3:1 Finally, 1 my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. 2 To write the a same things to you, to me indeed [is] not grievous, but for you [it is] safe.
(1) A conclusion of those things which have been
said before, that is, that they go forward cheerfully in the Lord. (2)
A preface to the next admonition that follows, to take good heed and beware of
false apostles, who join circumcision with Christ, (that is to say,
justification by works, with free justification by faith), and beat into
men's head the ceremonies which are abolished, instead of true exercises of
godliness and charity. And he calls them dogs, as profane barkers, and evil
workmen, because they neglected true works and did not teach the true use of
them. To be short, he calls them concision, because in urging circumcision,
they cut off themselves and others from the Church.
(a) Which you have often times heard from me.
3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware
of the b concision.
(b) He alludes to circumcision; and while they
were boasting in it, they broke apart the Church.
3:3 3 For we
are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ
Jesus, and have no confidence c in the
(3) He shows that we ought to use true
circumcision, that is, the circumcision of the heart, so that by cutting off
all wicked affections by the power of Christ, we may serve God in purity of
(c) In outward things which do not at all pertain
to the soul.
3:4 4 Though
I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he
hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
(4) He does not doubt to prefer himself even
according to the flesh, before those perverse zealous urgers of the Law, that
all men may know that he does with good judgment of mind, consider of little
worth all of those outward things. For he who has Christ lacks nothing, and
confidence in our works cannot stand with the free justification in Christ by
what things were d gain to me, those I
counted loss for Christ.
(d) Which I considered as gain.
3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count e
all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my
Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but]
dung, that I may f win Christ,
(e) He shuts out all works, those that go before,
as well as those that come after faith.
(f) That in their place I might get Christ, and
from a poor man become rich, so far am I from losing anything at all.
3:9 And be found in g
him, h not having mine own
righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of
Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
(g) In Christ: for those that are found outside
of Christ are subject to condemnation.
(h) That is, to be in Christ, to be found not in
a man's own righteousness, but clothed with the righteousness of Christ
imputed to him.
3:10 5 That
I may i know him, and the power of his
resurrection, and the 6 fellowship of
his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
(5) This is the end of righteousness by faith
with regard to us, that by the power of his resurrection we may escape from
(i) That I may indeed feel him, and have an
experience of him. (6) The way to that eternal
salvation is to follow Christ's steps by afflictions and persecutions, until
we come to Christ himself, who is our mark at which we aim, and receive that
reward to which God calls us in him. And the apostle sets these true exercises
of godliness against those vain ceremonies of the Law, in which the false
apostles put the sum of godliness.
3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the k
resurrection of the dead.
(k) To everlasting life, which follows the
resurrection of the saints.
3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either
were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which
also I am l apprehended of Christ Jesus.
(l) For we run only as far forth as we are laid
hold on by Christ, that is, as God gives us strength, and shows us the way.
Let us therefore, as many as be m
perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall
reveal even this unto you.
(7) The conclusion of this exhortation standing
upon three members: the first is, that those who have profited in the truth of
this doctrine should continue in it. The second is, that if there are any who
are yet ignorant and do not understand these things, and who doubt of the
abolishing of the Law, they should cause no trouble, and should be gently
waited for, until they also are instructed by the Lord. The third is, that
they judge the false apostles by their fruits: in which he does not doubt to
set forth himself as an example.
(m) He said before that he was not perfect. So
that in this place he calls those perfect who have somewhat profited in the
knowledge of Christ and the Gospel, whom he sets against the rude and
ignorant, as he himself expounds in (Philippians
(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping,
[that they are] the enemies of the cross of Christ:
(8) He shows what the false apostles truly are,
not from malice or ambition, but with sorrow and tears, that is, because being
enemies of the Gospel (for that is joined with persecuting it) they regard
nothing else, but the benefits of this life: that is to say, that abounding in
peace, and quietness, and all worldly pleasures, they may live in great
estimation among men, whose miserable end he forewarned them of.
3:19 Whose n
end [is] destruction, whose God [is their] belly, and [whose] o
glory [is] in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
(o) Which they hunt after from men's hands.
3:20 9 For
our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the
Lord Jesus Christ:
(9) He sets against these fellows true pastors
who neglect earthly things, and aspire to heaven only, where they know that
even in their bodies they will be clothed with that eternal glory, by the
power of God.