Wednesday, 28 December 2016
Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, Philippians 2:1
This verse is necessarily tied to the upcoming verse. He makes four statements preparing us for a heartfelt petition. He begins with “Therefore” in order to show that his thoughts now are dependent on the words of the previous chapter, especially verses 27-29. Based on those things (therefore), he first says, “If there is any consolation in Christ.” The word is paráklēsis, and it indicates “a call (urging), done by someone ‘close beside,’ i.e. a personal exhortation that delivers the ‘evidence that stands up in God’s court’” (HELPS Word Studies). One can almost feel Paul’s intent. There is the Spirit of Christ, right there beside us, exhorting us and encouraging us.
Next, he says, “…if any comfort of love.” This is the comfort of love which is found in Christ. We are to understand the significance of His cross, and we are to feel surrounded by the love which it imparts to us. This in turn is then passed on between believers in Christ who, hopefully, will have the same love towards one another because of Christ’s love which sets the example.
After that comes, “…if any fellowship of the Spirit.” This is speaking of the intimate bond between the Spirit and us. It is the comfort we have knowing of His presence. It is the rejoicing in Him for Christ’s deeds on our behalf, and the anticipation of eternal intimacy because of what He has done. It is the reconnection to God which was lost at the fall, and which says that we are once again sons of God through adoption. These things, and so much more, are realized through the work of Christ, and the Spirit testifies to them.
And he then states, “…if any affection and mercy.” These are traits that are to be found among believers. Christ showed these to us, and we are to turn and have them in us now as well.
Each of these clauses is given in order for Paul to next make his heartfelt petition to them. In like manner, we are to use this same thought process as we encounter similar circumstances in our own Christian lives.
Life application: Paul asked “if” in each of these cases, implying that it is the way it should be with us. We are not to be devoid of the things he has asked about, but rather we are to have them as a part of who we are in Christ.
Lord God, You are more than glorious! It is beyond imagination that You stepped out of Your infinite realm and united with flesh in order to redeem us. And it was in the most remarkable way of all. Instead of forcing Your will upon us, You came to serve and offer first. Help us to share this marvelous message that You love us enough to come in such a humble and caring way. Thank You, Lord God, for Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.