ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 238


to the spread of the gospel, probably reflecting their generous financial
support, which is explicitly mentioned at the end of the letter.
As Paul begins the main section of the letter, he explains how the
Good News is spreading in spite of his imprisonment, even among
the “palace guard”—that is, the emperor’s personal bodyguards. He
expresses contentment in the midst of his circumstances, desiring that
his life would “bring honor to Christ” whether he lives or dies—in other
words, whether he is declared innocent and set free or found guilty
and executed.
Paul reminds the Philippians that their true and primary citizenship
is not with Rome but with their King in heaven. While they await the
return of their King—when all things will be brought under his control
and believers will be raised from the dead—they are to live as God’s
new people in the world. They can do so by following the example of
Christ, who did not take advantage of his high position but humbled
himself completely out of obedience to God. Jesus is the King because
he was first the slave.
Paul also counters those who—like the “troublemakers” in Galatia
and those pressuring the Colossians—were telling Gentile believers
in Philippi that they had to observe the Jewish law. Paul argues that
such human efforts were unnecessary, showing that while his own
Jewish credentials are considerable—superior, in fact, to those of his
­adversaries—all such credentials fail to compare with “the infinite value
of knowing Christ Jesus.”
Throughout the letter, Paul relays a strong note of joyfulness—both
his own joy and his encouragement of joy in the Philippians—even in
the face of fearful situations. God’s message about the world’s true
Lord is going forward, even into the very heart of Caesar’s empire.

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