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When the love of God overflows

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. Philippians 1:9-11

Philippian church was already characterized by love yet Paul expressed in this prayer affirming that love is a grace in which we can always advance. No matter how much we love, we can love more. Then he prayed that they “will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.” He will soon find it necessary to warn them about the ever-present danger of false teachers (see 3:2, 18–19). The Philippians would make themselves easy prey for such teachers if, in the interest of being loving they become uncritical to accept everything that these teachers were presenting. We should be keenly aware of this danger. How often Christians today have refused to stand against doctrinal error because someone argued that we must be loving! Unfortunately, love is understood to mean being agreeable and tolerant. No one believed more firmly in love than Paul, and yet he did not hesitate to rebuke a fellow apostle for compromising the truth (see Galatians 2:11–21). Paul did this because he understood that love and truth are not enemies. The most loving thing we can do is stand for the truth in a loving way. Paul is praying that his readers would be able, in the midst of competing issues and concerns, to see what is truly important and deserving of priority, and that they would be able to make wise spiritual decisions. Paul urged Christians to constantly live having in mind the day on which they would stand before Christ in view. The key to living this day is to remember that great forthcoming day. Such right thinking and right living are not self-generating; they do not come solely by human effort, but rather represent “the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:11). This is why the glory in the end all belongs to Christ.


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