to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
November 29, 2019 – Friday
Philippians 2:12-13 NIV
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
On Wednesday, we ended up a verse shy of getting to these two verses and with good reason. On Wednesday we were looking at how Jesus was obedient – 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross – while today we are looking at how the Philippians obeyed. If we look at this in context we will see Paul’s exhortation, based on Christ’s example as noted from verse eight, for them to do everything without grumbling while being lights to the world. Take a look/read:
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
The Philippians are obeying what Paul has taught them of the gospel of Jesus the Christ. They are obeying, knowing what Jesus suffered so they approach their salvation with fear and trembling. Also, one has to wonder if Paul has shared Jesus’ words with them about true and false disciples. I think he must have done so,
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:21-23
John the Baptist believed one had to show fruit from one’s repentance when he said: Produce fruit in keeping with repentance Matthew 3:8. David Guzik says concerning working out one’s own salvation: There is a sense in which our salvation is complete, in the sense that Jesus has done a complete work for us. Still there is also a sense in which our salvation is incomplete, in that it is not yet a complete work in us. And then quotes Muller and Spurgeon:
“The believer must finish, must carry to conclusion, must apply to its fullest consequences what is already given by God in principle… He must work out what God in His grace has worked in.” (Muller)
“Some professors appear to have imbibed the notion that the grace of God is a kind of opium with which men may drug themselves into slumber, and their passion for strong doses of sleepy doctrine grows with that which it feeds on. ‘God works in us,’ say they, ‘therefore there is nothing for us to do.’ Bad reasoning, false conclusion. God works, says the text; therefore we must work out because God works in.” (Spurgeon)
It really boils down to the implied question Jesus posed: Are we doing the will of God in heaven or are we at least attempting to do so? Or are we going to church thinking that makes us a Christian? Are we tithing thinking that makes us a Christian? If so, we are wrong, eternally wrong. When we go to church this weekend and in the weekends that follow – and the days in between – let us do so seeking the will of God in our lives.
(to obey is better than sacrifice /obedience is better than sacrifice)
* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)
Post Script: In reference to John the Baptist’s words from Matthew 3:8 we have this modern day saying:
“An apology without change is just manipulation.” from which we may derive the following “Repentance without change is simply a lie.”