Sunday, February 19, 2012

From Participation to Purity (Philippians 1:3-11)

“…because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And 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… for you are all partakers with me of grace, …that your love may abound more and more, …and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ”

Paul’s prayer for the Philippians is such a rich passage. It is full of a deep understanding of the Gospel that is too often overlooked or ignored today.

When we have narrowed the Gospel message down to its simplest possible interpretation—a “get out of jail free” idea that is not really Biblical—the phrase “your participation in the gospel” sounds strange. That phrase should make us realize that the Gospel is so much more than a prayer or even a decision. We are participating in a story, an ongoing action.

The very next phrase reminds us of the other side of this gospel-coin. We are participants, but it is God who orchestrates and directs the story. We can trust His plan and direction. We can trust His grace that has been given to us and that we are sustained by as we cooperate with God in life, action and the decisions we make.

That is where the love of God comes into play. We live life guided, not by religious rules or what some human leader tells us to do, but by what the love of God would have us do. In that sense, our participation and even our completion in the Gospel is secure and up to God, but we still desire to work towards ever improving our lives and choices. We want to be pure and blameless and do not settle for the technical/positional sort of purity.

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