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"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Saturday, August 24, 2019

Philippians 3:11-12 (L 30)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
WWW. 2Tim215.Net

                      Established November 2008                             Published:  August 24, 2019                                                           
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4). 
*****
Welcome to HBS.

Thank you for your prayers and faithful attentiveness to Gods Word – rightly divided, and thank y’all for being here today.  Let’s review:  the theme of Philippians 3:4-11 is justification by faith alone based on Paul’s remark in Philippians 3:9:  “…And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:”  

The Bible speaks of two types of righteousness and only one pleases God.

1)      Self-righteousness which is related to legalism, is the idea that we can somehow generate within ourselves a righteousness that will be acceptable to God (Romans 3:10).  Although any serious Believer would recognize this notion is problematic from the get-go because of our sin nature, it is a constant temptation to all of us to believe we are, or can be, righteous in and of ourselves.  Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul came down particularly hard on those who attempted to live their lives self-righteously.

2)      The righteousness which is of God by faith.

The second option is the one Paul desired; it comes through faith in Christ Jesus’ finished work of the cross (alone) and speaks of Justification by faith (alone).

(See Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3, 9; Galatians 3:6)

In verse 3:8, Paul said he is no longer trusting in his personal achievements and his religious activity in order to please God.  Then in verses 9-11, he tells us what it means to gain Christ.  In verse 9, he said this means to receive His righteousness through faith.  Then in verses 10-11 he explains this further.  All of the things he mentions in verse 10 are the results of justification.   Justification is "the act of making someone right with God."  This is not something we do; it is of God. 

Paul "suffered the loss of all things, and counted them as “dung" in order that he may "gain Christ."  Gaining Christ means: "Receiving his righteousness. "  This expresses the idea of dying to self.  In Philippians 2, we learned Christ Jesus humbly emptied Himself of His divine attributes, set aside the glory that was His, in order to fulfill the will of His Father.  It was Paul’s desire to die to self, daily, so he might always be found in the center of God’s will (Galatians 2:20).  We should be of the same mind.

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Please open your Bible at Philippians 3:11-12.

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus

In order to properly understand this scripture passage, you have to consider the Bible verses preceding it.  Paul has expressed a sincere desire to know Christ Jesus, know the power of his resurrection, know the fellowship of his suffering, and be made conformable unto his death.  Then, he said, “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead” (3:11).  

First, some people teach a Believer can lose his or her salvation and base that belief on verse 3:11 (among others).  They say, “See, even Paul was unsure he would attain the resurrection that will come after he dies.”  But this notion is dismissed by verse 3:12:

 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after…  

If Paul said he hoped to attain unto the resurrection that would come after he died, would he in the next breath say he hadn’t yet attained it while he was still alive?  Of course not (Colossians 2:10).  But if he’s not talking about that resurrection, what resurrection was he hoping to attain?  Well, if we back up a couple of verses, we see that Paul wasn’t hoping to attain the resurrection that would come at the Rapture.  The context has to do with his desire to live the resurrection life now before he died.  So, from this we understand Paul wasn’t talking about attaining the resurrection that would come after he died.  He was talking about attaining the power of Christ’s resurrection in this life. 

To understand what Paul meant by that, we must first understand what he meant when he said he desired to know the Lord.  After all, he’d already known the Lord for about thirty years!  But now he desired to know the Lord more.  And the same thing applies when he said he wanted to know the power of His resurrection.  He had come to know the power of Christ’s resurrection when he was saved, as had the Romans, to whom he wrote, “Jesus our Lord… was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:24,25).  Paul was justified by the power of the Lord’s resurrection, just as the Romans were.  But once he was saved, he wanted to know more of that resurrection power, and so should we.

So what power does the Lord’s resurrection have to offer us after we are saved?  Well, for one thing, it gives us the power to not only recognize sin it also provides the power to say “No” to sin no matter what form it takes.  That’s a power you didn’t have before you were saved.  Before your conversion, before you were baptized into the Body of Christ, you were “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants and promises, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:11).  Since you were not in right standing with God, i.e. justified by the Justifier (Romans 3:25-27), nothing you did pleased God:

An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin” (Proverbs 21:4).

 But we are all as an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; ” (Isa. 64:6a). 

When a saved man plows his field, God considers it an act of obedience to His command to work for a living, not sin (2 Thessalonians 3:10).  That’s the power the resurrection of Christ gives us once we are saved, and that was a power that Paul wanted to experience more of.

