Philippians Chapter 3, Verse 20

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Book of Philippians
Chapter 3


20: ημων γαρ το πολιτευμα εν ουρανοις υπαρχει εξ ου <3757> και σωτηρα απεκδεχομεθα κυριον ιησουν χριστον— edit Textus Receptus
20: For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:— edit KJV text
20: But our conversation is in heaven: from whence also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ,— edit Douay text

For our conversation is in heaven. That is, this is true of all who are sincere Christians. It is a characteristic of Christians, in contradistinction from those who are the "enemies of the cross," that their conversation is in heaven. The word "conversation" we now apply almost entirely to oral discourse. It formerly, however, meant conduct in general, and it is usually employed in this sense in the Scriptures. See "Phil 1:27, where the verb occurs, from which the noun here is derived. The word here used politeuma -- is found nowhere else in the New Testament. It properly means, any public measure, administration of the state, the manner in which the affairs of a state are administered; and then the state itself, the community, commonwealth, those who are bound under the same laws, and associated in the same society. Here it cannot mean that their "conversation," in the sense of discourse or talking, was in heaven; nor that their "conduct" was in heaven -- for this would convey no idea, and the original word does not demand it; but the idea is, that they were heavenly citizens, or citizens of the heavenly world, in contradistinction from a worldly community. They were governed by the laws of heaven; they were a community associated as citizens of that world, and expecting there to dwell. The idea is, that there are two great communities in the universe -- that of the world, and that of heaven; that governed by worldly laws and institutions, and that by the laws of heaven; that associated for worldly purposes, and that associated for heavenly or religious purposes; and that the Christian belonged to the latter -- the enemy of the cross, though in the church, belonged to the former. Between true Christians, therefore, and others, there is all the difference which arises from belonging to different communities; being bound together for different purposes; subject to different laws; and altogether under a different administration. There is more difference between them than there is between the subjects of two earthly governments. Comp. "Eph 2:6, Eph 2:19.

From whence also we look for the Saviour. From heaven. That is, it is one of the characteristics of the Christian that he believes that the Lord Jesus will return from heaven, and that he looks and waits for it. Other men do not believe this, (2 Pet 3:4,) but the Christian confidently expects it. His Saviour has been taken away from the earth, and is now in heaven, but it is a great and standing article of his faith that that same Saviour will again come, and take the believer to himself. See "Jn 14:2, See "Jn 14:3"; See "1Thess 4:14.

This was the firm belief of the early Christians, and this expectation with them was allowed to exert a constant influence on their hearts and lives. It led them

(1.) to desire to be prepared for his coming;

(2.) to feel that earthly affairs were of little importance, as the scene here was soon to close;

(3.) to live above the world, and in the desire of the appearing of the Lord Jesus. This was one of the elementary doctrines of their faith, and one of the means of producing deadness to the world among them; and among the early Christians there was, perhaps, no doctrine that was more the object of firm belief, and the ground of more delightful contemplation, than that their ascended Master would return. In regard to the certainty of their belief on this point, and the effect which it had on their minds, see the following texts of the New Testament, Mt 24:42, Mt 24:44; Lk 12:37 Jn 14:3 Acts 1:11 Template:1Co r Col 3:4 1Thess 2:19 2 Thes 2:1; Heb 10:37 Jam 5:7, Jam 5:8 1Jn 3:2 Rev 22:7, Rev 22:12,20.

  • "conversation" "citizenship"
  • "is in heaven" Eph 2:6, Eph 2:19
  • "look for the Saviour" Heb 9:28

-- edit commentary

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