Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 3

‘Christians’ who refuse to serve Christ

Philippians 3:18

Even among the first Christians, there were many people who were not truly serving God. Paul actually wept tears as he thought about them. God loved them so much, but they chose to live in a selfish and greedy manner. Christ died so that God could forgive their evil deeds; but they chose on purpose to continue that same wrong behaviour. They did not want any of the benefits that Christ’s death offered to them; Paul calls them ‘enemies of the cross of Christ’. In other words, they actively opposed what God wanted to do for them because of Christ’s death (see Hebrews 10:29).

However, these people joined the churches; they even taught in the churches (Acts 20:29-30; 2 Peter chapter 2). They probably considered themselves to be Christians, and the other Christians accepted them. Often, they were impressive and powerful people (2 Corinthians 11:1-20). So, their wrong attitudes and actions were not always easy for other Christians to identify. God knew the truth about them; but often, the other Christians did not.

Those people did not all have the same wrong beliefs and opinions as each other. There is only one right way to live (3:17), but there are many wrong ways (Psalm 1:1; Psalm 15). Those people had many different things that they desired too – but those things were all for their benefit in this life and in this world (3:19). They did not desire a place in heaven or a right relationship with God; they did not care about such things. They did not want to turn from their evil deeds or for God to change them. They were not waiting for Christ’s return, or for the resurrection, when the bodies of God’s people will live again, never to die. They did not want Christ to rule all things; rather, they did not want Christ even to rule over their own lives (3:20-21).

Next part: A desire only for the things in this world (Philippians 3:19)


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© 2020, Keith Simons.