In Philippians 3:12-21, the Apostle Paul writes some things which bear mention in relation to yesterday’s episode – ‘Post-Evangelical Pastors Questioning Their Faith Post-Trump.’
We discussed in that episode a Washington Post article detailing a growing movement of former pastors questioning whether their new movement needs to believe anything in particular, including the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Here is what the Apostle Paul writes.
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
Citizenship and Subjection
This is the prescription for those who have fallen away if they can be restored.
Forget what lies behind. Strain forward to what lies ahead. Imitate the Apostle Paul and those others who have walked and do walk according to the good example we have in those who have preached the only and true gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our citizenship is in heaven if we are indeed in Christ. And it is necessary that we remember this fact even as we grapple with how to seek the welfare of the city to which Yahweh our God has brought us in our exile, as Jeremiah 29 charges the Judeans and Jerusalemites in Babylonian captivity.
Notice how that last line of Philippians 3 ends. Christ is enabled to subject all things to himself by the same power which in the end will enable us to attain the resurrection of the dead. That means all our lifestyle choices, preferred pronouns, political affiliations, questions and answers, and efforts at organizing ourselves and one another must be subject to Christ.
This frames our engagement with social and political questions. If all things will be subjected to Christ, then we must endeavor to feel, think, speak, act, plan, and organize accordingly.
For just one example, when someone questions why we would refer to God as He/Him, we have our answer in God’s Word. There the Most High refers to himself exclusively with the male pronoun. And that settles it. We already know God’s preferred pronouns, and have no need of handwringing about it.
This then is the key to understanding how to holistically live on-mission for Christ. This is the key to the kind of unity which we are called to pursue and embody as the Church.
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