Christ’s resurrection also gives you the power to serve the Lord, another ability you did not possess before you were saved (Romans 12:1-2).  The Bible passage below recorded a conversation Jesus Christ had with some Jewish men who believed they were serving Jehovah, but they had overlooked a very important detail, i.e. faith in what He has said (Hebrews 11:6; 4:2; Galatians 5:6):

Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:22,23).

These Jewish men assumed they were serving the one true God, but they overlooked an important aspect of faithful service.  They weren’t saved, so their service did not please God.  But when you choose to serve the Lord after you are saved, the resurrection of Christ gives you the power for the things you do in His name and these “good works” are counted as serving the Lord.  Paul desired to experience more of that resurrection power in his life, and in the context, that’s what he meant when he said he desired to “attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”  Since this was Paul’s motivation, after his conversion, we should be likeminded. 

Here’s Something You Need to Know

While you might agree with Paul’s statement here about attaining that resurrection life now (I say might because some might not agree, but that’s a matter for the Holy Spirit.  He will bring them along in due time), are you willing to attain it “by any means?” 

Here Paul is reminding the Philippians (and us) “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).  This means if you’re willing to know more of the power of Christ’s resurrection, more of the power to sin less, and serve the Lord selflessly, you should be willing to say you want to know more of what it means to suffer for the Lord.  Paul experienced persecution and suffering as no other apostle while serving the Lord.  But even though he’s suffered greatly for the cause of Christ, Paul is saying 30 years of persecution and suffering for the gospel of grace doesn’t come close to matching the Lord Jesus Christ’s suffering.  So, this is what he meant in verse 3:10a, “…That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings…

This is an astounding statement for Paul to make.  I mean, he had already come to know many of the Lord’s sufferings (Acts 9:15-16).  He chronicled an incredible list of them some years earlier (2 Corinthians 11:23-27) and had no doubt added to that remarkable list in the years since.  So, I find it amazing for him to say he desired to know more of “the fellowship of His sufferings.”  The Lord Jesus Christ laid down His life willingly for all.  Paul hadn’t experienced death for Christ Jesus, but that possibility certainly existed, as he awaited trial by Caesar (Nero) in Rome.  The outcome was uncertain, at this writing. 

If you’re not sure why Paul calls suffering for the Lord a “fellowship,” consider what he wrote in Colossians 1:24:

Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

Paul endured his suffering for Christ’s cause to “fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ for his body’s sake…  Now, the Lord didn’t leave behind anything that needed to be suffered to pay for our sins, of course.  But what other sufferings could Paul have had in mind?  To answer that question, I like to compare what Richard Nixon said when he retired from politics after losing the 1960 election to John F. Kennedy.  Addressing the press who had hounded him during his political life, he said, “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.”   In the same way, after the Lord rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven, the unbelieving world didn’t have Him to kick around anymore, so they directed all their hatred and persecution toward His followers.  And that’s the only kind of suffering that Christ left behind, the persecution that He was no longer here to suffer.  And that’s why Paul calls it “the fellowship of His sufferings.”  They are His sufferings.  He’s just not here to suffer them any longer.

So when we experience His suffering, we share these sufferings with Him “in fellowship.”  There’s also an additional reason why our sufferings are called the fellowship of His sufferings.  We are members of the Body of Christ; a body of which Christ is the Head (Colossians 1:18).  In your physical body, when you stub your great toe on a hard object the pain radiates through your entire body, even your head.  That’s how it works in the Body of Christ as well.  As the Head of the Body, the Lord Jesus Christ feels the pain of everything you suffer for Him.  No wonder Paul identifies it as the fellowship of His sufferings!  

Now, your “old man,” the sin nature you inherited from Adam, doesn’t like to suffer for any reason, and that goes double for serving the Lord.  So for you to want more of the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, you’re going to have to die to self.  Paul knew this.  That’s why he went on to say, “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death” (3:10).

What does it mean to be made conformable unto the Lord’s death?  Well, this book says, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).  What does that tell you about the Lord’s death?  It tells you it was a death He didn’t have to die.  He was no sinner, so He had every right not to experience physical death.  But He surrendered His right in order to die for all our sin. 

