Philippians 1:9-11 ESV
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
I was reading back over what I wrote on this passage of Scripture a year ago, and I believe it is worth repeating some of it here, so I am going to repeat the first three paragraphs:
I don’t think I have ever looked up the word “prayer” before, but I felt impressed to do that today. In the Greek Interlinear I read that prayer is literally “to interact with the Lord by switching human wishes (ideas) for His wishes as He imparts faith (divine persuasion).” So, “prayer is closely inter-connected with faith in the New Testament.”
[Ac 6:5,6; Ac 14:22,23; Eph 6:16-18; Col 1:3,4; 2 Thes 3:1,2; Js 5:13-15]
I like that definition. It makes sense. Prayer is not making a wish list for ourselves. It is not like writing a letter to Santa Claus (who does not exist in real life, and who is created in the image of Satan, not of God) with a list of all the things (toys, gadgets) we want for ourselves. And God is not a genie in the sky there to grant our every request (desire), either.
Prayer has to involve seeking out God’s will and his purposes and yielding to his will, too. And this is evidenced by what Paul prayed for. He didn’t pray, “Lord ‘gimme’ this and ‘gimme’ that.” He prayed unselfishly for the needs of others and according to the will of God. And he prayed in faith with the divine persuasion granted to him by the Lord. So, I pray that my prayers would reflect that, too, trading my desires for His with the faith he gives me.
Abounding in Love
God is love, and love comes from God, and this love prefers what God prefers, so this love is going to align itself with the love God has for us and with his divine character and will for our lives. And God is holy, righteous, honest, morally pure, faithful, and upright, and so when he loves us, he does not love us in such a way as to go against his holy character, so he will never approve of us continuing in deliberate and habitual sin.
For the love of God which sent Jesus Christ to die for us on that cross did so in order to see us set free from our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin and to see us now walking in holiness and righteousness to the glory of God. And since Jesus is the author and the perfecter of our faith, and faith is divine persuasion as to the will of God for our lives, and since faith is gifted to us by God, and it is not of our own doing, true faith will submit to God’s will.
So, when we love others with this love we will not willfully, deliberately, habitually and premeditatedly sin against others. That is not love! That is utter selfishness, and that is hate. We will not willfully and habitually do what we know is going to bring harm to others. Instead we will do for them what we know is for their good, and what will demonstrate to them the divine love and will of God for our lives and not what is centered in self.
So, if we are going to love others with this love we must first of all be walking in that love ourselves. We must be loving God first, and the Scriptures teach that to love God is to obey him. So we must be walking in obedience to our Lord and we must not be walking (in conduct, in practice) in sin. This is not saying that we won’t ever sin but that sin should not be our practice. We should no longer be under the control of sin.
So, if the love we have for others comes from God, and it agrees with God and with his divine character and will, and we continue to grow in that love, then we will be also growing in knowledge and in discernment with regard to how we are to love others. And please know that it is not loving to tell people that they can just pray a prayer and make a confession of faith in Jesus and now heaven is guaranteed them no matter how they live.
Other people might think you are loving them for you have just pronounced them saved for eternity and bound for heaven when they may not be. For the Scriptures are clear that we must walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. For if we walk according to the flesh, and if sin is our practice, and if righteousness, godliness, and obedience are not what we practice, we do not have eternal life with God in heaven, no matter what we professed with our lips.
[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:44; Jn 8:51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:10; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Co 6:9-10; 1 Co 10:1-22; 2 Co 5:10,15; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-24; Eph 5:3-11; Php 2:12-13; Col 3:5-10; 1 Pet 1:1-2; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 5:9; Heb 10:26-27; Heb 12:1-2; Jas 1:21-25; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Pure and Blameless
The goal of our salvation is not to “get saved” so that when we die we go to heaven. The goal of our salvation is to be delivered from our slavery to sin so that we will now walk in holiness and righteousness, to the glory of God, and so we will no longer live as slaves to sin but as slaves to God and to his righteousness. For Jesus died to transform us and to conform us to his likeness, not just to forgive our sins so we can go to heaven one day.
Heaven is the eternal destiny only to those obeying the Lord, in practice, and who are living righteous and holy lives, and who are no longer walking in sin, i.e. who are no longer deliberately and habitually sinning against the Lord. For faith, which comes from God, and is gifted to us by God, leads us to leave our lives of sin behind us and to follow our Lord in obedience to his commands (New Covenant). (See verses noted above)
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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