Life-Study of Philippiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In Philippians 3 we have a revelation of a unique Person—the excellent, all-inclusive Christ. In this message we shall see that, as Christians, we should have the unique mind inwardly and the unique walk outwardly.
In verse 15 Paul says, as a word of conclusion to 3:1-14, “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.” What does Paul mean by “this mind”? To answer this question we need to consider Paul’s word in verses 13 and 14: “Brothers, I do not yet reckon myself to have laid hold, but one thing—forgetting the things which are behind and stretching forward to the things which are before, I pursue toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” What Paul means by “this mind” is to have a mind to forget the things behind and to stretch forward to the things before in order to pursue toward the goal for the prize.
We have pointed out that the goal is to live, walk, and have our being absolutely out of the old creation and in God. This is the goal of the out-resurrection (v. 11). To pursue toward the goal of the out-resurrection is to pursue a life which is out of the old creation and wholly in God. This out-resurrection is actually Christ Himself in resurrection. We may also say that in His Person Christ portrays the out-resurrection. Before the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ, there was no such portrait, for there was not yet such a thing as the out-resurrection. Before Christ’s incarnation, God had not been joined to His creation. But one day the Son of God came into the old creation. When He was crucified, He brought the entire old creation to the cross and nailed it there. Hence, through crucifixion, Christ terminated the old creation. Furthermore, when He was buried, He brought the old creation, which was symbolized by the graveclothes, with Him into the tomb. When He was resurrected, He left the graveclothes behind (John 20:6-7). This indicates that the old creation was left in the tomb. When Christ came forth in resurrection, He was a Person absolutely out of the old creation and in God. This is the meaning of the expression “the out-resurrection.” Christ attained to this out-resurrection through crucifixion and resurrection.
According to the New Testament, we should not separate the out-resurrection from the Person of Christ, for Christ Himself is actually the out-resurrection. This means that when we received the Lord Jesus, we also received the out-resurrection. However, throughout the centuries, from the first century until the present, this matter has not been proclaimed adequately. How we thank the Lord that, in His mercy, He has opened our eyes to see what is the out-resurrection from among the dead!
Having “this mind” is related to pursuing the out-resurrection. To have this mind is to have the understanding and realization that, as those who have been chosen, redeemed, and regenerated by God, we must pursue one thing—to have our living out of the old creation and in God. This means that our whole life should be in the out-resurrection. We have seen that this out-resurrection is actually the dear, precious, excellent Person of Christ, the very One who, through crucifixion and resurrection, has passed out of the old creation and has entered into God. This wonderful One is far more excellent than the angels. Angels still belong to the old creation. They have not experienced crucifixion or resurrection. But after Christ was crucified and buried, He was resurrected out of the old creation and into God. Have you ever heard such a description of the Lord Jesus? Hallelujah, Christ Himself is the reality of the out-resurrection! Now we must pursue a life which is this wonderful Person of Christ. With Paul we should be able to say, “To me to live is Christ” (1:21). Paul could also testify that he had been crucified with Christ and that Christ lived in him (Gal. 2:20). The very Christ who lived in Paul is the One who, in His own Person, is the out-resurrection.
As long as we have our living in the old creation, we do not live Christ, even if the things we do are very good. Suppose someone lives according to an ethical standard higher than that of Confucius. Nevertheless, such a living is not Christ; it is merely an ethical living, the living of ethics in the old creation. We must seek not only to overcome sins, but also to overcome the best aspects of the old creation, including the ethics of the old creation. We need to pursue toward the goal—the goal of the out-resurrection, which is our dear and excellent Christ Himself. What a blessing it is to see this! How blessed we would be in our family life if we pursued a life which is out of the old creation and in God.
We all need to have “this mind,” a mind to pursue Christ as the out-resurrection. For a young person to pursue this goal is not merely to improve his behavior or character or to become a better student. It is to live a life which is actually Christ Himself in resurrection. This is a life which is fully out of the old creation and in God. May we all have this unique mind.
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