In the same way, you have every right not to have to suffer for the Lord.  There’s no law that says you have to suffer for Christ now that you are saved.  But if you want to live the resurrection life now, in this life, you have to give up your right not to suffer in order to enter into the fellowship of His sufferings.  That’s how we are made conformable unto the death of the One who didn’t have to die.  Living the resurrection life is actually the reason God saved us, as Paul went on to say in our text: 

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.  not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus” (3:11,12).  

The word “apprehended” here is an interesting choice of words.  Permit me to explain:  If you’re one of the people who take the time to watch the daily news on T.V., who do they always say the police apprehended?  The bad guys, right?  It could be said Saul of Tarsus was a bad guy about 30 years ago – give or take; but the Lord apprehended him on the Damascus Road.  In God’s eyes, you were a bad person before you were saved.  You might not have been the cause of someone’s death or imprisonment, like Saul of Tarsus, but since everything you did as an unbeliever was sin, you were just as much a fugitive from the justice of God as he was.   But the Lord apprehended you, just as He apprehended Paul, that you might apprehend that for which the Lord seized you!  The express purpose for which the Lord saved you was so that you might attain unto the resurrection of the dead now, in this life.  Like Paul, none of us have yet attained unto that perfection.  But like Paul, I hope you’re desire to pursue this spiritual goal increases after studying this lesson. 

(To be continued)

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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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Friday, August 16, 2019

Philippians 3:10 (L 29)


Home Bible Study©

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

WWW. 2Tim215.Net

              Established November 2008                                             Published:  August 16, 2019                                        
                   
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

*****
Welcome to HBS.

It could be said in Philippians 3:4-11 Paul’s theme is justification by faith (alone), and the principle verse is located at 3:9:

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 

Paul wanted these Believers (and us) to understand there wasn’t one thing in his life he could boast to God about, especially his religious achievements (Galatians 1:13-14).  The “righteousness” Paul refers to here is understood to be the righteousness that was imputed to him on the basis of his faith in Christ’s finished work of the cross. 

The first time I heard the word imputed was in a legal setting (courtroom) and then in my accounting class.  For example, an employed teacher decides to return to school to earn their master’s degree.  During the period of time they are away in school, the imputed cost of this decision is the wages they might have otherwise earned had they continued to work as a full-time teacher.  Imputed is a form of the word imputation and means “to designate an action as reckoned to an individual.  Such as when the judge imputed (reckoned) financial costs to my ex-wife’s account and billed her.

Christ’s righteousness refers to His holy, perfect, state of being.  So, the righteousness of Christ is reckoned to all those who believe Paul’s gospel or God’s good news for all in the Dispensation of Grace (Romans 16:25-26).  

Why is this important?  Where you’ll spend eternity depends on what you do or don’t do with Paul’s gospel.  Fence sitting is not an option (2 Corinthians 6:2).  The Bible states “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  No one is good enough to stand before God and boast of their good deeds or good intentions.

We learned last week if salvation is not of God, alone, by faith alone, through Jesus Christ alone then we are asking God to share His glory with us, and God will not do that (Isaiah 42:8).  

Since we’re all rebellious sinners by nature, we cannot be in right-standing with God based on anything we do or try to do.  Since this is the case, we need a perfect outside source that will make us right with God.  This is where the righteousness of Christ enters into the conversation.   Our Apostle Paul speaks of this issue in detail, in Romans 4.  He used Abram’s faith as an example.  I suggest you read the entire chapter when you have opportunity for the sake of brevity we’re going to look at verses 4:19-25:

And being not weak in faith, he (Abraham) considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.  And therefore it (Abraham’s faith) was imputed (to designate an action as reckoned to an individual) to him for righteousness.  Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification (See Genesis 15:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:6)

All our sin was imputed to the Lord Jesus Christ who knew no sin.  He willingly became sin “for us” and laid down His life for all so that we might (I say might because some might not) become the righteousness of God, in Him (See Galatians 2:20).  Each Believer has been “made” the righteousness of God (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:21-23).   This imputed righteousness is not our doing it is of God.

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Please open your Bible at Philippians 3:10.

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship with his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

“…That I may know him” – here we have Paul stating the object of his faith.  Paul no longer put his faith in personal gains or assets, as before his conversion.  Now his heart’s desire is “That I may know him (Christ Jesus intimately).  We know this because of this statement in 3:9:

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

Said differently, and I’m paraphrasing, “… in order that I may personally know Him, that I might both experience His resurrection power and share in His sufferings, and thus be more and more conformed to His death.

