Philippians 3:16
The apostle gathers up the conclusion to be drawn from the preceding verses. "Therefore let us, as many as be perfect, mind the same thing."

I. CONSIDER THE DUTY OF BELIEVERS TO WALK IN THE FULNESS OF PRESENT TRUTH. The saints, who are here described as perfect, including that very apostle who had just said he was not perfect, are to be regarded as perfect in the sense of adultness of understanding. They were not "babes in Christ;" they had put away childish things; they had assumed the apostle's position concerning the Law. But on this very ground they were to stand strongly consistent in all moral and spiritual development. They were to be like the apostle, forgetting the past and pressing onward to the mark for the heavenly prize.

II. BELIEVERS MAY NOT SEE EYE TO EYE, BUT ARE ENCOURAGED TO LOOK TO THE LORD FOR FULLER KNOWLEDGE. " And if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God will reveal even this to you." The principle is ever tree. "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God? If a believer is rooted in the faith of Christ, the Lord will help him to see the truth respecting minor matters.

III. So FAR AS BELIEVERS AGREE, THEY OUGHT TO SHOW A VISIBLE CONFORMITY OF LIFE AND OPINION. "But let us walk according to that we have attained." Thus

(1) God is glorified;

(2) believers are maintained in a peaceful fellowship;

(3) the world is impressed and won by the exhibition of Christian unity. - T.C.







Nevertheless whereto we have already attained
I. GOD HAS LEFT HIS CHURCH A RULE OF FAITH AND MANNERS. This is a rule whereby men must walk, otherwise we should be in a labyrinth of error, having no other light but the torch of nature.

II. THE PROPERTIES OF THIS RULE.

1. Unchangeableness. Therefore we must bring all to it; not it to all.

2. Perspicuous. "A lamp unto my feet," etc.

3. Homogeneal. All things therein are spiritual and holy; and therefore, when the question is about religion, we must have recourse thereto as the only absolute complete rule.

III. A CHRISTIAN WALKETH BY THIS RULE. He thinks it not sufficient to take a step, but keeps a right course steadfastly onward. How may this be done?

1. Let us treasure up the word in our consciences. Let us get the rule within us; get the articles of faith and assurance of the promises, and let this be betimes while we are young. It is the ordinary cry, "The Scriptures are hard, they cannot understand them." But the reason is they are bred up in earthly businesses, and are stuffed with them so as they find no place for the Word; and it is a miracle to see men thus brought up to live by this rule.

2. When we have once treasured up the knowledge of these things, we must learn to apply them upon several occasions; for where no practice is, there knowledge is idle, and makes us worthy of more stripes. Many have general truths in their minds, but coming to apply them, they find a great want. David knew adultery was a sin, and Peter knew it was dangerous for a man to rely on himself, yet how foully did they fall.

3. Let us compare our experience with our rule. We shall find there is nothing therein but is fulfilled; there is no suffering but for sin; and that besides heaven hereafter, God rewards particular obedience here with particular rewards; and particular sin with particular corrections. We shall know that His judgments are not scarecrows.

4. Be inquisitive and watchful over our particular steps. Take and hear admonitions and instructions. Those that are otherwise minded, no marvel if they, like libertines, spurn against all instruction and advice, and accordingly feel the smart of their ways before they see it.

5. Get a wonderful jealousy over our hearts. We often offend in thoughts and desires, which God, the searcher of the heart, looks into; and we must therefore be jealous of idle thoughts and words.

(R. Sibbes, D. D.)

I. IN ITS MEASURES — various — we may have outstripped others — are yet far behind.

II. ITS MEANS.

1. Determined by the will of God.

2. Proved by experience.

3. Must be persevered in.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

is that knowledge, already enjoyed and proved in a spiritual race, should not lie dormant because it is defective. It needed not so much to be rectified as supplemented. Therefore, as far as you have its guidance take it. Walk up to the light you have and you will get more. Walk with me so far as you discern the common path, and at the point of divergence God shall rightly direct you as to the subsequent course. He who employs what he has, prepares himself for further gifts. When the morning bursts suddenly on one wakened out of sleep, it dazzles and pains him; but to him who on his journey has blessed the dawn, and walked by its glimmer, the solar radiance brings with it a gradual and cheering influence.

(Professor Eadie.)

I have never noticed a single living twig which nature had not provided with a covering of bark. A creedless Church is like a barkless tree. The bark, it is true, should grow with the growth of the tree; but some bark seems a necessity of growth. I have looked down the microscope into the first beginnings of life, and seen at the very bottom of all existence a mass of protoplasmic pulp; but the cell, which is the unit of growth, is a nucleus of life protected by a wall of formed matter. This natural analogy of growth will hardly mislead us in the higher spheres of mind and morals. Some formed matter, some fixed beliefs, world seem to be necessities of the growth of religion.

(N. Smyth, D. D.)

"No man was ever lost in a straight road." This famous saying, which is attributed to the Emperor Akbar, is worthy of a place among the proverbs of Solomon. It is worthy, too, of a place in the memory of every Christian who would walk worthily of his holy profession, and would keep off forbidden ground.

It is not by fits and starts that men become holy. It is not occasional, but continuous, prolonged, and lifelong efforts that are required; to be daily at it; always at it; resting but to renew the work; falling but to rise again. It is not by a few, rough, spasmodic blows of the hammer, that a graceful statue is brought out of the marble block, but by the labour of continuous days, and many delicate touches of the sculptor's chisel. It is not a sudden gush of water, the roaring torrent of a summer flood, but a continuous flow, that wears the rock, and a constant dropping that hollows out the stone. It is not with a rush and a spring that we are to reach Christ's character, attain to perfect saintship; but step by step, foot by foot, hand over hand, we are slowly and often painfully to mount the ladder that rests on earth, and rises to heaven.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

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