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Because of the glorious Lord Jesus Christ, true life now—and eternal life forever—is yours to know and enjoy. What the Scripture reveals about Him is worth more than all knowledge, all riches, and all happiness in this world.
Ever since the Fall, to live under God’s authority and by His Word in a fallen world has meant opposition. All of humanity and the system it inhabits are held firmly in the lap of Satan himself (1 Jn. 5:19). He is the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4— “world” encompasses both the fallen world system, which is what the Bible means when it uses world in a negative sense, and the present cursed age which will end at the Glorious Appearing; Matt. 24:3, 14; cf. Gal. 1:4). Satan has an unusual measure of authority in his fallen world, and especially so now that “the end of the ages have come” (1 Cor. 10:11). Just as Satan will have great anger and wrath in the Tribulation—which will be the instrument of God’s wrath against a fallen world—“because his time is short” (Rev. 12:12), so also in our eschatological age, which began with the ascension of the Lord Christ to the Father’s right hand as anointed and ruling King, Satan demonstrates great opposition to God, His people, and His ways. Christ has broken into his system and limited his power at the cross, and he hates it. He knows his time is short because the promised Deliverer has come and has begun to reverse the Curse and the effects of the Fall. And Satan knows that this will only continue until the millennial rule bursts onto the scene at the end of the Tribulation, and he will be bound for the entire time, unable to deceive the nations any longer (Rev. 20:3). Read more
Often throughout this series we have heard that the theme of the book of Philippians is joy. This is true. However, as we get to this section in the book, we realize that the joy of which Philippians speaks is an implication of the gospel. Everything Paul writes in this letter is in some way an implication of the gospel. Mike Riccardi writes, “Philippians is about the implications of the gospel—what sort of practical effect the realities and truths of the gospel should have on the lives of believers.” Verse 27 indicates a transition in the overall flow of the book. It features the first imperative Paul uses in the book and begins the main argument: Believers ought to live lives worthy of the gospel and strive together for the faith of the gospel—and the rest of the book (indeed, the rest of the New Testament) shows what that kind of believer believes and how he lives. Read more
The Christian life at one level is a series of paradoxes. We are regenerate people yet carry the vestiges of our fallen humanness. We have the life and rule of heaven with us, yet reside in a cursed world. We have the ear of the God of the universe and can accomplish great things with Him through prayer, yet we are considered the off-scouring of the world and look impotent compared to the wealthy and powerful of this age. Given these realities, it should make sense that perhaps the ultimate paradox is between life and death. Paul, as our chief model who is not the incarnate Lord Jesus, exemplifies this tension in Philippians 1:22-26. In these verses, Paul elaborates on his seminal statement in verse 21 that to live is Christ and to die is gain. Given this, he is torn between two equally attractive, equally beneficial options. If he had a choice, which would he choose? We will explore the options and their unique blessings in this reflection. Read more
What is your overall vision of life and its purpose? For the true Christian, it is rooted in a desire for “Christ…[to] be exalted in [your] body, whether by life or by death” (Phil. 1:20). Paul was wrapped up in a desire to use every area of his life to exalt, serve, glorify, and make known the matchless, majestic God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice in the context this verse is a statement of sheer coincidence—Paul is assured this magnification of our Lord will take place. But isn’t this a big job? How can a frail, fallen man—one confined to prison, no less—do something like this? Read more
Philippians is a book of joy. Indeed, if the essence of the Christian life is proper delight in God based upon His revealed truth, then the whole book is perfect for helping us understand how to follow Christ in a cursed world. Moreover, given the rampant fleshliness and spiritual deception in our day, knowing what is genuine, supernatural, God-blessed, Bible Christianity is imperative for our spiritual salvation, fruitfulness, and the transformation of those we love. God’s work in the world progresses and pivots upon the entirety of revealed truth, and it is only hindered, short-circuited, and undercut by false teaching. The relationship between true joy in God and His ways and true Christianity is set forth beautifully in this section. It can be broken into the following four points. Read more