Friday, July 02, 2021

2021.07.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Philippians 3:20–4:1

Read Philippians 3:20–4:1

Questions from the Scripture text: Where is our citizenship (Philippians 3:20)? What else is in heaven? For what are we eagerly waiting? Who is that Savior? What will He do to what (Philippians 3:21)? What will He make our body like? What is He using the same power to do? How many things is He subduing to Himself? What four things does the apostle call them in Philippians 4:1? What does he command them to do?

Life must be lived as an ally of the cross (cf. Philippians 3:18), which means not living for what our earthly flesh desires (Philippians 3:19), but rather for that for which our heavenly Redeemer has died.

It is this last bit upon which these three verses focus. Our heavenly Redeemer died so that we might live on earth in alliance with heaven. For, He has not remained dead. He has risen again, and He has ascended into heaven, and He will return again.

Jesus’s death has aimed at our resurrection: glorified bodies which perfectly holy souls employ as His subjects. And that is what our life must aim at in this world.

We are subjects. Citizenship has privileges—glorious privileges! That everlasting blessedness for which Christ has laid hold of us (cf. Philippians 3:12). But part of the delight of being His is the delight that He is the King of heaven, and that as citizens of heaven, we are therefore His subjects. A great part of the pleasure of a Christian in this life is to live as wholehearted, loyal, obedient, faithful subjects of King Jesus of heaven.

We have a Savior. He has not only saved us from the guilt of our sin, but He will ultimately save us from every remaining particle of its power and presence. Why isn’t our end destruction (cf. Philippians 3:19)? Because the One Who comes at last to destroy the wicked is presently destroying our wickedness. 

He has been our Savior at the cross. He is currently saving us in our sanctification (cf. Philippians 2:12–13). And we eagerly wait for Him to appear as the Savior who has come to complete our salvation by resurrection (Philippians 3:21). He is already working by resurrection power to subdue all believers to Himself (verse 21b).

The apostle again sets himself as an example. If we eagerly await the Lord Jesus as Savior, then we should love and long for those whom He is saving (Philippians 4:1a). They are our fellow citizen-subjects, but also our brethren in Christ. 

They ought to be a great joy to us, for they are not earthly but heavenly; the more that heavenly joys are our great joys, the more joy we will have in heaven’s citizens. 

And, to the extent that we can stir up one another to love and good works, our brethren in the Lord will be a crown for us. The most golden of earthly crowns has no more ultimate staying power than the quickly-withering laurel wreath that the Romans used to remind themselves how quickly it would vanish. But, when your crown is the work the Lord has done in your fellow believers, it will last forever.

This, then, is the key to standing fast. Stand fast in the Lord. Of Whom we are subjects. Who is our Savior. Past, present, and future.

How do you stay mindful that you are a subject of King Jesus? What are some choices that you have been making that might be improved by aiming at what Jesus is aiming at in your life? In whose spiritual growth are you participating, which will be for you a lasting crown?

Suggested songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song” or TPH384 “Lo What a Glorious Sight Appeared” 

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