Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 1

Love that carries out God’s work in our world

Philippians 1:10

There is a popular idea today that Christians should carry out ‘random acts of kindness’. In other words, they should do kind things for the benefit of anyone whatever, whenever their feelings direct them to do it.

Perhaps Philippi’s Christians had been behaving like that. So, in Philippians 1:9, Paul prayed for them to have knowledge and wisdom as they carried out their acts of love. That is necessary because Christians do not carry out their good works simply in order to be nice people. Rather, God has an important purpose for the good works that he directs Christians to do (Ephesians 2:10). That purpose is that Christians should do God’s work in this world. We may ask, however, how a Christian can do God’s work by an act of love to another person. Paul gives two answers in Philippians 1:9.

(1) Everyone seems to have an opinion about what is right and good. However, by their acts of love, Christians show by their actions what truly is excellent (Romans 12:9-21). So their actions are a declaration that God’s opinion about these things really is correct. In that way, they are bringing honour to God.

(2) Christ will soon return to this world, and Christians need to be ready (Matthew 24:42-46). So, Christians need to have right attitudes, and their good works should be the result of those right attitudes. It is not real love to carry out a kind act for a selfish reason (1 Corinthians 13:4-6; Colossians 3:12-14). God wants his people to do the right things with the right attitudes; then, they are doing what he wants. In other words, they are doing the work that he has directed them to do.

Next part: Good works: the result of a right relationship with God (Philippians 1:11)


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© 2020, Keith Simons.