Monday, July 31, 2006

The Beauty of Philippians

Philippians 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
This thought is also expressed in Ephesians:
Ephesians 2:4-7 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
And in Colossians:
Colossians 3:1-4 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
We have been united in Christ’s death and resurrection as the following passage makes clear:
Romans 6:3-8 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
And we are now in the presence of God. Think about it, the Creator of the heavens and the earth and all that is in it, sits before you, what do you say? He is the king of kings and yet what were your actions this morning, were they worthy to be in the presence of God? What about your words, should they have been spoken in front of God? We are in the presence of the holy and just God. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne (Psalm 89:14), would we ever be worthy to stand in His presence? And the answer is, of course….yes! Because we stand, not in own righteousness but in the righteousness of Christ:
Philippians 3:8-11 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith- that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Notice the language of the passages that I’ve quoted in this post, these are all things that have happened, we are united with Christ now and we sit in the heavenlies now. No wonder Paul can say with confidence:
Philippians 1:6 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.
So, if you struggle, good! That shows that you want to serve a holy God. If you’ve tried and failed, turn to Christ, He lives to make intercession for those who draw near to God through Him (Hebrews 7:25). But rest assured that you are already perfect in Christ, you are already dead to sin. We are hidden and one day, who we are will be revealed. Don’t despair, don’t give up. Even though we struggle, we have hope because we have the knowledge of who we are. Keep reaching for that prize:
Philippians 3:12-16 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
As Paul says, “you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). Keep going, even when it feels impossible because He will complete the work that He began in us, He has promised. Praise be to God that He has made us worthy and that He has given us a citizenship in heaven and that He will reveal it when Jesus returns. Maranatha, come, Lord Jesus.

8 Comments:

  1. eph2810 said...
    Amen, Michele. Isn't it great to know that we can stand in front of His judgement seat and already be declared innocent :).
    What a powerful post :). Thank you so much for your participation this week.
    Blair said...
    Nice post Michelle! Freedom in Christ - it's powerful stuff indeed!
    Susan said...
    What a good thing to read first thing in the morning and to reflect on ALL day!

    Thanks Michele
    Chel said...
    That was a great lesson. You are clearly cut out for writing Bible studies.

    This was my first visit to your blog, but I will certainly be back (and not just because we both spell 'Michele' with only one 'l.') :)
    michele said...
    Thanks Chel, thanks for stopping by and commenting. And thanks for the encouragement.
    Gina said...
    Great thoughts. I have a similar theme going on my Carnival of Beauty on Philippians!
    e-Mom said...
    A really nice collection of
    Scriptures. There's nothing like the power of the Word to encourage and instruct.

    Maybe you should copy and past this study over in Carrie's comments. Some of those dear folk might be interested! (How about a condensed excerpt?)
    Jennifer said...
    I'll be thinking about this a while. Thanks.

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