Building off of that Bible verse, Paul desired to acquire an intimate knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, that is to say, a practical knowledge.  If you are following the Apostle Paul, as instructed by the risen, glorified Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), you should be likeminded:    

I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20; Romans 12:1-2). 

This is what Paul’s speaking about.  We’re to apply these words to our daily life, practically.  We are to renew our minds (repent) which includes the way we view sinful practices.  Sin should no longer reign in our mortal bodies:    

What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  God forbid.  How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin (Romans 6:1-6).

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God (Romans 6:12-13).

What then?  shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?  God forbid.  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?  (Romans 6:15-16).

Paul did not know the Lord Jesus Christ “after the flesh,” nor do we (2 Corinthians 5:16; Romans 15:8-9).  We know Him as the glorified, risen Lord Jesus Christ.  Nowhere in Paul’s letters to the churches does he speak of or deals with Jesus Christ’s birth, His childhood, or His life in any detail.  In all his letters, Paul begins with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus, explaining their significance to both Jew and Gentile for the very first time in the Bible:

For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God ( 1 Corinthians 1:22-23).

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.  Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity (1 Timothy 2:5-7).

Another truth Paul speaks of is our identification with Christ Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-5).  It is here the Apostle Paul desired to attain intimate knowledge, i.e. a deeper understanding of the love of Christ and all He accomplished on his behalf by His death, burial, and resurrection.    

These thoughts take us to Philippians 3:10:

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship (communion; intimate familiarity) with his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 

Some people see this verse as Paul explaining his lifelong ambition and I’m in agreement.  Paul’s heart desire was “to know him” intimately.   What does this mean?  Notice what prompted Paul's comment about knowing Christ in Philippians 3:10.  He had already spent several verses describing his life before his conversion (Philippians 3:4-6).  He cited all the cultural and religious advantages he enjoyed as a Pharisaic Jew.  But then he declared he had discarded all those personal gains for Christ's sake: 

"What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ" (Philippians 3:7-8).  

As a Pharisee, Paul had sought to earn God's favor by legal obedience.  But he came to realize the law set a standard no one could ever meet.  So he scrapped all his own works of righteousness as if they were filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).  This does not mean that he ceased doing good works, of course, but that he gave up trusting in those works for his salvation.  Instead, he put his faith in Christ Jesus and was clothed in Christ's perfect righteousness instead of his own imperfect works. This is the doctrine known as Justification by Faith

The power of his resurrection – When we search the O.T Scriptures two demonstrations of God’s Awesome Power stand out.  1) In the beginning, God merely spoke, and everything seen, and unseen came into being (Psalm 33:6; Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:16-17).  And 2) later down the road of time the next great display of His mighty power was visualized at the Red Sea by Moses and the Israelites, which provided deliverance for His chosen people from Pharaoh and his advancing army.  

Then in the N.T. we note in Paul’s letters to the seven Gentile churches he always refers to and directs the Believer’s attention to Christ crucified and His resurrection from the dead as a demonstration of God’s Awesome Power and the wisdom of God:

For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.  For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.  For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.  Where is the wise?  where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world?  hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.  For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:17-24).

Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.  For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?  And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? (Hebrews 1:4-5)

Satan saw the Lord Jesus Christ perish on the cross and was certain he gained victory over God, insofar as he is the prince of the power of the air, the god of this age, and even controls the power of death. (Matthew 4:1-9; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2). 

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he (the Lord Jesus Christ) also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;  (Hebrews 2:14). 

Satan hasn’t been destroyed so don’t misunderstand this Bible passage.  He’s an eternal being and quite busy deceiving the church and promoting “the lie” today.  The same one he used to deceive the woman in the Garden of Eden, which is, you can be like God (Genesis 3:1-6).  Humans have swallowed this lie since the dawn of time.    

In Colossians 2:14-15, the risen Lord connects the defeat of Satan (and death) by His death, burial, and resurrection:

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 

The phrase principalities and powers occurs six times in the Bible, always in the King James Version and its spin-offs (NKJV, MKJV).  Other Bible versions translate it as “rulers and authorities,” “forces and authorities,” and “rulers and powers.”  The context of the Bible passages reveals its meaning.  But in most places where the phrase appears, the contexts make it clear it refers to the vast array of evil and malicious spirits who make war against the people of God.  These are those forces of Satan that wield power in the unseen realms to oppose everything and everyone that is of God (Romans 8:37-39; Ephesians 3:10-11, 6:12; Colossians 1:16; Titus 3:1).

