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Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To be writing the same things to you is no troublesome (thing) to me, and for you, it is a safeguard. (Philippians 3:1)
As we enter chapter 3, we find Paul saying, “finally.” The Greek word (λοιπός loipos) carries the meaning of “for the rest, or the remaining.” Paul may have meant only to write a short thank-you note to the Philippian believers for their gift and for Epaphroditus’ coming to serve him. But in the process, he saw the need to continue with what he had started.
The apostle Paul used this term frequently to conclude his letters by introducing practical advice, thus making a transition. He is continuing to encourage the Philippian believers to be joyful Christians, and he maintains that this is by focusing on the Lord – focusing on Jesus.
Paul would encourage us today the same way. We are to rejoice, or find joy, in adverse circumstances. He had just given us examples of three men, Timothy, Epaphroditus, and himself. They had the mind of Christ and were able to rejoice even in sickness and imprisonment. Therefore, the church at Philippi could rejoice even in the midst of the trials they were going through.
To keep on writing about the same things to them was not a bother (Greek okneros, which means to be timid or delay), we could say it as “I do not hesitate.” Paul was not timid in his words and did not feel any hesitation in what he was about to share with them because it was essential to their safety and assurance in the church.
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Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. Paul is sharing the idea that it is a pleasure of Christians to rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ. What reasons could there be for this rejoicing? They have a Savior in Jesus. We can rejoice in that kind of Savior that we have. He is the same as the father, merciful, patient, and kind. He is the second Adam who does more than cover our sins; he removes them. He has pardoned us from Adamic sin. He has made us one again with the Father. We need not be excessively anxious over our sinful nature; we can live in peace. He is there to support us when many humans abandon us. He is our guide in this fark world of which Satan is the ruler, filled with imperfect humans mentally bent toward evil, with treacherous hearts. Therefore, it is the honor of a Christian to rejoice in the Lord.
To be writing the same things to you. Here Paul is having to repeat the same truths and warnings and corrective counsel that he had given them when he was with them, covering the same issues that he is now addressing in this letter to them. A written record of these things is a permanent reminder that will be available to them after Paul is no longer with them and can be shared with other congregations.
Is no troublesome (thing) to me. It is not difficult or depressing for Paul to be repeating these corrective counsels in this format. Writing letters was no easy task, but Paul had professional secretaries at his disposal. It might be that the congregations in Philippi would have thought they were simply adding onto Paul’s burdens. And he was dispelling them of this notion.
And for you, it is a safeguard. This letter will serve as a safeguard for the Christians in Philippi, and as a whole, ready thoughts from the Holy Spirit by way of Paul and cautious counsel as a permanent record. The Christians do not know it now, but dangers were on the horizon. The apostles right now are serving as a restraint against the great apostasy that was coming, but once that restraint was moved, they would still have their guidance. Historian Will Durant states: “Celsus [a second-century enemy of Christians] himself had sarcastically observed that Christians were ‘split up into ever so many factions, each individual desiring to have his own party.’ About 187 A.D. Irenaeus listed twenty varieties of Christianity; about 384 A.D. Epiphanius counted eighty.”—The Story of Civilization: Part III—Caesar and Christ.
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