Scripture Queries and Answers

Philippians 2:21  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 13
1.-Phil. 2:2121For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. (Philippians 2:21). Will you please interpret the passage “All seek their own things, not the things of Jesus Christ “?
2.-In a paper of a small periodical for September the writer defines “their own things” as the “certainty of salvation,” “my portion on earth” “heavenly joys conveyed to my soul by the Spirit of God come down from heaven.” Then he says “Now when we are seeking our own things... It is very evident that we cannot devote ourselves to Christ's things.” Is this in any sense the right force of this scripture? Do you consider that any of the things enumerated were in the mind of the Spirit of God in this passage?
Are not “the things of Jesus Christ” His own interests, in the plucking of a brand from eternal ruin as truly as “the conscious union (of the beloved) with Christ ... in heavenly places “? QUERIST.
A. ( There is no just doubt that the apostle here speaks with deep feeling of the waning of love and devotedness to Christ, His interests and objects, among all that bore His name It is not to be limited to his then companions, any more than to unwillingness to undertake so long a journey as from Rome to Philippi It is his solemn assertion of the selfishness creeping over Christians as a whole, though he intimates in the passage itself blessed exceptions in Timothy and Epaphroditus, as in the saints doubtless to whom he was writing. “The things of Christ,” it is manifest from the epistle itself, include the gospel and fellowship with it and its conflicts, love for the saints and sympathetic help in their every need, not only spiritual but personal and temporal, individual progress in the grace of Christ as well as gracious consideration of one another, with Himself before us both in the love that came down to obey even to the death of the cross and in the glory where He is now on high, as well as in the assurance of His speedy coming. The Epistle essentially contemplates the saints as in the wilderness, not in Canaan, though this be true also and the view in Ephesians.
2.-It is false doctrine, therefore, that Christ's things according to this epistle (and it is here only this expression occurs) begin in heavenly places (Jordan behind), and that “my own continue during my course,” in the true sense of this scripture. This is an exaggeration of the truth which is always untrue, an atmosphere of falsetto for those who are not breathing the free air of Christ and all the truth. The apostle, the Holy Spirit, does not mean “a great deal in Christianity” as “one's own.” Selfish interests are meant, I do not say open sins which man would blame, but such things as he would rather praise (Psa. 49:88(For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) (Psalm 49:8)). It is not only a false interpretation, but, it is to be feared, of the enemy, that seeking our own things means to learn the certainty of salvation, the heavenly joys, &c. The practical issue of this dangerous and evil one-sidedness would be to expose souls under such influence to real selfishness, value for rank and social enjoyment, love of money, power, and party, &c. the very snares against which the unsophisticated truth would guard the simple in God's grace. It is false that our own things ought to continue during our course. We fail if we allow selfishness for an hour. In every respect the teaching is erroneous and mischievous.