17. THE POWER OF JOY IN THE PRISON OF PAIN IN PHIL. (part16)
PRAYER AND OUR PROVISION V.19-20
THE PROBABILITY OF DELIVERANCE V.20
INTENSE ANTICIPATION According to my earnest expectation
Earnest expectation according to the Greek English Dictionary denotes unreserved, uninhibited waiting. It’s literally anticipation with an uplifted head.
Lu 21:28 Jesus says: when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near. The etymology of this compound word is to. Look with an outstretched neck.
Rom. 8:19 for the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.
William Hendricksen writes this is yearning, looking forward to something with head erect.
IMPERISHABLE ADVOCACY and my hope,
Can we predict the future? Can we calculate what’s around the corner and support what is going to take place with no doubts in our expectation?
Inextinguishable hope is a concentrated, intense hope, which ignores other interests and strains forward with outstretched head, which was Paul’s attitude of heart.
This is not a hope in surrounding environmental or eco-friendly developments. Like I hope it doesn’t rain all week. Or I hope the gas prices don’t double in the next year. Or I hope Seattle wins the super bowl soon.
This is Biblical hope teeming with inevitability and inner conviction because God is God and has guaranteed the future.
INCREDIBLE APPROVAL that in nothing I shall be ashamed,
Shame and embarrassment are a terrible feeling to be harnessed with; but disgrace and dishonor are worse. It’s ugly to live with a haunt that we can’t be transparent because our past behavior will bring discredit and due to our former history our reputation will be smeared.
This muddy feeling and it’s deep roots need to be thoroughly dug out. It’s a pathetic dishonoring of what Christ has accomplished for us in substituting His life for all our sin.
It’s not our reputation that’s at stake. If we were all that credit worthy we wouldn’t have need of a Savior. We should never allow dishonor and disgrace to Jesus, which is what we do when we don’t appropriate His tender forgiveness.
It’s not our reputation we’re praying for but our longing is to see God honored through everything He allows in our life. We should live with a hope for the exalting credit to go to the good new of Christ.
THE POISE OF DELIVERANCE but that with all boldness
The opposite of being ashamed is unabashed boldness. Paul exercised himself to be void of offense to God and to man. But when we’re under the stress of pain and our conscience is cluttered with shadows of our past and stalkers of our reputation we can fade in courage.
This is not to say that we’re to get smothered in a denial of individual suffering in our own life. We do suffer; Jesus promised we would from the beginning of time.
Christ has settled all our accounts, once for all. There is a balance between a narcissistic presupposition with our humanness and the relationships we look for needs to be met in, and this allowing of Jesus to be our all.
Tullian Tchividjian writes “When our goal becomes conquering our sin instead of soaking in the conquest of our Savior, we actually begin to shrink spiritually.”
Sinclair Ferguson rightly pointed this out: “Those who have almost forgotten about their own spirituality because their focus is so exclusively on their union with Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished are those who are growing and exhibiting fruitfulness.
Historically speaking, whenever the piety of a particular group is focused on OUR spirituality, that piety will eventually exhaust itself on its own resources. Only where our piety forgets about our self and focuses on Jesus Christ will our piety [be] nourished by the ongoing resources the Spirit brings to us from the source of all true piety, our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The tragic irony in all of this is that when we focus so strongly on our need to get better, we actually get worse. We become even more neurotic and self-absorbed. Preoccupation with our guilt (instead of God’s grace) makes us increasingly self-centered and morbidly introspective. And what are our Original Sin if not a preoccupation with us?
What needs to be rooted out and attacked is not immoral behavior; it’s immoral belief— faith in my own moral and spiritual “progress,” rather than in the One who died to atone for my lack of progress.
Tchividjian, Tullian (2012-10-01). Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free (pp. 68-69)
Christ faced sordid accusations and sleazy allegations when He was arrested, tried and crucified as a criminal. Paul didn’t want to fall into a condition where his boldness and confidence evaporated in the heat of imprisonment and trial. Paul was asking that his every expression during his imprisonment would bring credit and honor to the beauty of Jesus.
“Christianity is not first and foremost about our behavior, our obedience, our response, and our daily victory over sin. It is first and foremost about Jesus! It is about His person; His substitutionary work; His incarnation, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and promised return. We are justified— and sanctified— by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone. Even now, the banner under which Christians live reads, “It is finished.” Everything we need, and everything we look for in things smaller than Jesus, is already ours in Christ.” Ibid
THE PURPOSE OF DELIVERANCE so now also Christ shall be
magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
J.M. Boice writes, “The Bible is free of error and God has chosen to honor it as he will honor no human words. But God does not dwell in the Bible. God is only magnified as he enters into the life of believers through the Bible and forms their lives in accordance with its principles.”
J.B. Stony wrote “Our Father has a different line of things for everyone, and each of us has been sent into this world for His special mission. It is not a question whether it is great or small; it may be only a flower to shed fragrance; though this is really the greatest of all. There is no higher service than moral influence; “thy whole body … full of light”; and this, of all the highest moral order, is within the compass of all. “Christ shall be magnified in my body whether it be by life or by death”
“We should remember, that we are not to be expectants from the scene around us, but contributors. A true contributor never complains of want of love. He walks in the Fathers love and manifests His love; magnifying His language, which is, “I have and abound.” —C.H. Mackintosh
“There are two things … in communicating truth. Certainty that it is the truth from God, but it must also be suited truth to those with whom we share. They might need it all, but they may not be in condition to receive it; and the more precious the truth, the greater the injury, in a certain sense, if it is presented to those who are not in a state to profit by it.”
The truth of Jesus magnified is always profitable. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory, which shall be revealed in us.
Romans 8:18 The way J.B. Phillips renders the word “reckon” is that whatever we have to go through now is less then nothing in contrast to Jesus being magnified. We can’t downplay pain and suffering in this process because our losses and suffering are very real.
Conybeare and Howson wrote: “We can’t look without emotion at that venerable form subjected by iron links to the coarse control of the soldier who stood beside him? How often must the tears of the Church been called forth by the upraising of that fettered hand, and the clanking of the chain which checked its energetic action.”
Paul does not share his heart longing in stoic trivializing of his condition but in joyous eagerness of new opportunities to display the worth of Christ in every condition.