Friday, February 05, 2021

2021.02.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ Philippians 1:7–8

Read Philippians 1:7–8

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle say about his confidence from Philippians 1:6 (Philippians 1:7)? Of whom does he think this? Where does he have them? In what two things have they been partakers with him? Of what are they all partakers with him? Whom does the apostle call as witness for the statement of Philippians 1:8? How much does he long for them? With Whose affection?

The apostle’s rejoicing over the Philippians came from a love that was inescapable, both judiciously and organically.

As Paul had been imprisoned for the gospel, they counted this imprisonment a grace, and sympathized with him in it. As Paul had defended the gospel, they had counted the opportunity and duty to defend the gospel a grace, and had sympathized with him in it. As Paul had confirmed/attested to the gospel, they had counted this testifying a grace, and had sympathized with him in it. 

Each of these ideas is legal in nature, and the apostle adds to them another: it is “right” for me to think this of you all. The heart here is not just the seat of the emotions. When he says, “I have you in my heart,” it means that “in all of my thinking, feeling, and responding, I sense that you are right there with me.” It is similar to what we mean when we say, “I can’t get you out of my mind” (not that we are trying to, you understand). 

So, his rejoicing over them comes from a love that is judiciously inescapable. It’s just right. It would be weird and wrong if he did not think/feel this way about them.

But it is also organically inescapable. For, as the apostle said in Philippians 1:1, he is a bondslave of Jesus Christ; and, as he implies in Philippians 1:6, his belonging to Christ has him laser-focused upon the day of Jesus Christ. Now, he says that his love for the Philippians comes from the fact that the longing that is in himself is actually a longing that has its origin/source in Jesus Christ Himself.

The word that NKJV translates “affection” is a physical word for the viscera—especially the heart, lungs, and liver. We might say “the guts” of Jesus Christ, or even paraphrase it, “how greatly I long for you all with Jesus Christ’s own visceral love for you.”

This is an astonishing statement! It is a reminder that our Redeemer sits bodily on the throne of glory—that He has viscera at all. But it reminds us even more that it was in everlasting love that the second Person of the Godhead took to Himself a body and soul in the first place. His love for us has been marvelously, physically expressed from womb, to the cross, to the tomb. 

And even now, the apostle’s love for the Philippian church is almost as much physical as it is emotional. He longs for them with the innards of Jesus Christ! As he becomes more and more conformed to his Savior, whose mind and life are being imparted to him, it is even physically impossible for the apostle not to love them.

Oh, how Christians ought to love one another—and especially those whose lives God has intertwined by making them walk together in service of the gospel. Such love is judiciously inescapable (it’s just right) and organically inescapable (the necessary result of union with Christ and conformity to Christ)!

With whom has the Lord given you to walk in service of the gospel? How have you experienced and expressed inescapable Christian love to them? How else ought you to?

Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH409 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”

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