Minds Set on the Things of God

This is a continuation of Philippians chapter 3, even though we are in chapter 4 now, especially since this was originally written as one complete letter without verse and chapter divisions. In the previous chapter we are being cautioned to look out for (to watch out for) evildoers (dogs), primarily those who are false teachers, who walk (in conduct, in practice) as enemies of the cross of Christ. For their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

Philippians 3:20-4:1 ESV

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.”

Those who make sin (evil, wickedness, immorality, lying, etc.) their practice will not inherit eternal life with God, for their minds are set on earthly things. But we who have died with Christ to sin and are living to God and to his righteousness have eternal life with God, providing that we continue to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and provided that we continue to walk in obedience to our Lord and to his commands.

For our salvation from sin is not a one-time deal and then heaven is secured us regardless of how we live our lives from that moment forward. Our salvation is a process of sanctification, of us daily dying with Christ to sin and us living to his righteousness, and of us saying “No” to sin and “Yes” to God and to his moral laws on a day to day basis.

For we are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Jesus comes back to take his bride to be with him, which is when our salvation will be complete and our marriage to Christ as our husband will be consummated (Rom 8:24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18).

Thus, while we wait for our Lord Jesus, our Savior, to come back for us, to take us to be with him for eternity, we are to stand firm in the Lord. Why? It isn’t just because it is recommended to us, or it sounds like a good idea, for being good is better than being bad, but it is because how we live our lives on this earth does matter for eternity. If we walk in sin, making sin our practice, we will not inherit eternal life with God. But if we walk in obedience to our Lord, forsaking our sins, then we will have eternal life with God.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]

Philippians 4:4-7 ESV

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

To rejoice in the Lord is also to delight in God’s grace, to be glad for his grace to us. And it is his grace which delivers us from our slavery (addiction, bondage) to sin and empowers us to live godly and holy lives. For his grace, which brings salvation, trains us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. For Jesus Christ gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (Titus 2:11-14; cf. Eph 2:10; Php 2:12-13).

And we are to let our reasonableness (fairness, justice) be known to all. For we are not to be legalistic nor are we to be liberal (tolerant, easy on sin), but we should be those who handle the word of truth with accuracy, to the best of our knowledge and understanding, who share the truths of Scripture out of hearts of love and compassion for those who are trapped in sin’s deceitfulness, with a desire to tell them the truth so they can be free.

But those of us who are still teaching the truth of the gospel, as Jesus taught it, and as his New Testament apostles taught it, are being largely rejected and kicked to the curb. For the large majority of those professing faith in Jesus Christ are moving more toward the cheap grace gospel which makes no demands of them to repent of their sins or to obey the Lord or to submit to him as Lord over their lives. But we are not to be anxious over this.

Instead, we are to commit all to the Lord in prayer, trusting in his sovereignty, believing that he is in control over all things. And we are to keep on keeping on in our walks of faith and obedience to our Lord and in getting the truth of God’s word out to as many people as possible before the day of the Lord, in hopes that many will turn from their sins and that they will turn their hearts to Jesus Christ, and that they will follow him in obedience to his commands. For Jesus is coming soon.

Philippians 4:8-9 ESV

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

So many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ these days are setting their minds on the things of this earth and not on the things of God. They are living for today, doing the things they want to do, without regard for what God wants them to do. They are living for the pleasures of the flesh and not to please God. And this is largely because they have bought into the lie that says that how they live on this earth doesn’t matter for eternity.

So many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ these days are following after lies taught to them by charlatans who are clever enchanters and manipulators who know how to twist the Scriptures to their advantage. And they are following these manipulators and “pied pipers” to their deaths because the lies tickle their itching ears and they give them carte blanche to continue in their sinful practices while promising them eternity in heaven.

So, we need to be people who are listening to the truth, and we find out what the truth is when we study the Scriptures in context, and we compare Scripture with Scripture, and we pray for understanding, in all sincerity, desirous to know God’s will so that we can obey it.

And then we need to set our minds on things above (of God) and not on things of this earth. And this is a great passage of Scripture to use in testing all the things we are taking into our minds, hearts, eyes, and ears on a daily basis in order to see if what we are viewing and listening to is leading us to what is of God or if it is leading us to what is of this earth, to focus our minds on what is worldly and not on what is godly.

And again, what we do on this earth matters for eternity. And I will say it again. If sin is what we practice, and if we are living worldly lives, focused on the things of this earth, and not on the things of God, and if righteousness is not what we practice, and if we are not walking in obedience to our Lord, then we will not inherit eternal life with God. It doesn’t matter what we confess with our lips (Matt 7:21-23; Gal 6:7-8).

So, follow Jesus Christ with your life, by faith, forsake your sins, and do what our Lord commands, and you will inherit eternal life with God.

Sweet Beulah Land

By Squire Parsons

I’m kind of homesick for a country
To which I’ve never been before.
No sad goodbyes will there be spoken
For time won’t matter anymore.

I’m looking now, just across the river
To where my faith, shall end in sight
There’s just a few more days to labor.
Then I will take my heavenly flight.

Beulah Land I’m longing for you
And some day on thee I’ll stand
There my home shall be eternal
Beulah Land, sweet Beulah Land

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