Monday, October 31, 2005

To Live is Christ....

Yesterday we started studying Philippians in Sunday School. I love Philippians; I think at various times in my life I've memorized at least 1/2 the book -- so many treasures! Today I was thinking about 1:6, "Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." I find that amazingly comforting on days when I find myself tripping all over myself in sin. I'm not a hopeless case! Because Christ is risen and reigns in heaven, and I am united to him, he WILL complete what he started in me.

Another treasure: "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain" (1:21). Sounds nice and sweet, and is comforting when we are on the verge of death -- we're actually passing from death into life. But when you really think about what it means that "to live is Christ," we're signing up for a lot of suffering. That was the nature of Christ's life; glory didn't come until the ascension, which means that it was after a life of being ridiculed and misunderstood, abandoned by your friends, and brutally murdered for people who claimed your Father's name. THAT's what it means to "live Christ."

Philippians 2:12-13, "Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and act according to his good purpose." The perfect explanation of whether it is God who completes our salvation, or whether we do it. As Clair Davis would say, "Yes." We give it 100% of our effort, and God does 100% of the work. But remember, our confidence is that HE will complete what he began, ultimately.

Finally, the beautiful hymn of Phil 2:5-11. I've been thinking lately, some day I'd like to write a book about Paul's statement that Christ's power is perfected in our weakness. There are so many examples of this in Scripture, but this is the ultimate. He humbled himself, emptied himself, became a servant, obeyed to the death; therefore God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name.

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.


Anonymous said...

You should write a QT book. Good stuff miss.

Anonymous said...

Weakness, suffering, what a living demonstration Alfred and I have the privilege of sharing in this week in Bangalore, India, with representatives from 10 Asian countries. Weakness and suffering but it's the irresistable movement of God's people; who because of the grace that empowers them will not, can not stop, be defeated; they are propelled to glorify Christ and expand His kingdom. A man from Cambodia, who lost his family in the killing fields, testifes that Christ has turned the Killing Fields into the Living Fields. The percentage of Christians in the population has risen from 5% to 22% in the last 14 years as a result of the house church movement! Headhunters 30 years ago are training and sending out missionaries to very difficult areas. There is a glory represented here that transcends, can't be explained apart from the reality of the Living God. How do you explain such a love for Christ in the hearts of such humble people, across so many diverse situations, with no worldly movitation or gain, so weak, so humble, apart from the truth of it? Anyway, I know I'm approaching incoherence, so I'll close. Rich M.