Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 4

Christians should be joyful

Philippians 4:4

Christ told his disciples (special students) to be glad because God had written their names in heaven (Luke 10:20). Now Paul encourages all of God’s people to do the same – and then, to emphasise it even more strongly, he repeats himself. Everyone who trusts Christ, the Lord, should be joyful because of their relationship with him.

Perhaps Paul returns to the subject of joy because he too has just mentioned the book of life (4:3). That book is God’s record of the citizens of heaven (Hebrews 12:22-24). These are the people who will always live with God, in heaven and in the New Jerusalem (John 3:16; Revelation 20:15 to 21:27).

They are all the people who have turned from their evil deeds to put their trust in Christ (Acts 2:36-39). There was great joy in heaven when they first did that (Luke 15:7). God forgave their evil deeds because of Christ’s death, and he sent his Holy Spirit into their lives. So, although they may have many troubles in this world, their troubles matter little to them (Romans 8:18). Even the worst troubles in this world can never separate them from the love of God for them (Romans 8:35-39).

So God’s people can be joyful about their relationship with him even during the worst troubles (Habakkuk 3:17-18). Even in the most difficult circumstances, they can be constantly aware of the goodness of God (Lamentations 3:22-26). That was Paul’s experience too (4:11-13). Even as a prisoner who might die at any time, God gave him the greatest joy (2:17-18). Paul’s joy did not depend on his circumstances, because it came from God.

Next part: A firm but gentle attitude (Philippians 4:5)


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© 2020, Keith Simons.