A Fresh Look
This text begins with a statement of Paul’s confidence in God. Think of it like this. God doesn’t accept penitent, obedient believers into His family, then keep them from their eternal destination. Peter said to Christians – we have tasted that God is good (1 Pet. 2:3).
God doesn’t – by His Grace – get people out of sin and get them started on the right course, then not complete the work. Paul gives assurance of this (verse 6): “…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.”
Start right by obeying the gospel. Once out of sin, live in and with Christ and God will see you through the work to the destination. Take heart in that. It is a guarantee to the faithful. You can count on this beyond any promises that you ever hear. John said “this is the confidence” and he said to God’s faithful, “we know that when He appears we shall be like Him…,” (1 John 3:2).
Paul writes of this same confidence to the faithful in Philippi: “It is right for me to feel this way about you, 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.”
Paul was certain – these are the kind of people God loves and helps and keeps. The Christians at Philippi were with Paul, partakers with him, and identified with him. Thus, Paul said, “it is right for me to feel this way about you.”
It gets personal in verse 8: “For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.” God knew how close Paul was to the Christians in Philippi. It was more than passing acquaintance. He longed for them, yearning with the affection of Jesus Christ.
For the Philippians, Paul prayed: “…that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment.” Observe three things to be combined in the life of every Christian: Love, Knowledge & Discernment.
Love alone, without good direction, will not serve us well or bring us closer to God. Knowledge, without love and discernment, can easily become a basis for inordinate pride. Discernment, without love and knowledge, becomes competitive and judgmental. All three are essential – love, driven by knowledge and checked by discernment.
“So that you may approve what is excellent, and so, be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” Having love in good proportion with knowledge and discernment prepares the Christian for a good experience in “the day of Christ.” And, while here on earth, fills you “with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
This passage is rich in assurance and encouragement from a faithful God.