Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.…
He who would rejoice in the Lord must —
I. BEWARE OF ERROR (vers. 1-3).
II. RENOUNCE ALL AND TRUST IN CHRIST ONLY (vers. 4-8).
III. EMBRACE THE FULNESS OF CHRIST (vers. 9-11).
(J. Lyth, D. D.)
I. REJOICE IN THE LORD is the text of the whole chapter. After a long chapter on the suppression of self and the absorption of every faculty in the service of Christ, here seems to be the reward. Observe —
1. It is "in the Lord." There are two estates of men, "in the flesh," and "in the Lord." To be in the latter estate is to possess all that can minister to happiness. So we are here reminded that we can command our own happiness. It is enforced as a duty. Joy is a feeling that ranges over all life and time. It remembers from what it has been rescued; it rejoices in present security; it hopes for more than it can conceive in the future.
2. But if the Christian is seduced from Christ the joy departs, and gives place to a deeper desolation than the soul has ever known. It was this danger that the apostle dreaded, arising from two errors; one doctrinal, which would teach them to cease to trust in Christ alone: another practical, which would make them selfish and carnal, and so enemies of the Cross.
II. CHRISTIAN REJOICING "DEFENDED AGAINST ITS JUDAIZING" ENEMIES. The apostle bids the Philippians beware of the dogs, evil workers, concision, suggestive phrases, the last implying that circumcision having served its purpose had become dishonoured as well as disused; the word was now but a synonym of a Christian profession (Colossians 2:11; Romans 2:29). Those were the true circumcision who —
1. Worship God in the spirit, i.e., they offer a worship which is ordered, prompted, released from ceremony and made acceptable by the Spirit of God.
(1) The Holy Ghost is the Master of all Christian worship.
(2) The object of that worship or service is included in the term and not expressed (Romans 9:4; Acts 26:1.-7; Romans 12:1).
(3) The worship presented is "in spirit and in truth," because the communism of man's spirit with God through the indwelling spirit (Romans 8:26; Jude 1:20) is His own temple. But this must be external also. The word "circumcision" indicates the fellowship of those who, by this symbolic rite, were dedicated to God. And Christian public worship is the common spiritual homage of men who are serving God in their spirits while they are serving Him in His house.
(4) But the Spirit unites no human spirit to God which is not holy; and so the cutting off of sin was what circumcision always signified (Romans 2:29).
2. Rejoice in Christ Jesus, i.e., confide or glory. They have learned that circumcision has given place to baptism; but they put trust in neither. They trust only in Christ, and as they trust they glory.
3. Have no confidence in the flesh.
(1) In the fleshly ordinance which cannot be retained without dishonouring Christ.
(2) In the "fleshly," i.e., personal and national prerogatives of the circumcised members of the old covenant. They renounced Judaism with all its advantages.
(3) In anything that human nature can do to win the Divine favour.
(W. D. Pope, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.