When Paul refers to the power of his resurrection he means His eternal state:

Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification (Romans 4:23-24).

Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?  (1 Corinthians 15:12)

When you put your faith in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), you experienced the power of his resurrection.  You most likely didn’t feel it, but in an instant you became a “new creature, in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  For the very first time in your life you were in right-standing with God the Father and now the same power that rose the Lord Jesus Christ up from the grave is the power residing and operating within you.   But here’s the thing, to truly know this power, you have to die to self and identify with your inner man:

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; (Ephesians 3:16).

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20). 

Paul explains to the Galatians the process of dying to self as one in which he has been “crucified with Christ,” and now Paul no longer lives, but Christ lives in him.  Paul’s old life, with its propensity to sin and to follow the world’s ways is now dead, and the new Paul is the dwelling place of Christ who lives in and through him.  This does not mean that when we “die to self” we become inactive or insensitive, nor do we feel ourselves to be dead.  Rather, dying to self means that the things of the old life are put to death, especially the sinful lifestyles we once pursued.: 

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24).  

We once pursued selfish, sinful pleasures, of all sorts, without considering God or sin’s lethal effect upon us.  But now the true Believer in Christ Jesus pursues, with equal passion, those things that please God.

Therefore, we are to make a present application of Galatians 5:24 in our daily lives.  We are unable to live the life Christ Jesus desires for us in our own strength.  But thankfully the power of the resurrection will help us yield ourselves to God, as those made alive from the dead, and yield our members as instruments of righteousness to God (Romans 6:13).  Sin no longer has power over us unless we allow it (1 Corinthians 10:13; Romans 6:11, 8:1-11)!

Let’s look at verse 3:10:b:

“…and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”

I’m sure most of you would agree with me when I say people want to be accepted.  I don’t know of anyone who desires to find themselves on the outside looking in.  If you’ve ever experienced censure, then you truly understand these words.  But if you’re a Believer, in Christ Jesus, the unbelieving world will always look upon you with contempt.  In fact, I’ve experienced persecution and scorn from Christians because I promote our Apostle Paul and his gospel over denominationalism (Romans 2:16, 16:25).  Having announced those truths, Paul chose to accept his lot in life with the Lord Jesus Christ so that he might understand more fully “the fellowship of his sufferings.”  There’s also a verse in Colossians that expresses this notion:

Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:”  (Colossians 1:24).

Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you – These words were not meant for the Colossians only, but for the entire Body of Christ.  Paul regarded himself as suffering “for the cause of Christ” or his labors in preaching the gospel of grace to both Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 3:1-6).  In fact, He was still “a prisoner of Christ,” in Rome, when he wrote Colossians.  He was falsely accused of being an insurrectionist by his Jewish opposition.  Paul’s gospel included the message “the wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles was broken down” (Ephesians 2:14-16), meaning the gospel is to be preached to all mankind.  Many religious Jews disagreed, thus, the opposition. 

“…and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake…” or all that I lack with regard to experiencing the same kind of sufferings Christ Jesus endured for the Body of Christ such as persecutions, reproaches, and strong opposition, to name but a few, not just from religious Jews but the fallen world.  

Here Paul is saying although he suffered greatly for the cause of Christ in no way could his sufferings compare to the afflictions of Christ.  Paul labored and suffered more than any other apostle on record, but here he admits all those incidents combined did not equal the afflictions of Christ.  Furthermore, he’s saying he has a long way to go just to catch up to the Lord’s tribulations:

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Verse 3:10c:

“…being made conformable (having the same or similar manners, opinions or moral qualities) to his death.

Here’s the word conformable in a sentence “The Gentiles were not made conformable to the Jews, in that which was to cease at the coming of Christ.”  Paul’s earnest desire was to resemble Christ Jesus in all respects, so that ““If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead” (3:11).  We’ll examine this statement in depth when next we meet. 

When Paul used the word “conformable” he means to take on or assume the same form as His death.  He’s not saying we all need to be nailed to a wooden cross and die.  Only the sufferings and death of Christ Jesus (alone) could pay God’s sin debt in full.  Instead, he is speaking of the sufferings of Christ, i.e. the opposition, persecution, and reproaches he endured daily because he exposed men to the righteousness of God.  Believe me when I say if you’re sharing Paul’s gospel to others, operating in your uncomfortable zone, you will experience these sufferings.  But this is necessary because the cross addresses mankind’s sinfulness and God’s righteousness.  His righteousness was displayed publicly when they nailed our Savior to that Roman cross:

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus (Romans 3:34-26).

