Philippians 3:2-16: True Religion


When I say the words ‘mature Christian’ what comes to mind? Perhaps you automatically think of someone older, someone calm and unruffled, but few of us put the words mature and ambition, or mature and striving for perfection, maturity and a desire to suffer together. We ordinarily do not associate maturity with those things we could easily associate with fanaticism. In the portion that we will be looking at today Paul places these things together in his picture of mature Christianity. Phil. 3:15 comes at the end of his description stating, ‘Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.’ Paul in this section has a list of things that the true believer is engaged in, and he tells us that it is the picture of the mature believer. This will be our meditation today as we think about growing in the coming year.

In Philippians 3 Paul wants to talk about joy, v1, ‘Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.’ But before he decides to talk about joy he interrupts his flow of thought to talk about two problems the Philippian church is facing, false teaching and division, and so he addresses these matters in 3:2-4:3 before carrying on with his thoughts about joy. The portion where Paul paints the picture of the mature Christian comes in the section where he is addressing the problem of false teachers. We will be focusing on 2-16. We will run through the whole section looking at it under four headings, firstly Paul talks about true perspectives in v2-3; then he talk about the true righteousness in v4-9; then about true living in v10-11; and then true maturity in v12-15.