Matters of Faith: A Final Word

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 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. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

Philippians 2:12-18 (ESV)

This letter from Paul was written to some of his beloved and faithful followers; his children in the faith. Paul was facing a court hearing and expected to be convicted which would result in his being sentenced to execution. He writes this final word making a compelling argument and providing a detailed process for his readers how to live their lives and work out their soul’s salvation.

Rev. J. Loren Russell

I thought of how Paul would write that letter today and wondered what this letter would look like if it were written to a family member of someone who was facing their own death. It might read slightly different than Paul’s letter, but it would be just as applicable. He may have written;

You have always obeyed in my presence, but I’ll soon be gone and will never return. So in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. I want you to know that it is God who is working in you, to will and to work for his good pleasure. I urge you to do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God who are without blemish in a crooked and twisted generation. I want you to respect others and treat them better than you would treat yourself.

Since kindness is the focus of Christ’s teachings, extend kindness to each other. Care for others and keep your nose out of other people’s business. In order to have both inward and outward peace, have lowliness of mind, according to the example of the Lord Jesus.

Always hold fast to the word of life and remember what you received from God makes you shine as lights in the world. I’m sharing these things with you so that you know that my life nor my labor was in vain.

Even though the death angel is calling me from labor to reward, I don’t want you to be mad at God. My battle has been fought and the victory won. So, my last word to you as your father, your grandfather, your great grandfather, uncle and your friend is that you should be glad and rejoice with me as I rejoice with you.

In case you didn’t notice, death does not have the final say! Even his pending death did not distract Paul from sharing a final word of hope. He knows once you receive the supernatural gift of salvation that Christ offers, death is consumed by your faith. The grave has no string and death loses its victory.

In the last book of the Bible, the writer says:
“Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.”
The final word to us is one of assurance and victory!

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial Strategy & Consulting; an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; creator/host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Monday’s 8:00 – 10:00 PM (626-226-1448), author of Matters of Faith: The Book.

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