Friday, 13 January 2017
Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Philippians 2:17
In the previous verses, Paul has asked for the Philippians obedience (vs. 12). He then said in verse 16, “so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.” With this in mind, he now explains what the result of this will be for him. The translation begins with “Yes,” however, the word in Greek is a strong adversative conjunction. It means, “but” as in “but instead,” or more literally “otherwise.” He is showing that a contrasting thought exists in him, but with which he is fully content as long as their obedience is realized.
This contrast is, “…if I am being poured out as a drink offering.” The word is spendó, and it means “to make a libation. It is a drink offering poured out which symbolizes total surrender, even to the point of death. It is use here and in 2 Timothy 4:6. The KJV unfortunately misses the metaphor here and simply calls it an “offering.” There are many types of offerings, even some that do not lead to death, but this one is specific. The Bible says that the life is in the blood. Therefore, to be poured out as a drink offering has a special meaning. Even if his life-blood is poured out, he will be content.
He then notes that this pouring out is “on the sacrifice and service of your faith.” In other words, if his work in leading them to the obedience mentioned above was effective, then his death would have meaning and purpose. There was obviously some sort of internal problem in the church at Philippi that was causing them to not be like-minded. In attempting to correct them, he gave them the example par-excellence of Christ in verses 2:5-2:11. This was then followed up by his call for obedience. It is this idea of harmony within the fellowship which he is especially directing his hopes towards.
Not only then had they been brought to the faith, but he was looking for obedience in “the sacrifice and service of” it. The word “sacrifice” is generally agreed by scholars to be referring not to the act of sacrificing, but to the thing sacrificed. They were to be (as he said to those in Rome) “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).
That they were living sacrifices would lead to the “service of your faith.” The two ideas are given here after the example of Christ of the previous verses. They have been given the pattern, and now they were being asked to follow in like-minded living. If they were to do so, the pouring of out Paul’s life-blood would be well worth it. His death would mean so little in comparison to their obedience that he says, “I am glad and rejoice with you all.”
As can be seen, proper conduct and living before the Lord was of such importance to him that his life would be considered well spent if this were to come about. And because his words are recorded in Scripture, each church that is likewise obedient today carries on the same great tradition of that which he would be well pleased with.
Life application: Someday we will stand before Jesus and give an account for our conduct in our lives, and in our dealings with our fellow congregants. Paul will be there as well, and the words “well done” from Jesus will surely bring a happy smile from him as well. We are to look to the New Testament epistles as our tools of instruction for proper church-age doctrine. Let us do so with hopes of bringing honor to the Lord Jesus.
Heavenly Father, remind us daily of the brevity of this life. Help us to keep all things in their proper perspective, and to live for the eternal, rather than the temporary. Each choice we make now has a bearing on what lies ahead. So please help us to not be consumed with what is passing away, but in that which shall be unto the ages of ages. Help us to fix our eyes on Jesus, and to carry Your word with us, being obedient to it so that we are found pleasing in Your sight. Amen.