Article by Joe Rigney Teacher,

If you were giving an exhortation to an obedient people, what temptations would you urge them to guard against? Most of us would likely highlight the danger of pride and self-righteousness. And we’d be right to do so.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul is addressing an obedient people. Unlike the Galatians or Corinthians, Paul does not write to them in order to rebuke and correct substantial failures and errors. Outside exhorting a few quarreling women, there isn’t a hint of “You foolish Galatians!” (Galatians 3:1) or “Are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” (1 Corinthians 3:3). Instead, to the Philippians, Paul says, “As you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence” (Philippians 2:12). The Philippians are an obedient people.

So how does Paul exhort them? What does he see as a key danger for this obedient people?

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (Philippians 2:14–16)

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