and sincere. As far as he knew, to the best of his light,he had observed the Law of God. In another place, he calls himself the chief of sinners. And so he was because he persecutedthe Church of God. But, in another sense, I may say of him that there is no man who stood so good a chance of being justifiedby works as Paul did, if there could have been any justification in that way.
7. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. His faith in Jesus reversed all his former estimates,so that his gains he counted to be losses. He thought it so much the worse, concerning zeal, to have persecuted the Church,and so much to his injury to have imagined that he was blameless in the Presence of God.
8. Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom Ihavesuffered the loss ofall things, and do count them but dung.-Offal, refuse, garbage-
8. That I may win Christ. He had every opportunity of advancement. He was a fine scholar and might have reached the highestdegree in connection with the Sanhedrim and the synagogue, but he thought nothing of all that-he threw it all away as worthlessand declared that thiswas his ambition-"That I may win Christ."
9. And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ,the righteousness which is of God by faith. I t must be more glorious to be justified by God than by ourselves. It must bemore safe to wear the righteousness of Christ than to wear our own. Nothing can so dignify our manhood as to have Christ,Himself, to be "the Lord our Righteousness." This Paul chose in preference to everything else.
10. 11. That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformableunto His death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. See to what Paul is looking forward-resurrection-andtherefore he lets this life go as of secondary importance. He is willing to suffer as Christ suffered and to die as Christdied. You and I may never be called to make that great sacrifice, but if we are true followers of Christ, we shall be preparedfor it. If ever it should happen that Christ and our life shall be put in competition, we must not deliberate for a moment,for Christ is all, and we must be ready to give up all for Christ.
12. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect. He does not say that anybody has been perfect, buthe does say that he was not so himself, and I should think that any man who believed himself to be better than Paul wouldthereby prove at once that he was not perfect, for he must be sadly lacking in humility.
12. But I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. "All that Christ meantme to be, I want to be. All that Christ meant to give me, I want to have. All that He meant me to do, I want to do, to apprehend,to lay hold of that for which I am laid hold of by Christ Jesus."
13. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended. That is Paul's judgment concerning himself-he has not yet attained tothe full all that the religion of Christ can give him.
13, 14. But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which arebefore, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Always making progress-throwinghimself into it, having the reward before him, the prize of perfection in Christ-and running towards it with all his might.
15. Let us, therefore, as many as are mature. Or, "would be perfect."
15. Be thus minded: and if in anything you are otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. I admire that sentence.If any Brother has not reached a full knowledge of the Truth of God, let us not condemn him, or cast him out of our company,but say to him, "God shall reveal even this unto you."
16. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. There are somepoints upon which we are all agreed. There is some standing ground where the babe in Grace may meet with the man in ChristJesus. Well, as far as we see eye to eye, let us co-operate with one another, let us have our hearts knit together in a holyunanimity. "Let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing." There are some people who are always looking out forpoints of difference-their motto seems to be, "If we differ in anything, let us split away from one another." Their greatidea is that by dividing we shall conquer! The fact is that by separating ourselves from one another, we shall miss all hopeof strength and play into the hands of the adversaries.
17. Brethren, be followers together ofme, andmark them which walk so asyou have us for an example. For the true servant ofChrist teaches by his life as much as by his words.
18-20. (For many walk, of whom Ihave told you often, and now tell you, even weeping, that they are the enemies of the Crossof Christ, whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.For our conversation. Or, citizenship-
20, 21. Is in Heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body. Vileso far that it has been defiled by sin. Vile in comparison with that body which shall be-"Who shall change our vile body,"the body of our humiliation.
21. That it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all thingsunto Himself