Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
In this passage, the Apostle Paul refers to three conditions of the Christian mind. There is the Perfect Mind, the Otherwise Mind, and the Same Mind. Let us look at these and see what we may learn of them.
The Perfect Mind
First of all, let us take the sting out of that word, “perfect!” It certainly is not speaking of sinless perfection! For we see the Apostle stating in verse 13, Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:! For our sinless perfection will only be handled by our glorification at the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ! 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
The Greek word here translated, “perfect,” is translated, “are of full age” in Hebrews 5:14. Those to whom he is referring as, Perfect Minded, are those believers who are acting their age in their spiritual maturity! Let us look at that Hebrews 5:14 verse.
Heb. 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. This “strong meat” of which he speaks, is referring to the “word of righteousness,” or, the strong doctrine of the Holy Scriptures! And just what is the result of chewing up and fully digesting the Word of God? It brings the believer an exercise of his senses, so that he may more fully discern both good and evil! That is what he means when he speaks of perfection!
We also read in Hebrews 4:12 of this same effect upon those who are exposed to the effectual word, receiving it by faith! For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
This perfection was first spoken of by our Lord Himself! Matt. 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. The word, “therefore” leads us back to the preceding verses to learn of what our Lord meant. And we see that he was teaching concerning our being like God in the relating to our enemies. To those who curse us, we are to bless! To those who hate us we are to do good! And for those who despitefully use us we are to pray! Only in this way may we show that it is the Father’s inner grace and Spirit manifesting our new birth outwardly, revealing that we are like Him! For we are not doing these things in order to become gracious! But we are doing these things because His atonement has made us gracious!
Those who do these thing, therefore, are said to be “perfect” even as the Father is perfect!
Let us look at some other passages that relate to those who are “Perfect Minded!”
1Cor. 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
Here the Apostle relates that the glorious gospel, previously hidden by the Lord, is now only revealed to those identified as “perfect!” It is not revealed to the worldly wise, but to those who will make it their rule and practice. And it will result in bringing them to a “glory” here on earth!
Col. 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. The Apostle is impressed to include this praying brother in this Epistle. For he has come to personal experience himself of perfection, therefore seeking the Lord in prayer for others to attain it as they come to know “the will of God.” He seeks spiritual help in desiring that those who hear, and come to know God’s will, shall put it into practice in order for them to attain that perfection of maturity!
2 Tim. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
The Perfect Mind’s Actions
What does the Perfect Mind do? First of all, It Forgets! – forgetting those things which are behind, – The list of things the Apostle Paul counted as trash and put out of his consideration is set forth in verses eight and nine! Phil. 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count 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 win Christ, 9 And be found in him, 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:
Surprised? You thought it would be a list of terrible sins, right? Well, these things are terrible sins when depended upon for justification! They are an offense to God, for they seek unto religious works for salvation! And nothing offends God more!
Isaiah 66:3 He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.
Titus 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Then, Secondly, the Perfect Mind reaches forth! – and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Like a runner in the public games, the Apostle Paul states that he presses forward for the goal to attain the award, having been called to the heavenly vocation (high calling), by the Holy Spirit. 1Cor. 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
The English word, “high,” is from the same Greek word translated, “above” in Colossians 3:1,2. We are told to seek those things which are spiritual; things which are heavenly and holy, where Christ sits on the right hand of the Majesty on high! We have a work to do in this! And it requires a forgetting of our supposed righteousness by works, and a running forward with a heavenly consciousness! 1Th. 2:12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
2 Thess. 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Glory is involved, so let us press forth unto it’s obtainment!
The Otherwise Mind
… and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Not all Christians are on the exact same page, as far as their spiritual growth is concerned! The Apostle John writes to both, little children, young men, and fathers of the faith! (1 John 2:12-14). And instead of faulting the children for not being young adults, he calls them “perfect” who are walking in all the light God has revealed to them!
Ministers are not to be criticizers, but helpers! 2Cor. 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand. They are not to lord over God’s peoples, but be examples unto them! 1 Pet. 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
Inner spiritual growth is the sovereign work of grace from God! Rom. 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Phil. 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Those ‘preachers’ who would force the people to be like them, are more like cowboys, driving cows, than shepherds, leading sheep!
Dear soul, if the Holy Spirit is within a believers heart, what better agent could you wish for to fully develop them into full spiritual maturity? This was the Apostle Paul’s confidence towards those who, at present in their stage of development of maturing! Gal. 5:10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.
Is God sovereign? Do we only have selective sovereignty? Is God just sovereign over the birds in the trees, and the clouds in the sky? Is he not sovereign over political elections, and your child’s sickness?
And as the country boy said, “God don’t make no junk!” Eph. 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Pastor Gene Breed