(30 verses, 3:20 to read)
What I am about to READ:
- Paul explains how the Philippians ought to humbly treat their brothers in Christ.
- 1-5: Have the mind of Christ among yourselves.
- 6-8: The humiliation of Christ.
- 9-11: The exaltation of Christ.
- 12-18: God works in you to shine as lights in the world.
- 19-24: Timothy
- 25-30: Epaphroditus
- Saints in Philippi…humble yourselves! Paul reminds the Philippians to humble themselves before God, which results in having the same mind, the same love, being in full accord and of one mind (v. 2). This unity of the brethren is the result of faith in Christ Jesus. Thus, as saints in Jesus Christ, we ought to place our brothers above ourselves. We should willingly take on the role of a servant, just as Christ came not to be served, but to serve and give His life as ransom for many (Matt. 20:28). Jesus is the example to follow (vv. 6-11).
- The example of Christ laid out in verses 6-11 provides us with a clear doctrinal statement (sedes doctrinae) for Christ’s states of humiliation and exaltation. Just a brief explanation of these two states can be given here. In His state of humiliation Jesus and did not always or fully use His divine powers, although He most certainly possessed them. In this state He voluntarily humbled Himself, suffered, and died to redeem us lost and condemned sinners. In His state of exaltation Jesus now fully and always uses His divine powers. Both states are necessary for man’s salvation. (This brief explanation was taken from the synodical explanation of Luther’s Small Catechism.)
- Verse 12: “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Paul is not teaching works-righteousness! We need to be careful not to tear this out of context; we must also read verse 13. The point is this: if we separate ourselves from Christ’s word and sacraments, we’re in grave danger of falling away. Therefore, we need to be alert and continue to battle against sin and the devil by continuing to receive His grace through His instituted means. This is what it means to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
- Praise God that He continues to come to us, bringing us forgiveness, life and salvation through His means of grace. Being strengthened by Christ, faith holds fast to the word of life (v.16), confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord (v. 11), and humbly serves others (vv. 3-4).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, forgive me for placing my own interests above the interests of others. Strengthen me through Your word, and grant me humility before You and my brothers sisters in Christ. By Christ’s example, teach me true humility and service, that I may walk in Your ways to the glory of Your holy name. Amen.
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Pastor Kevin Zellers, Jr.