Philippians 1:1-2 ESV
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We, who have trusted Jesus Christ with our lives, are all servants of the Lord. Yes, we are children of our heavenly Father, but we are still the Lord’s servants, and he is our Lord (owner-master). For, in Jesus’ death on a cross, he bought us back for God with his blood that we might be God’s possession, and for us to now honor God with our lives and to no longer glory in the flesh (1 Co. 6:20; Tit. 2:14; Eph. 2:10; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
We are also saints in Christ Jesus, and a saint is one who is holy – different, unlike the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ. We are set apart from the world and we are set apart by and for God and for his service, and for his glory. For, when we believed in Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Lord, God created us in Christ Jesus after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:17-24; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 12:1-2).
Therefore, we should no longer live or think like the world does, but our lives should be being conformed to the likeness of Christ and to his character, day by day. Daily we should be dying to sin and self, and daily we should be putting on Christ and his armor in order to fight against the enemy of our souls who would like to take us captive to do his will (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 6:10-20; Col. 3:2-10; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Philippians 1:3-6 ESV
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we should also all be partners with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to be so continually, day in and day out. And, that gospel is the one that Jesus and his NT apostles taught, not the one that many people are teaching today.
For the gospel that is of Christ says we must die with him to sin, and we must live with him to his righteousness if we want to have eternal life with God. We must walk in the Light, and we must walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh if we want to have the hope of heaven when we die (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Lu. 9:23-25; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
So, if we are partners in this gospel, the gospel of Christ, that means we are united in heart, mind, and actions with this gospel that says we must die daily to sin and self and walk daily in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. We are partakers with Christ in his suffering and in his death that we might be partakers with him in his righteousness and in his resurrection to life, too.
But, this is not works-based salvation. We are not surrendering our lives to Christ to earn or to deserve our salvation. We are surrendering our lives to Christ because of what Jesus did for us in dying for our sins, and because it is part of believing faith in Jesus Christ. For, it is not we who do this in our flesh. This is the power of God at work within our lives in conforming us to the likeness of Christ, but we have to cooperate with that work. We have to submit to the Lordship of Christ and let him complete his work in us.
Philippians 1:7-8 ESV
It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.
As followers of Jesus Christ, and as his servants, we should serve one another in love, too. We should have a fond affection for one another, and we should care about one another’s needs, and we should be concerned for one another’s spiritual walks with Christ, too.
As well, we should be praying for one another, and we should be encouraging and building one another up in the faith, not with false compliments, and not in placating sin, but in urging and inspiring one another on in our walks of obedience to Christ and to his Word.
And, again, we are all to be partakers in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in death to sin and in living to righteousness, and also in suffering for our walks of faith and for sharing the gospel with others – the gospel which sets people free from their slavery to sin and does not leave them still bound in sin, doomed to hell, while promising them heaven when they die.
Philippians 1:9-11 ESV
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, it is not a one-time event in our lives and then we go on living our lives pretty much the same as we did before while holding on to the hope that we will go to heaven one day when we die.
Our faith, if it is genuine faith, is God-given and it is divinely persuaded as to God’s holiness and righteousness, and of God’s purpose in sending his Son to die on the cross for our sins. Thus, it submits to Jesus as Lord of our lives, and by the power of the Spirit now at work in our lives, it walks, too, according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh.
This faith that is of God and for God not only submits to his purposes, but it endures, it perseveres, and it continues to the very end. It keeps going and growing, being transformed of the Spirit of God to the likeness of Christ. And, as we grow in Christ and in his grace, and in his love, we also grow in our love for God and for our fellow humans, too.
But, this love is not human love. It is divine love which prefers what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, pure, honest and moral, too. Thus, it submits to Christ, and it walks in obedience to his commands. And, it is concerned about what God is concerned about, too, which is the salvation of human lives and their walks of obedience to our Lord.
And, this love values righteousness and holiness, and it shuns what is evil and is of the devil. And, it walks in purity in the knowledge of God and in his power and strength. For, if we truly love God, we will want to obey him. We will want to serve him with our lives. We will desire what he desires, and we will hate what he hates. And, this will be evidenced by the way that we live.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
*copyright status is public domain
Wednesday, July 10, 2019