Thursday

But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation so that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself. (vs 20-21)

Philippians 3:17 – 4:3 Thursday 12 August 2021

Psalm 37:30-40

Background

We continue to study the letter written by the apostle Paul to the Philippians. Philippi was a Greek city but it was part of the Roman empire. The study passage is preceded by Paul encouraging his readers to strive for the prize which is God’s call on their lives. It is followed by various exhortations.

 The reference in verse 18 to the 'enemies of the cross of Christ' may refer to those who follow Christ but think that they can do as they please because they are not under the law but under grace. They do not worship the true God, but are focused only on earthly things. The reference to 'citizenship' in verse 20 would have resonated with Paul’s readers. Even though they lived in Greece, they were Roman citizens. The word 'heaven' does not refer to some other-worldly place. In the same way that a Roman citizen is loyal to Rome, a citizen of heaven is loyal to Christ, the one who can transform, and we live subject to Christ, though not in a way that is authoritarian. And because those who live contrary to Christ’s teaching may be a negative influence, Paul encourages the Philippians to “stand firm in the Lord”. Euodia and Syntyche were two loyal women who seem to have got themselves into a quarrel. It is not clear who exactly Clement was, other than that he was one of Paul’s coworkers.

 

To Ponder:

  • In verse 19 Paul says “their god is their belly”; in other words, a kind of instant gratification. What are some of the examples of instant gratification in contemporary society?
  • The concept of 'transformation' has become something of a buzz word. What is your understanding of transformation as used in verse 20 and what in your life needs transformation?
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