Life-Study of Philippiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall be concerned mainly with 3:15 and 16. In verse 15 Paul says, “Let us therefore, as many as are full grown, have this mind; and if in anything you are otherwise minded, this also God shall reveal to you.” The Greek word rendered “full grown” means mature, perfect. Maturity is a matter of stages. We may be mature, but not mature in full. In verse 15 Paul uses the expression “full grown” in a relative sense, meaning relatively mature, neither childish nor absolutely mature. Hence, further pursuing, further growth, is needed.
Those who are full grown still need a mind to pursue Christ. At the time Paul wrote the book of Philippians, he was full grown. However, he was still growing. This confirms that even the matter of full growth, or maturity, may be relative. Today none of us can say that we have reached the goal. Although we may not be childish and may actually be somewhat full grown, we still have not reached the goal.
According to verse 15, “as many as are full grown” should have “this mind.” This book’s dealing with the Philippian believers is focused on the mind, the leading part of the soul. It charges them to strive together for the gospel with one soul (1:27), to think the same thing, to be joined in soul, even to think the one thing (2:2; 4:2), to let the mind which was in Christ be in them (2:5), and to have this mind, a mind focused on the pursuing and gaining of Christ to the uttermost. When our mind is thus occupied, we have the same mind, thinking the same thing, even thinking the one thing—the fullest gain of Christ—joined in soul, like-souled (2:20), and with one soul.
Paul’s word in verse 15 implies that if we do not have this mind, we may be childish. Not having this mind is a sign that we are not full grown. As we consider the situation among Christians today, we see a great deal of childishness. Not many believers have this mind, the mind to seek after the fullest enjoyment and gain of Christ. Imagine how marvelous the situation would be if all seeking Christians had a mind focused on pursuing Christ for the full enjoyment and gaining of Him. If the seeking Christians were like this, the situation on earth would be excellent and wonderful. However, the situation among Christians today is confused and complicated. This is due to the fact that seeking Christians do not have this mind. Instead of seeking God’s unique goal, they pursue other goals. These different goals cause trouble. We in the Lord’s recovery should have one goal, and this goal should be to pursue Christ that we may have the fullest enjoyment of Him and may gain Him in full.
In 3:15 Paul says that “if in anything you are otherwise minded, this also God shall reveal to you.” Pursuing after Christ must be our goal. We should not be otherwise minded. God wants always to adjust our mind to His center by revealing to us the need of such a mind, a mind focused on the pursuing of Christ.
Paul’s word in verse 15 indicates his assurance that there was just one goal. Because of this assurance he could say that if in anything we were otherwise minded, this also God would reveal to us. Paul did not mean that Christians did not have other goals. What he said was that God would reveal this to them.
We all need to see God’s unique goal. We thank the Lord that throughout the years God’s goal has kept us from being distracted. It is very easy to be distracted in the Christian life, for there are many distracting factors surrounding us. If we do not have a fixed goal, the unique goal, the goal set up by God in eternity, and hold to it, we shall eventually be distracted. The only thing that can keep us on God’s way is His unique goal—Christ for our highest enjoyment and ultimate gain. If we take this goal as our ultimate goal, we shall be preserved.
In 3:16 Paul goes on to say, “Only this, whereunto we have attained, by the same rule let us walk.” It is rather difficult to translate the Greek word rendered “only this” in a definite way. It may also be rendered “but rather,” “nevertheless,” or “however.” It is a concluding word to the preceding verses, charging us with only this: to walk by the same rule. The words whereunto we have attained modify walk.
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