Friday, 27 January 2017
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. Philippians 3:1
Paul begins chapter 3 with “Finally.” Rather than, “to sum up,” the word indicates “something remaining,” and so this begins the last major section of the letter. In it, he will provide warnings against various ills that he is sure they will face. He will speak against the teachings of the Judaizers, he will speak against those who live for this world rather than setting their minds on that which pertains to our heavenly position, and he will warn against factions and divisions within the body. These, along with other words of admonition and encouragement, are to be a part of this “Finally” which is now given.
Next he notes “my brethren.” He is speaking to those who are united as one in the family of Christ. It is those who have received Him who are as his own brothers in the faith. To these, he again reminds them to “rejoice in the Lord.” It is a reminder that they are, in fact, “in the Lord.” He has saved them, and so no matter what occurs, they should look to the glory ahead as a means of enduring whatever trials now exist. In Christ, there is a hope which transcends all earthly troubles, and so he asks them to be joyful in that fact.
His next words form a new thought, and are not logically tied to “rejoice in the Lord.” He says, “For me to write the same things to you is not tedious.” It is uncertain what exactly he is referring to. It could be another letter, or letters, he wrote to them. It could be what he has told them while with them. Or, it could be what he has said already in this letter, and which he will say again in this “Finally” section.
What is important is that whatever he is referring to specifically, it is not a burdensome thing to repeat himself. Rather, he notes that “for you it is safe.” In other words, the repetition will instill in them the importance of his instruction. If someone reads the Bible only once, they will have a very general view of its significance. But for the one who reads it again and again, it will continue to have more and more importance. The warnings will call out more notably; the grace will be more evident; the glory will radiate out more fully. Paul is instilling in them the same words so that they will remember what he has said and be more likely to apply them to their (and thus also we to our) lives. For his audience, this is a safe measure.
Life application: Doctrine matters. The more we look into the word of God, the more fully we will understand matters of doctrine, and the more likely we will be to apply them to our lives. But we must come to it as the word of God which is to be reverenced. For those who read the Bible with the view that it is not the word of God, the warnings and admonitions will harden, not soften their hearts. Let us be wise in our pursuit of this magnificent, superior word.
Glorious heavenly Father, You have given us the greatest treasure in Your wonderful word. It is a light and a beacon to guide us in our daily walk. It is a roadmap to a place of peaceful rest. It is a sword which defends against immorality and wickedness. It is a rule and guide for honest, sincere, and holy living. Thank You, O God, for this marvelous and superior word which You have given to us. Amen.