If God be for us, who can be against us?  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?  (Romans 8:32).

The unbelieving world hated Jesus Christ without a cause and the same persecution will be true of you and me if we stand for the truth.  People continue to reject the Lord today, so we Believers are to bear that lingering  hatred of Christ Jesus which still remains.   In doing so, we then experience, to a limited degree, what He experienced to the glory of God.  This is how we fellowship with his sufferings.

I determine all of these things in verse 3:-9-10 to be the results of “justification.”  Paul suffered the loss of all things, and counted them as dung, in order that he may gain Christ.  Gaining Christ means receiving his righteousness, knowing him, knowing the power of his resurrection, knowing the fellowship of his sufferings, and being made conformable to his death all to the glory of God the Father.

(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved













 







  














Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Philippians 3:7-9 (L 28)


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For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men (and women) to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).



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Greetings, one and all, I stop short of saying, “I’m back full-time.”  Please know personal issues remain unresolved.  My desire to serve the Body of Christ has not changed just the ability to perform on a regular basis. 



The next Bible lesson in line was already in the can, so to speak, it just needed some editing before I published it.  I don’t know if I can produce Bible lessons weekly, as before.  I will try to keep them coming on a regular basis.  Please check the website for future lessons.  I will update y’all re: my progress from time to time. 



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Let’s review the previous lesson before we begin: 

Though I might also have confidence in the flesh.  If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more” (3:-4).

Why did Paul offer this challenge to the church in Philippi?  

#1 the Pharisees (Judaizers) were attacking Paul’s apostleship and his gospel of grace.

#2 these religious Jews didn’t deny Christ Jesus died and rose again.  They were teaching more needed to be done for your salvation then just believing He died for the sins of all, was buried, and resurrected on the third day.  They said to be “right with God” one must obey the Law, which included the rite of circumcision.  

In response to this false teaching, Paul recalled his former life (before his conversion) to drive a verbal stake through the heart of their religious beliefs.   Why?  Because the Lord Jesus Christ applied this principle to His finished work (John 19:28-30):

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened (made alive) together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (Colossians 2:13-14).

What changed Paul’s thinking?  Paul found something priceless on the road to Damascus.  Not only did he find the Truth, he came to the point of understanding every human accomplishment he attained amounted to nothing.  Paul used the word “dung.”  He’s saying one’s salvation in the Grace Age has nothing to do with what you do or don’t do for God; i.e. following a list of do’s and don’ts.  Instead, “the righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38-39, 11:6).

Faith in what?  Faith in what God has said re: salvation by grace alone and God alone: 

Now to him that is of power to stablish (to fix; to settle in a state for permanence; to make firm) you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God. only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever.  Amen (Romans 16:25-27).

When God speaks, He expects people to listen and obey as though their very life depended on it because it does.  I mention this now because according to the Scriptures when Paul speaks (or writes) he speaks for the risen Lord; thus his epistles are the very words of God (Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 14:37).   

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Please open your Bible at Philippians 3:7-9.

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and to count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through (what) the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith (plus nothing else):

The word “But” (or behold the underlying truth) speaks of a change in Paul’s life, His direction, and his thinking, i.e. his transition from who and what he was to who and what he is now, in Christ Jesus, a new creature, saved by the grace of God: 

And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.  And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?  And he said, Who art thou, Lord?  And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.  And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?  And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do (Acts 9:1-6).

Verse 7:

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

What things” speaks of all the things he mentioned in 3:5-6 and once valued, that is, circumcised the eighth day, a Benjamite, an Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee, zeal in persecuting the church, and in regards to the law righteous and blameless. 

The word “gain” is the Koine Greek word Kerdos, (plural) which means gain, profit, or advantage.  Paul, at one time, considered everything he mentioned in verses 5-6 to be his gains or his assets.  

