Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
He was most anxious that they should be united in eager zeal for the spread of the gospel, and present a bold front to their persecutors. Men call the courage of the saints obstinacy, and reckon them to be hardened heretics; but such boldness is to believers a token of divine favour.
It would cheer the Philippian saints to remember that they suffered in good company, and were comrades with the apostle himself. Glad enough may we be to be ridiculed for Jesus sake, since we are thereby made partakers with the noble army of martyrs.
How urgently he pleads! How he multiplies expressions! Love among Christians is so precious that he begs for it as if for his life. Be it ours never to fan the flames of party-feeling, but always to increase the holy affection of our Christian brethren.
Jesus is the divine example of love and self-denial, and as we hope to be saved by him we must diligently copy him. He is now exalted to the highest glory as the reward of his voluntary humiliation, and by the same means must his disciples rise to honour. We must stoop to conquer. He who is willing to be nothing shall be possessor of all things.
We work out what the Lord works in. The grace of God is not a reason for idleness, but for diligence. As both will and work are given us of God, let us will with firm resolution and work with dauntless perseverance; for so shall we fulfil the good pleasure of the Lord.
We cannot be blameless if we murmur and dispute, for such things naturally lead to sin. Our lights cannot shine if instead of trimming them we occupy ourselves with blowing out the lamps of others.
We do not wish to rob faithful ministers of the result of their labours, and yet we shall do so unless we join heartily with our brethren in spreading the gospel, and do our best to live in holiness and Christian love.
Stand fast in the Lord.”
He pleads with these two good women to end their differences. The worst results may arise from a quarrel, even when there are only two engaged in it, and those two are women.
We cannot have too much holy rejoicing; we are to joy and re-joy, and then to rejoice again. See that this be done in this house all day long. Alas, none can truly rejoice but those who are in the Lord! Are we all in him?
Be not careful, but prayerful. Prayer is the cure for care.
Here is a mass of matter for thought. Take each word and study it, and then put it in practice. Every member of the family should learn this verse by heart; it is much in little, a catalogue of the practical virtues.
Paul knew how to be poor, but he did not know how to be ungrateful. True ministers will work for the Lord, however badly their people may support them, yet it is well to treat them generously, and win their gratitude, for their Master is pleased when his servants are kindly used for his sake. Is there any deed of love which we can do for our pastor?
This is a grand assurance. God is the giver, his infinite glory is the store, Jesus is the channel, and the supply knows no limit. What more can the most expanded desires wish for? This promissory note from the Bank of Faith makes all believers rich beyond a miser’s dream.
Thus with an affectionate wish this fragrant letter of love comes to its close. May more of the tender spirit which it breathes be found in each one of us.