Faith in  Christ   leads to action

 

Jesus Our Lord and the Model for Us

 page 3 of 14

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a servant and suffered to benefit humankind. Since Christ was obedient to the point of death, we must be willing to suffer for him. This is stated clearly in the verses leading up to the passage under study. “For he [God] has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well—since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have” (Phil 1:29-30 NRSV). By referring to his own struggles and sufferings, Paul is aligning himself with the sufferings of Christ as Paul does in other letters. Such suffering is for the cause of Christ. Having the mind of Christ is explicated as “Paul presents himself in Philippians 3:2-16 as a further exemplification of what it means to think with the mindset that belongs to the believer in Christ.”[1]


           Other terms of special significance relate to Paul addressing residents of Philippi, a Roman colony. He transforms terms and phrases into a special meaning that would be clearly understood by these residents as elevating their earthly existence to a holy life in Christ. “By reading Philippians in the light of the Roman character of Philippi and the importance of the imperial cult in this city, we gain an appreciation for the significance of Paul’s report of his witness to the ‘whole palace guard’ while in chains (1:12-13; 4:22), his references to our heavenly ‘citizenship’ (1:27; 3:20), his description of external opposition to the faith (1:28-30), his use of the titles of the emperor (‘Lord’ and ‘Savior’) for Christ (2:11; 3:20-21), his sorrow over those who have abandoned their faith because of the pressures of their surrounding culture (3:18-19), and his promise, not of a Pax Romana, but of the ‘peace of God’ to guard the believers in Christ (4:7).”[2] Paul was skilled at transforming well-known terms and phrases into concepts that would build up the faith of the recipients of his letter. Thus, Paul challenged


[1] David A. deSilva, An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods & Ministry Formation (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2004), 648.
[2] G. Walter Hansen, The Letter to the Philippians, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009), 3.

Act_17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.