Christ Our Object: Joy is a Result of Having Christ as Our Object
- General Exhortation to Rejoice in the Lord (3:1)
- Warning to Steer Clear of the Judaizers and Their Legalism (3:2)
- Paul’s Experience Under Judaism and in Christianity (3:3-21)
General Exhortation to Rejoice in the Lord (3:1)
1 For the rest, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord: to write the same things to you, to me is not irksome, and for you safe.
Warning to Steer Clear of the Judaizers and Their Legalism (3:2)
2 See to dogs, see to evil workmen, see to the concision.
Judaizing teachers are mentioned in many of the Epistles: they had made inroads among the Corinthians (2 Cor. 11:22), the Philippians (Phil. 3:2), the Colossians (Col. 2:18), but nowhere with as much success as among the Galatian assemblies. The tendency towards natural religion has been the bane of Christianity. They were those of whom Paul wrote, "desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm" (1 Tim. 1:7). They were of Jewish ethnicity, but had come under the umbrella of Christianity. They found some benefit to being among Christians. Their primary motive was to gain a following after themselves, and perhaps to profit financially. They claimed to be closely connected to the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, but they could not prove their genealogy as Paul could (Phil. 3). Paul was raised up as a suited vessel to deal with the Judaizers, because he himself had been one!
Paul’s Experience Under Judaism and in Christianity (3:3-21)
Paul’s Accomplishments in the Jew’s Religion, Now Counted Loss (vv.3-7)
3 For “we” are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God, and boast in Christ Jesus, and do not trust in flesh. v.3 This verse directly teaches that the Spirit of God leads out the worship of His people (see also Eph. 5:18-19). In Heb. 2:12 we find that the Lord Jesus leads in the song of praise (see Heb. 13:15), but it is orchestrated by the Spirit.
4 Though “I” have my trust even in flesh; if any other think to trust in flesh, “I” rather: 5 as to circumcision, I received it the eighth day; of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, persecuting the assembly; as to righteousness which is in the law, found blameless; 7 but what things were gain to me these I counted, on account of Christ, loss. v.7 Before he was saved, Paul thought of his successes in Judaism as “gain” or “advancement” (Gal. 1:14), but after his conversion he counted it “loss for Christ”. He even changed his own name from Saul to Paul. Saul means ‘desire’ or ‘unrestrained’, but Paul means ‘restrained’ or ‘little’. Grace makes us humble.
All Things Loss in Comparison to Knowing Christ (vv.8-11)
8 But surely I count also all things to be loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I have suffered the loss of all, and count them to be filth, that I may gain Christ; 9 and that I may be found in him, not having my righteousness, which would be on the principle of law, but that which is by faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God through faith, 10 to know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death, 11 if any way I arrive at the resurrection from among the dead.
Paul’s Race, the Prize, and the Way He Ran It (vv.12-14)
12 Not that I have already obtained the prize, or am already perfected; but I pursue, if also I may get possession of it, seeing that also I have been taken possession of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, “I” do not count to have got possession myself; but one thing — forgetting the things behind, and stretching out to the things before, 14 I pursue, looking towards the goal, for the prize of the calling on high of God in Christ Jesus.
The Commonwealth of Those Who Are “Thus” & “Otherwise” Minded (vv.15-21)
15 As many therefore as are perfect, let us be thus minded; and if ye are any otherwise minded, this also God shall reveal to you. 16 But whereto we have attained, let us walk in the same steps. 17 Be imitators all together of me, brethren, and fix your eyes on those walking thus as you have us for a model; 18 (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: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is the belly, and their glory in their shame, who mind earthly things:) 20 for “our” commonwealth has its existence in the heavens, from which also we await the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, 21 who shall transform our body of humiliation into conformity to his body of glory, according to the working of the power which he has even to subdue all things to himself.