All those things he once counted an asset (gain) he now counted loss for Christ.  In the previous Bible lesson, we learned Saul/Paul was well connected socially, politically, religiously, and monetarily.  He seemingly had all he could possibly need or want.  Then, his mindset changed after the risen Lord found him on the Damascus RD.  Note:  Paul didn’t find the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ found him and saved him as he was, a sinner, right then and there.  That’s “grace” folks (Romans 5:8-9).  After that, he realized those seven things he mentioned in 3:5-6 were liabilities not assets.  All his religious privileges for salvation and his human accomplishments did not bring him one step closer to God. 

Verses 8:

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:  for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and to count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

Here Paul speaks as though he knows the ins and outs of operating a business, as it pertains to assets and liabilities/profits and losses.  There are two columns in his spiritual ledger before his conversion.  Under assets or gains he sees a list of things and we found them in 3:5-6.  I think he could have listed others, but we’ll work with the ones we know of.  Under liabilities or losses he doesn’t list one single thing; the column is blank.  This tells us in his self-righteousness, Paul pats himself on the back, so to speak, because he believes nothing more needs to be  done to obtain Jehovah’s favor.  

Picture a set of scales; the old-fashioned ones not its digital replacement.  The Jews believed if their good works outweighed the wrong things they do, the LORD God would accept them.  Please note the Jews had no concept of going to heaven.  You won’t find that message anywhere in the Prophetic Program; all their divine promises were of the earth.  Heavenly promises is a Church Age revelation and our Apostle Paul is the administrator of all the Church doctrines.  Still,  I know people today who believe  what Saul of Tarsus and every other Jew believed.  They’re trying their best to keep the Ten Commandments, the moral and civil laws, and they are trying to be the best person they can be hoping God will see their gains (religious assets) far exceed their liabilities, that is, their sin and open the gates of heaven to them.       

I point out Paul’s thinking changed on that faithful day he met the risen Lord on his way to Damascus.  He essentially moved everything he mentioned in 3:5-6 (his assets) to the liability column, exchanging them for “the knowledge of Christ Jesus.”  This is his only asset now.  Everything else is a liability or loss.  He’s sure his salvation (and ours) is based upon what a person does with the gospel of grace.  Not one more thing needs to be added.  Let’s look a few Bible verses:    

 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness (and not ours): that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus (Romans 3:23-26).

Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.  For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God (Romans 6:9-10).

For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.  For then would they not have ceased to be offered?  because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.  But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.  For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.  Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.  Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.  Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.  He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.  By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.  For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.  Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin (Hebrews 10:1-18).

After reading these Bible passages, I pray you understand why Paul said, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…  Although Paul listed seven accomplishments, he now counts them as “dung.”   He wanted people to see he did not have any righteousness he could claim as his own, as a result of trying to keep all of God’s laws.  He spent many years traveling that winding road and discovered it’s truly a “dead end;” literally.  Why?  The things we do hoping to gain God’s favor (self-righteousness) are nothing more than “filthy rags:  

But we are all as an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; (Isaiah 64:6a) - See Leviticus 15:33, 20:18; Lamentations 1:17.

Verse 9:

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through (what) the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

There are a few things I need to point out to y’all before we close this lesson beginning with Isaiah 42:8:  I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.

As I read this, man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy fellowship with Him forever. God’s glory is the highest good, so it can be said for this purpose we were created.  We were made to glorify Him, to reflect His glory in our daily walk, and proclaim His glory to all nations (Isaiah 43:6-7).

Next, salvation is of God alone.  Faith does not save the individual.  Faith pleases God and makes it possible for Him to save the individual:

Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: Thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah (Psalm 3:8).

Slvation for both the Jew and Gentile today must be through faith alone, by grace alone, and of God alone.  To attribute redemption by any human effort is to rob God of that which is rightfully His, that is, the glory.  If God and God alone is not the one who saves, then He shares His glory with creatures.  But as the prophet Isaiah tells us, God will not share His glory with anyone (42:8).   The written Word of God or what God has said is the final, infallible, authority in all things pertaining to God.  If any other source is placed on par with or above the Bible, then the Word of God is no better than the fallible words of creatures, and God has said “My glory I give to no other, nor My praise to carved idols.” 

In verse 3:9 Paul explained the righteousness he desired, and he could not produce it; it only comes by faith in Christ Jesus.  He’s speaking of one’s justification by faith alone: 

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17). 

