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Shining as Stars August 14, 2012

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Philippians 2:12-18.

Summary: Paul begins by exhorting the Philippians, as they have obeyed God, to not only work out their salvation in his presence – they should do so in his absence, acting with a nervous and trembling anxiety to do what is right. Indeed, they should work out their salvation as it is actually God who works effectively in them, enabling them to first desire and then act according to His plan of salvation.

Paul then exhorts the Philippians to neither grumble nor entertain inner questionings. In this way they can be pure and sincere, as the faultless children of God in the midst of a wicked generation; they can appear like heavenly bodies and light up the universe – in a moral sense. Thus, on the day of judgment, he can assert that his “Christian training” yielded eternal benefits. Now even if he is to die, with his life being metaphorically poured out on the Philippians’ good works (as a libation on a heathen sacrifice) that stem from their being priests, he will congratulate them. Paul concludes by inferring that the Philippians should also rejoice and congratulate him.

Thoughts: In verse 15, we see that Paul exhorts the Philippians – in the midst of “a crooked and depraved generation” – to act in such a way that they will be found blameless on the day of judgment. This reminds me of a common refrain in the modern church – namely, that society’s moral standards continue to rapidly decline. While that may be the case, this verse reminds believers that the Roman Empire was far from a paragon of morality in the first century AD. Perhaps the HBO series Rome provides concrete examples of the galling behavior in Roman society that swirled around Paul when he wrote this letter, though this is just a hunch on my part. What I can assert is that since the time of the Fall, human societies have been morally bankrupt; thus, Paul exhorts Christians through all generations to stand up to depravity.

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