Philippians 3:12-4:1 – Following Paul’s Example

Introduction – Philippians 3:12-4:1: Paul compares his life to a race in which he is running toward the prize of being called to live with God in heaven. He rejects those who worship God by following the Law of Moses, and encourages the Philippians to worship through faith instead. Then he expresses his pride in and love for them.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

1 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!

Reflect – In the Roman world, only a privileged few were able to become citizens. In the Jewish community, only those who carefully followed the Law of Moses could be considered part of God’s people. Paul wants to make it clear that it is much more important to be a citizen of the community in which all people of faith are welcome-the community of heaven. What does the idea of being a “citizen of heaven” mean to you?

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