Exhortation to Imitate Paul
fact that in him alone do we see the resurrection life of Christ interpreted in terms of present conduct. Christ's earthly life needs no such interpretation, so none of the other apostles are models in this sense even for the Circumcision.
18 The enemies of the cross of Christ are those who, failing to apprehend the significance of His shameful death, still cling to the terrestrial and the physical. The cross of Christ brings before us the manner of His death. It was an ignominious, shameful, malefactor's death, to which God's curse was attached. Hence we may avail ourselves of the efficacy of His blood, and yet, by clinging to the world and the flesh, become enemies of His cross.
20 Our citizenship, or enfranchisement, in contrast to that of Israel, is in the heavens. We have no political privileges where the sovereignty of our Lord has been rejected. But we have high hopes both politically and physically. We shall reign with Christ in the celestial spheres. And this body of humiliation will be transfigured to conform to His glorious body. He is coming as a Saviour.
21 Here we have the definite assurance of His ability to subordinate the entire universe. This will not be accomplished until the consummation (lCor.15:24-28) .
5 The Lord is always near when men are high handed with us. It is not our place to retaliate but to be lenient and considerate, for He is near and will take care of our interests.
6 Worry kills more men than war. To get beyond its reach is one of the most precious privileges of all who belong to Christ. There is no promise here that our prayers will be answered, or that, if several agree, they shall have their request. It goes far deeper than that. The knowledge that God is guiding all things to the goal He has set before Him, unhindered by the stress and storm which so distresses us, leads us to wonder whether our own petitions are in line with His will, and whether it is better to leave all with Him, confident that He will grant that only good which we crave but do not apprehend. We enter into His peace and acquiesce in His will whether our prayer be answered or not.
THE PHILPPIANS' CARE OF PAUL
10 The Philippians seem to have had Paul constantly on their hearts though circumstances, at times, kept them from contributing to his needs.
PAUL'S COMPLACENCY IN WANT
11 It is blessed for the believer to recognize the fact that his environment and his condition are all of God, Who is using them for his welfare. Wealth or want, opulence or poverty are alike means for our blessing. There is no real contentment apart from this.
PAUL'S STRENGTH IN CHRIST
13 What encouragement there is in this brief word! Nothing is too great for those who know their own weakness and the invigorating power of Christ.
THE PHILIPPIANS' CONTRIBUTION
14 The gift of the Philippian ecclesia is especially precious because of the memories it awakens in Paul's mind. They alone came to his aid at the first, and then helped him even in Thessalonica, among his friends. Their contribution, being a token of their heartfelt appreciation and love, not only meets his need, but ascends, like the sacrifice of old, redolent with the perfume which speaks of the sacrifice of Christ. In return he reminds them of the glory that Christ has brought to God and that they, in Him, shall have all their needs supplied according to God's estimate of His work.
19 While God does not fill all our wants, He supplies all our needs. Nor does He do this in accord with our service or deserts, but in harmony with the glory which has come to be His in Christ Jesus. Thus He ever deals with us, not as we are in ourselves, but as He sees us in Christ. This should assure our hearts of His continual care and provision notwithstanding appearances to the contrary. Paul was humbled at times, and hungry, yet this to him was an evidence of His care as well as the times of superabundance.
21 Every saint "in Christ Jesus" limits this greeting to those who know Christ, not after the flesh, but after the spirit.