Waiting for the King and Saviour

Peter Barnes: Phil 3:20,21

(21 April 2019)


Our attitude is determined by the heavenly character of the commonwealth to which we belong.

1. The Christian’s citizenship is in heaven.

– 3:20. The KJV has ‘conversation’, but it is ‘citizenship’ (ESV, NIV), ‘colony’ (R. P. Martin), ‘commonwealth’ (Ben Witherington III, Peter O’Brien), or ‘our governing civic association’ (John Reumann).

– Roman citizens could vote for the Senate if they were in Rome; they were free from degrading forms of punishment (Acts 16:19-40; 22:25-29); and could appeal to the emperor in Rome (Acts 25:10-12).

– Heb.11:16; Col.3:1-3. Epistle to Diognetus: ‘For them, any foreign country is a motherland, and any motherland is a foreign country.’

2. The risen Lord will transform the bodies of His people.

– our lowly body will be made like Christ’s glorious body (3:21); 1 Cor.15:42-44). A caterpillar is just a grub, but it is transformed into a beautiful butterfly.

3. Christ’s power over everything.

– Christ has all power – 3:21b; Matt.28:18). Over sickness (Mark 1:29-31); demons (Mark 5:1-13); nature (Mark 4:39-41); sin (Mark 2:5, 10); and death (Luke 8:49, 54-55; John 10:17-18; 11:1-44);

– 1 Pet.2:11; Acts 17:6-7. When Philip Henry (the father of Matthew Henry) came to Worthenbury, he was a stranger, and it was said that his attachment to Miss Matthews (who became his wife) was not in order. The objection was that they did not know where he came from. Miss Matthews: ‘True, but I know where he is going, and I should like to go with him.’ In Philippians 2:6-8 Paul says that Christ became like us; in Philippians 3:20-21 he says that this was so that we might become like Christ. Christ left glory to take on humiliation that we might leave humiliation to take on glory.