Saturday 04 October 2014

Bible Book:

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (vv. 12-13)

Philippians 2:12-18 Saturday 4 October 2014


Today's verses bring us down to earth - we perhaps needreminding that to the people of the time in which Paul was writingthe day of judgement was an imminent reality. Paul, having speltout in the hymn the obedience of Christ (Philippians 2:6-11), is calling the people towhom he is writing to be obedient, not to his personal authorityfor he is not with them, but the obedience is to be to the God whoworks in them.

For us living so long after the words were written, who haveread the predictions of the end times, and even over the centuriesseen other deadlines come and go, Paul's words might seem strangeand somewhat isolated from our own experience. There are not manypeople today who live in fear and trembling for their ownsalvation.

However, to the people to whom the letter is written, theexpectation is real, and Paul's warning that they must live asfaultless children of God, separating themselves from the "crookedand perverse generation" (v. 15) is an appropriate one as theywaited for the day of Christ's return. Paul reminds them that whenhe was in more frequent contact with them they were obedient to himand to what he desired them to do, but now though they must takeresponsibility for themselves and be obedient to God.

Aware of the possibility of his own imminent death Paul asksthat they would hold fast to the faith he taught them, so that whenthe time of judgement comes he can be credited with bringing themto God. He then asks them to be joyful for him despite thecircumstances he finds himself in, as he is joyful for them intheir faith.

To Ponder

  • In the light of the fact that the predictions of the secondcoming of Christ have not yet come to fruition, should Christianbelievers live as if each day could be their last? Why?
  • To what extent should Christian people separate themselves fromthe "crooked and perverse generation" (v. 15) in which we areliving today, or should we be breaking down the walls which divideus?
  • How would we respond if we were brought to judgement in the wayPaul thinks he will be? Would it be a positive or a negativeresponse?
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