Saturday, 25 February 2017
The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9
Paul again calls attention to the need for following the example he has set down. He did this in verse 3:17, and now he continues to exhort this to his readers at Philippi (and thus us!) by saying, “The things which you learned and received.” These are the things he would have directly instructed them through this and any other epistle, and also anything they would have heard from him as personal instruction while he was with them. They are the things he received by revelation, and which he would then have instructed them, explaining that they are the words of the Lord. They learned from him, and they received it as under the authority he claimed.
He then says, “and heard and saw in me.” These are the things they would have noted about him personally. He gave instruction, but did he live in accord with the words he spoke? When a pastor instructs someone to avoid sexual sin, does he then go out and engage in sexual sin? Paul conformed his life to what he received from the Lord. Therefore, his words were conformed to what he instructed, and his actions conformed to that as well.
Because of this, he exhorts them by saying, “these do.” In essence, “As you have learned from me, as you have received from me by what I taught, as you have heard my words, and as you have watched my actions… all of these you are to likewise follow.” In doing this, there will be a reward. Compliance does not lead to a dull existence, but it generates a glorious relationship in that “the God of peace will be with you.”
There is an inversion here from the words of verse 4:7. There it said, “the peace of God.” Here it says, “the God of peace.” God left us His peace through Christ Jesus, but He did not leave us in the process. We have more than a simple token left behind; we have the Giver of the token dwelling among us and in us when we conduct our lives in accord with what He has revealed.
The opposite will then be true. If we fail to do follow in these things, we will have neither the peace of God to guide us, nor will we have the God of peace with us. Instead, we will have nothing but trials, anxieties, and frustrations on the one hand, and no fellowship to comfort us on the other. What a price to pay for being disobedient children!
Life application: If you want the peace of God, and the God of peace to guide you and be with you, then pay heed to His word in your life, apply His word to your life, and set your eyes on what lies ahead of this life. By living out the faith that you profess, the peace you seek from the God you seek will be yours.
Heavenly Father, You have promised that those who are in Christ, and who pay heed to Your word, will have a special blessing. You have said that You will not only grant Your peace to them, but You, the God of peace, will be with them. Help us then to hold fast to Your word, applying it to our lives, and living out the faith that we profess. This we pray to Your glory. Amen.