Tuesday in the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

Philippians 3:17-4:1

We Need People to Imitate

Paul now turns his attention back to the Philippians.  As one who presses toward “the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” he counsels these Philippians to imitate him.  This is not arrogance on Paul’s part.  Living almost two-thousand years after these early believers, we take much for granted.  They had no New Testament yet, but only a few letters from the apostles.  It is questionable that even one of the gospels had been written when Paul was martyred.  Though some of the believers in the churches would have been Jews and so knew the Old Testament, many believers had come out of pagan lifestyles, totally at odds with Christianity.  Yes, they were born of the Spirit and indwelt by him, but they still needed flesh and blood witnesses—godly men and women who could embody for them Christian living.  So, Paul points not only to himself but to others they might imitate, which reminds us of one of the purposes of the church—to provide godly examples which all may observe and emulate.  And this begs the question: Am I being that godly example a young person might follow?

Paul then turns to those who walk as enemies of the cross of Christ, and that with tears.  Are these the Judaizers who put their faith in circumcision and legal requirements?  Are they the antinomians (Nicolaitans in Revelation) who pervert the grace of Christ into licentiousness?  We don’t know.  At any rate, we ourselves know that there are enemies of the cross of Christ—and what’s more, they often think they are friends of Christ—championing immorality, gluttony, indulgence, passion, and licentiousness.  Paul rightly describes them: “Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”  These are the contemporary peddlers of the worldly gospel of tolerance and inclusion, by which terms they mean assimilation into their own pagan lifestyles.  Do not be fooled. 

Instead, the Christian enjoys a heavenly citizenship from which we await our Savior.  And having pressed on for the goal, we shall finally receive the prize of the heavenly body—not like the corruptible body we now have subject to temptation and weakness, but the glorious one Christ put on in his resurrection.  Then we shall have attained the perfection for which we strive, then shall all things be completely subject unto him.

And so with the promise that our pressing on shall one day reach its goal, let us stand firm in the Lord embracing the promise.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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