Saturday, February 20, 2010

More Motyer, now on Philippians 1:9

Philippians 1:9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment...

With every new expositional sermon series I preach, I gravitate toward certain commentaries in my preparation. I have just begun preaching through Philippians but have already thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed Alec Motyer's comments on this letter of Paul.

Motyer, is an able bible scholar, though he denies it. "I'm not really a scholar," he says. "I'm just a man who loves the Word of God" (this is from a nice article about him by Banner of Truth). More specifically, Moyter is an Anglican. It has been noted by one of his friends that most orthodox American Anglicans might regard the Catholics as their nearest denominational neighbors, for Motyer it is Presbyterians of a more conservative color (like me). He is very much a product of the definitely Reformational Church of Ireland in which he was reared-in many ways a modern Puritan. Motyer is strongly and wonderfully aligned with J.I. Packer and John Stott as well.

Commenting on Philippians 1, after noting the sovereign work of God to justify and sanctify us, he comes to verse 9 and comments-

“The remainder of our earthly life is an outworking of what God has already ‘in-worked’. We are called to become what we are. This is the mighty imperative of Christian ethics. Every other ethical system calls us to the costly effort of becoming what we are not. But in the full salvation already bequeathed to us in Christ, the new nature is already ours, waiting for expression, poised for growth, until its potential is triggered by our obedience to the word of God. For the Philippians the special and immediate line of obedience, as Paul discerned it, was love.”


Fr Andrew Strobl said...

That is a beautiful reflection by Moyter. Thanks for sharing it. It is a constant task to reflect the free gift of grace we have received in our actions. If the world sees me and doesn't see Christ, the deficiency is on my end and not on God. It also means that any good works are a result of God's grace and not mine to brag about. All is for His glory! Gotta love Paul.

Roger Mann said...

Of course, God's call to "become what we are" refers not only to our new, regenerate nature in Christ (that produces a progressive change in our character and behavior), but also to our positional holiness and righteousness -- that is, our definitive sanctification and justification before the Lord:

But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. -- 1 Corinthians 6:11

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. -- Romans 5:1-2

We have been positionally justified and sanctified in God's sight once for all! It is a complete and final past tense verdict before the bar of God's justice that can never be revoked. Our future works of obedience (prompted and empowered by the Holy Spirit) have nothing to do with our standing before the judgment seat of God. We are justified by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Praise God!

Woody Woodward said...

Examining my own sinful heart, I have come a long way. Not yet arrived, but I do praise the Lord that as His love abounds in me, it’s His knowledge and discernment that encourages me towards learning to love, His way.