Thursday, August 14, 2008
Pauls Prayer in Philippians 1:9-11
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Philippians's 1:9-11 ESV
Paul prays that the Philippians church would have more and more love (v.9). Without a doubt Paul wants the Philippian church to "love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deut 6:5)" He also is probably thinking that the love, that he prays they will have more of, will increase their love of their neighbor. Love for God and love for neighbor summarize the moral law. As God gives us more and more love we begin to relate to God and others differently. Thus, Paul prays that the Philippians would be more abounding in their love. However, the Love that is true and from above contains "knowledge and discernment." Biblical love is not love that is mere sentimentality. Biblical love is a seeker for the true and excellent. Paul wants the Philippians to have a biblical love that gives the Philippians the ability to "approve what is excellent." As Christians we need this love to spur us on toward genuine care for one another and care for what is true and excellent. Biblical Love gives us a heart that seeks to magnify God in all our actions. Biblical love will ignite our heart to love what God loves and thus the love that Paul prays for is an aspect of sanctifying grace. It is not something created in our heart but rather created by God for his people and placed in our heart. This sanctifying grace will work in us so as for us to "be blameless for the day of Christ." This passage is not saying that we will be perfect followers of the law but rather that "approving what is excellent" will be indicative of the believer. The biblical love that is given to us, and the fruits of that love, come "through Jesus Christ." Without the death, burial, resurrection and persistent continual intercession of Christ for us sinners, no aspect of our sanctification could come to pass. It is my hope that I will pray for others like Paul. May God pour out upon his people love that will abound more and more... to the glory and praise of God.
Written by Stephen Stanford