NLT Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition - Flipbook - Page 85
P h i l i pp i a n s
Rom 6:3-5; 8:17, 29
so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the
law without fault.
7I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because
of what Christ has done. 8Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the
infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything
else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9and become one with him.
I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become
righteous through faith in Christ.* For God’s way of making us right with himself depends
on faith. 10I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from
the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11so that one way or another I
will experience the resurrection from the dead!
1 Cor 15:23
2 Pet 3:18
Rom 1:17; 3:21-22;
1 Tim 6:12, 19
Pressing toward the Goal
don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already
reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first
3:9 Or through the faithfulness of Christ.
1. Perfect Relationship
We are perfect because of our eternal union with the infinitely
perfect Christ. When we become his children, we are declared
not guilty and thus righteous because of what Christ, God’s
beloved Son, has done for us. This perfection is absolute and
unchangeable, and it is this perfect relationship that guarantees
that we will one day be completely perfect (see below). See
Colossians 2:8-10; Hebrews 10:8-14.
2. Perfect Progress
We can grow and mature spiritually as we continue to trust
Christ, learn more about him, draw closer to him, and obey him.
Our progress is changeable (in contrast to our relationship; see
above) because it depends on our daily walk—we mature more
during some seasons of life than others. But we are growing toward perfection if we press on (Philippians 3:12). The good deeds
we do, however, do not perfect us; rather, as God perfects us,
we do good deeds for him. See Philippians 3:1-15.
3. Complete Perfection
When Christ returns to take us into his eternal Kingdom, we
will be glorified and made completely perfect. See Philippians
All stages of perfection are grounded in faith in Christ and what he has done, not what we can
do for him. We cannot perfect ourselves; only God, “who began the good work within you, will
continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (1:6).
3:8 After Paul considered everything he had accomplished in his life,
3:10 When we become one with Christ by trusting in him, we ex
he decided to write it all off as “worthless” when compared with the
greatness of knowing Christ. We should value our relationship with
Christ as more important than anything else. To know Christ should
be our ultimate goal. Yet how do we know him better? (1) Study the life
of Christ in the Gospels. See how he lived and responded to people
(Matthew 11:29). (2) Study all the New Testament references to Christ
(see, for example, Colossians 1:15–2:15). (3) As you worship and pray,
let the Holy Spirit remind you of Christ’s words (John 14:26). (4) Take
up Christ’s mission to preach the gospel, and learn from his sufferings
(Matthew 28:19; Philippians 3:10).
3:9-10 Paul gave up everything—family, friendship, and freedom—in
order to know Christ and his resurrection power. We, too, have access
to this knowledge and this power, but we may have to make sacri
fices to enjoy it fully. What are you willing to give up in order to know
Christ? A crowded schedule, in order to set aside a few minutes each
day for prayer and Bible study? A friend’s approval? Some of your plans
or pleasures? Whatever you must change or give up, having Christ and
becoming one with him will be more than worth the sacrifice.
3:9 No amount of law keeping, s elf-improvement, discipline, or re
ligious effort can make us right with God. Righteousness comes only
from God, and we are made r ighteous—receive right standing with
him—by trusting in Christ. When we do this, he exchanges our sin and
shortcomings for his complete righteousness. (For more on Christ’s gift
of righteousness, see 2 Corinthians 5:21.)
perience the power that raised him from the dead. That same mighty
resurrection power helps us live morally renewed and regenerated lives.
But as we walk in our new life, we also share in his death by considering
our old way of life and sinful desires as dead and unresponsive. Just as
the Resurrection gives us Christ’s power to live for him, the Crucifixion
marks the death of our old, sinful nature. We can’t know the victory of the
Resurrection without personally experiencing the meaning of the cross.
3:11 When Paul wrote, “so that one way or another I will experience the
resurrection from the dead,” he was not implying uncertainty or doubt.
He did not know how he would die, whether by execution or by natural
death, but he did not doubt that he would be raised to life. He knew that
his attainment of eternal life was within God’s power and not his own.
3:11 Just as Christ was exalted after his resurrection, we will one day
share Christ’s glory (Revelation 22:1-7). Paul knew that he might die soon,
but he had faith that he would be raised to life again.
3:12-14 Paul said that his goal was to know Christ, to be like Christ, and
to be all Christ intended for him. This goal absorbed all of Paul’s energy.
This is a helpful example for us. We should not let anything take our eyes
off our g oal—knowing Christ. With the s ingle-mindedness of an athlete
in training, we must lay aside everything harmful and forsake anything
that may distract us from living like Christ. What is holding you back?
3:12 Sometimes trying to live a perfect Christian life can be so difficult
that it leaves us drained and discouraged. We may feel so far from perfect
that we think we can never please God with our lives. Paul used the