Enter subtitle here
1 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.
2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
'...the dogs, or "blind and ignorant watchmen...'
When a great dog bays the moon, all the little village curs must take a turn. This is often annoying to the weary traveller, who would rather sleep than count the hours of the steeple clock. But experience teaches the expediency of letting the dogs bark until they perceive that the great dog sees no more in the moon to bay. It is no use giving chase to them with wrath. The exertion would be too fatiguing, and bootless withal; for bark they will until there is no more bark in them.
Paul appears to have been a good deal annoyed by dogs; therefore he cautions all who follow his track to "beware of dogs." I apprehend it was not the barking dogs he cared so much for, as about those sneaking, grinning, snarling curs, which Isaiah describes as "dumb dogs that cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber; greedy dogs that can never have enough," and when they come upon you they would as soon "bite and devour" you, as seize upon a bone.
"Give not things holy unto dogs," saith Jesus; for "it is not fit to take the children's meat and to throw it unto dogs." There are no dogs in the Holy City. This is constituted of Christ's sheep; and all "the dogs are without."
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Oct 1854
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
"So", said he, "whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body" (2 Cor. 5: 9-10, R.S.V.).
With such a keen awareness of his accountability at the coming of Christ, Paul could not be other than sincere in what he did. "All our persuading of men, then", said he, "is with this solemn fear of God in our minds. What we are is utterly plain to God - and I hope to your consciences as well" (J. B. Phillips). Did this sound immodest? Just in case it did, he forestalled criticism with an immediate disclaimer - "No, we are not recommending ourselves to you again, but we can give you grounds for legitimate pride in us - if that is what you need to meet those who are so proud of the outward rather than the inward qualification" (J. B. Phillips).
There was certainly an echo here of the previous contrast he had drawn between the "vessel" and the "treasure". It is possible also that there was a reference to circumcision, a physical operation so vital to the Judaizers. At all events, he would appear to have taken an unkind gibe at his expense into account in what he next said: "If we have been 'mad' it was for God's glory; if we are perfectly sane it is for your benefit" (J. B. Phillips).
This led Paul on naturally to explain the reason for this element of altruism in his own life. It was due entirely to Christ's altruism on his, Paul's, behalf. As he put it, "the very spring of our actions is the love of Christ" (J. B. Phillips).
The compassion shown to him was like an irresistible force urging him on, claiming his full and unqualified allegiance; he declared himself "convinced that as one has died for all, then all have died, and that he died for all in order to have the living live no longer for themselves but for him who died and rose for them" (Moffatt).
He was charged with mere self-seeking. But, he protested, a realization of this kind utterly precludes self-seeking: selfishness cannot survive in such an atmosphere. To know oneself to have been involved in the sacrificial death of Christ, on account of its representational character, is to see oneself committed to a sacrificial life, to a re-enactment in oneself of the Cross.
Letters to Corinth Ch 7.
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 their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
The carnal mind, or serpent in the flesh, is the subject of a twofold manifestation, namely, individually and collectively. An individual manifestation is more or less observable in persons who "mind the things of the flesh," or "earthly things" (Rom. 8:5; Phil. 3:18-19; Col. 3:2; 1 John 2:15). To do this is to be "after the flesh," and "in the flesh;" of whom, it is testified, "they cannot please God."
By a figure, sin is put for the serpent, the effect for the cause; seeing that he was the suggester of unbelief and disobedience to man, by whom it entered into the world. Hence, the idea of the serpent in the flesh is expressed by "sin in the flesh;" which was "condemned in the flesh" when Jesus was crucified for, or, on account of sin, "in the likeness of sinful flesh."
In the animal man there dwelleth no good thing. The apostle affirms this of himself,considered as an unenlightened son of the flesh. "In me, that is, in my flesh," says he, "dwelleth no good thing." Hence, whatever good was in him, did not originate from the thinking of the flesh excited by the propensities, and traditions of Gamaliel, but from "the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus; " that is, from the influence of "the testimony of God," concerning "the things of the kingdom, and name of Jesus Christ," upon "the fleshly tablet of his heart," most assuredly believed.
Elpis Israel 1.3.
20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Having shown "how," or upon what principles, the righteous dead are raised, the apostle gives us to understand, that their "glory" will consist in brightness; for He cites the splendour of the celestial bodies as illustrative of theirs. This reminds us of the testimony in Daniel, that "they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever" (Dan. 12:3).
This is repeated by the Lord Jesus, who says, "then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father" (Matt. 13:43); which assurance Paul also revives in his letter to the saints at Philippi, saying, "our commonwealth has a beginning (Dan. 2:44: Luke 19:12-15) in the heavens out of which also we wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who will transfigure the body of our humiliation, that it may become of like form with the body of His glory, by the power of that which enables Him even to subdue all things to Himself" (Phil. 3:20,21).
When we die we are buried, or "sown," like so many seeds in the earth. We are sown, says the apostle, "in corruption," "in dishonour," "in weakness," and with an animal nature; but, when we are raised to inherit the kingdom, we become incorruptible, glorious, powerful, and possessed of a Spiritual nature, such as Jesus and the Elohim rejoice in.
Now, a Spiritual body is as material, or substantial and tangible, a body as that which we now possess. It is a body purified from "the law of sin and death." Hence it is termed "holy," and "spiritual," because it is born of the Spirit from the dust, is incorruptible, and sustained by the ruach, or spirit, independently of the neshemeh, or "atmospheric air."
"That which is born of the flesh," in the ordinary way, "is flesh," or an animal body: and that which is born of the Spirit, "by a resurrection to life, "is spirit," or a Spiritual body (John 3:6). Hence, in speaking of Jesus, Paul says, "born of David's seed according to the flesh; and constituted the Son of God in power, by the spirit of holiness, through a resurrection from the dead" (Rom. 1:3,4). Thus, He was born of the spirit, and therefore became "a Spirit;" and, because highly exalted, and possessing a name which is above every name (Phil. 2:9-11), He is styled "the Lord the Spirit."
That the Spiritual body is independent of atmospheric air for its support, is clear from the ascension of the Lord Jesus. An animal body can only exist in water, or in atmospheric air, and at a comparatively low altitude above the surface of the earth. Now, the air does not extend beyond forty-five miles; consequently beyond that limit, if they could even attain to it, creatures supported by breath in the nostrils, could no more live than fish in the air. Beyond our atmosphere is the ether; through which they only can pass, who, like the Lord Jesus and the angels, possess a nature adapted to it. This is the case with the Spiritual nature.
Elpis Israel 1.2.