Paul is saying human achievements amount to “dung,” as far as salvation is concerned.  Faith in the finished work of Christ Jesus, apart from the law, saves people today.  When discussing the righteousness of Jesus Christ for one’s justification, you may or may not have heard about the doctrine of His imputed righteousness, so permit me to introduce an article written by Stephen Nichols:    

“In the 1990s, a group of evangelical theologians and church leaders held talks with a group of Roman Catholic theologians and church leaders, and together they produced a statement titled Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT).  In the aftermath of ECT, much discussion ensued regarding the Roman Catholic understanding of the gospel and how it relates to the understanding of the gospel historically affirmed by evangelicals, the heirs of the Protestant Reformation.  The subject of justification by faith alone came up.  This was, of course, one of the central issues of the Reformation.

We see how essential the doctrine of justification by faith alone was in the Reformation planks of sola fide (faith alone), sola gratia (grace alone), and solus Christus (Christ alone). These solas stress salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  We must also see, however, that the Reformers emphasized a word that they found to be absolutely essential to the Doctrine of Justification by faith alone, which they in turn saw as essential to a right understanding of the gospel.  That word is imputation.

During some of the talks around ECT, the historic differences between evangelicals and Roman Catholics over imputation came to the surface.  Reformed theologian Michael Horton likened imputation to chocolate chips in the making of chocolate chip cookies.  If you set out all the ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies but leave out the singular ingredient of chocolate chips, then you don’t have chocolate chip cookies when you pull the tray out of the oven.  Likewise, you can have most of the key ingredients of the gospel.  You can have the understanding that we are sinners.  You can have an understanding of God as holy and just.  You can have an understanding of Christ and His work on the cross.  But if you leave out imputation, you don’t have the gospel.  This is why the Reformers considered this word absolutely essential to a biblically faithful proclamation of the gospel.  

What does the word imputation mean?  The word comes directly from the Latin.  It is an accounting term; it means “to apply to one’s account.”  Expenses are debited and income is credited.  The KJV Bible translates this as “reckon.” 

In theological terms, we speak of a double imputation that takes place in justification. This double imputation is taught in texts such as 2 Corinthians 5:21, where Paul says plainly, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  Here we read that our sin is imputed to Christ.  We are the offending party.  He is guiltless.  He perfectly kept the whole law.  Yet, on the cross, God poured out His wrath on Jesus Christ.  Why?  Because our sin was imputed to Christ.  Christ took upon Himself our sin.  Our great debit was put on His account.  Christ paid the horrific penalty as the cup of God’s wrath was poured out upon Him.

There is also a second imputation.  Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us.  He not only takes our debit, but we also get His credit.  Christ paid the penalty we could never satisfy, but He also kept the law perfectly, which no man or woman can do.  Consequently, God credits to us His righteousness.  We stand before God clothed in Christ’s righteousness.  We can actually say we are saved by works—not at all by our works, but instead by Christ’s works, His perfect obedience, on our behalf.  One theologian said that two of the most beautiful words in the Bible are for us.  Jesus lived and died—and rose again—for us.  All of His work was done on our behalf.”  (See 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 1:17, 3:21-26, 4:5-6) 

Summing up, Paul is saying the only thing in life that matters, as far as salvation is concerned, is faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection on the third day, according to the Scriptures.  Any other personal achievement you trust in for your salvation is a liability not an asset. 

I don’t seek theology in the Christian hymnal.  That’s what the Bible is for.  However, I appreciate some of the language.  The hymn “Rock of Ages” came to mind after reading verse 3:9.  In the O.T., Jesus Christ (Jehovah) is the “Rock of Ages.”  When Moses smited the rock with his staff, as instructed, the rock was a picture of Christ.  Christ (the Rock) smitten is a future picture of Him crucified.   Out of the cleft rock flowed the water of life and the Israelites were refreshed. 

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee; let the water and the blood, from thy wounded side which flowed, be of sin the double cure; save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labors of my hands can fulfill thy law's commands; could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow, all for sin could not atone; thou must save, and thou alone. 

Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling; naked, come to thee for dress; helpless, look to thee for grace; foul, I to the fountain fly; wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath, when mine eyes shall close in death, when I soar to worlds unknown, see thee on thy judgment throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee.

So then, the righteousness Paul speaks of in 3:9 is to be understood as the righteousness that was imputed to Saul/Paul on the basis of faith in Christ Jesus finished work of the cross.  His personal righteousness was produced by the indwelling Holy Spirit, which was of God, when he placed his faith in Christ Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection for the remission of sin (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved