Philippians 3

(21 verses, 2:53 to read)


What I am about to READ

  • St. Paul teaches the Philippians not to trust in the flesh and urges them to trust in Christ and His righteousness.


  • v. 1 seems to be a conclusion to the letter, but Paul continues on!
  • vv. 2-11: St. Paul warns the Philippians that the righteousness found in the Law is not sufficient for salvation. A greater righteousness, found apart from the Law, leads to resurrection and eternal life.
  • vv. 12-21: St. Paul urges the Philippians to follow his example in disciplining the flesh away from evil and toward righteousness.


  • St. Paul reminds us that it is a good thing to hear again and again the Lord’s Word. It is tempting to think that one can master the Scriptures. However, Luther himself constantly went back to the basics of the faith–the Catechism–and saw that he couldn’t master even these. If you’ve been reading the devotions, you’ve seen the deleterious effects forgetting the Lord and His Word had on the people of Israel after Solomon’s reign and the division of the Kingdom. This one of the strengths also of the historic lectionary, which sets the same texts before our eyes on a yearly basis! We find our safety in the refuge of God’s Word.
  • St. Paul points to his own righteousness under the Law as being insufficient for salvation. If we are to rely on the Law for our salvation, we would come quickly to the conclusion that we would not be able to attain what the Law demands. We are Gentiles, and thus, outside of God’s covenant people! Not only that, but our hearts are impure and lack the ability to keep the Law. If St. Paul, a Hebrew’s Hebrew, cannot become righteous under the Law, neither can we. The righteousness needed, both for the Jews and the Gentiles, is found in Christ alone. Through this righteousness, we will find salvation from sin and death and will be resurrected to eternal life at Christ’s coming.
  • Though works do not save, they do come as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian. As St. Paul says, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already prefect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me me his own.” We strive to live according to the Law’s righteous demands, because we have been made sons of God. Our sins need not hinder us, for they have been removed from us and God remembers them not. In this way, we can find examples in the saints as how to live the Christian life–battling against the flesh and relying on Christ’s Word to forgive us when we fall short of God’s glory.
  • The goal for the Christian, as with St. Paul, is found in Christ, who is the Resurrection and the Life. He is the one who redeems us from self-chosen works, shame, and destruction. All things are brought under His reign, and even death itself must yield our bodies back to Him.


  • Prayer: O, Comforter of priceless worth, send peace and unity on earth, support us in our final strife, and lead us out of death to life. Amen.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group:

-Rev. Jordan McKinley, pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN

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