Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 3

A desire only for the things in this world

Philippians 3:19

Paul continues to describe those people against whom he warned Philippi’s Christians so strongly (3:18). He does not describe them by their beliefs, opinions or leaders, because these things may differ. Instead, he describes them by their future punishment, their wrong desires and their thoughts:

(1) Their future punishment is hell, unless they truly turn back to God. That is so because they serve themselves – their own selfish and evil desires, ambition and profit – and not God. They might be in the churches, but they oppose the message of Christ and his death. They might consider themselves Christians, but they love their own wrong and evil deeds and attitudes.

(2) Their desire is to please themselves and not to please God. That desire can be so strong that people make it into a kind of false god. They truly love the things that please them; so they cannot love God (Matthew 6:24). As the stomach constantly desires more food, so they can never satisfy their wrong desires (Proverbs 30:15-16).

That desire seems the greatest thing in the world to them. They give their whole lives to satisfy it (contrast Matthew 4:4). However, such things truly satisfy nobody (John 6:47-59). In the end, such greedy and selfish desires only bring shame and disappointment (Mark 8:36; James 5:1-5).

(3) These people give their attention to the things in this world. Of course, we must all think about the things in this world – but we must not neglect to think about the most important matters: God, heaven, and our relationship with God. The things that these people think about may be money, fashion and possessions. Or, they may think mainly about themselves: their emotions, importance or ambitions. Or they may even think about religion: its rules, customs and traditions. All these things belong in this world, and in these people’s minds, these things take the place of thoughts about God, about Christ, and about heaven. By their thoughts, these people show that they belong to this world, and not to heaven.

Next part: Citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20)


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