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The Ideal and the Energy of the Christian Life

The Ideal and the Energy of the Christian Life

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PHIL. 2:12-13

PHIL. 2:12-13

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 21, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE IDEAL AD THE EERGY OF THE CHRISTIA LIFEBY W. G. JORDA, B.A., D.D.PHIL. 2:12-13Having shown that the life of the Christ, intime and eternity, is a manifestation of the self-sacrifice of God for the redemption of men andhaving declared that, in all realms of life, thedivinity of this sacrifice shall be acknowledged andadored, Paul in his usual manner brings the mostmagnificent passage in this letter to bear uponthe present life of the Christian community. Itis at such points that we see clearly the fact thatthe apostle is writing more as a preacher than asa theologian. As Jesus stooped from the highestplace to be the servant of all, so Christian truthmust come from its loftiest heights to ministerto the lowly life. Paul was a keen thinker, andas competent as most men to investigate the truthin its varied relations. Let us be thankful formen, who, in a reverent spirit, grapple with thehardest questions, but let us also be thankful thatwe can nourish our souls on the great truths thatcluster around the life of Christ without waitingfor the full and final settlement of such questions. Paul did not lack interest in the intellectual"5n6 THE PHILIPPIA GOSPELside of the truth, but as the preacher of a newfaith, his chief concern was to win loyal and consistent converts. The living in union with theChrist is valued more than the correct theory con
cerning the person of Christ. His love for theChrist and his care for the converts move towardthe same end, the building up of a community, inwhich men shall enjoy in their own hearts, andmanifest toward each other, this new sense of strength and fellowship. "Beloved" expresses realaffection satisfaction and hope; it shows theteacher s yearning sympathy over men whom heexpects to "live as sons of God in the midst of acrooked and perverse generation."THE TACT OF A TRUE TEACHER When we have made all allowance for expansive-ness and richness of expression, we recognise inPaul s commendations the sympathetic tact of aman who possessed in the highest degree theteaching gift. Even where he is compelled toreprove, he begins by saying all he can to cheerand encourage men engaged in a severe struggle.The battle of life is hard enough without needlessbitterness on the part of the teacher. The manwho loves his subject and has a keen sense of itsmajestic power will have sympathy with thosewhose vision is dim and whose will is still weak.In the case of the Philippians, Paul had found agenuine interest, a quick responsiveness, a readyobedience to the word of God. This he acknowledges in appealing for a fuller acceptance andappropriation of the truth. The power of hisTHE CHRISTIA LIFE 117personality was great, and his presence or absencedid make a great difference; under the shelter of his presence many souls found that faith was easierand worship more joyful. This must always bethe case; the strong man with clear thought and
impetuous emotion must have a powerful legitimate influence. But the man who cherishes thetrue Christian ideal is anxious to avoid the dangerof having men clinging to him, and depending onhim, in a way that will hinder their own life. Hesays, "ot that we have lordship over your faith,but are helpers of your joy; for by faith ye stand."(Cor. I, 24.) That is, "You stand by your ownfaith, not by mine." The very nature of thereligion that the apostle had taught, as well asloyalty to himself as their friend and helper,demanded from these disciples the attempt tounderstand more fully and live more consistentlythe great Christian principles. He would gladlyhave been present with them to impart unto themsome spiritual gift. To long for meeting andfellowship on both sides was quite natural, butwhen once men have received the vision of Christand an intelligent conception of the meaning of the Christian faith their growth is not dependentupon the actual presence of any priest or preacher.THE IDEPEDECE OF THE CHRISTIA LIFESince he has had proof of their response to thepreaching of the gospel he can exhort them tocarry forward the work begun, that is, to be trueto the inner God-given life, and work together inharmony for the strengthening of the Christiann8 THE PHILIPPIA GOSPELcommunity. If Paul is absent God is present withthem, working in and through them for His goodpleasure. This does not mean that teachers canbe dispensed with, or that there should be anyunnatural striving after independence and originality. We grow to independence and individ

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