The Fruit of Attitude- Philippians 2:15-30

In our previous post, we examined how Paul calls believers to live with the proper attitude, the attitude of humility (or “fear and trembling”), as well as how to determine if this attitude is being displayed in our lives. He then proceeds, beginning in verse 15, to inform us as to what the fruit of this attitude will be in our lives, as well as the impact it will have on those around us. He begins verse 15 with the Greek word hina, literally “in order that”, showing us that he is about to give us the results which this attitude will produce in our lives. He tells us that we are to have this attitude “so that you may become blameless and pure”. The result of this attitude is that we become what we are, we live out before others what we already are before God. Believers already stand blameless before God because of what Christ did for us, and those who live with this attitude will begin to live blamelessly before others. Believers also stand already pure before God because of what Christ did for us, and those who live with this attitude will also begin to live in purity before others. Those who live in this way show that they truly are “children of God”, not children in the sense of physical descendants but children in the ancient sense of those who do what their father does, who like Jesus are “about their Father’s business”, doing His will “without fault”, or in this case without “complaining or arguing”. It is living with this attitude and the fruit it produces which truly causes believers to “shine like stars in the universe”, causing them to truly stand out in and stand apart from a “crooked and depraved generation”. The Greek word “crooked” here is skolia, literally “twisted”, and is used to describe the “twistedness” of the attitude displayed in the world apart from Christ, the attitude characterized by the belief that “it’s all about me”, that everything and everyone (including God) exist to serve “me” and I don’t exist to be the servant of anyone. This generation is also described as “depraved”, here by the Greek word diastrammenes, literally “perverse”, showing that that attitude prevalent in the world apart from Christ is in fact the exact opposite of the attitude to which Paul calls believers here. It is, in fact, this contrasting attitude which makes believers stand out in this world, which makes them “shine like stars in the universe”. Those who live with an attitude which is not “it’s all about me”, which truly seeks to put others first are the ones who will truly “stand out” as they “hold firmly to” the “word of life”, as they live out the humility which their Lord displayed in dying for them. This attitude which makes believers stand out was first displayed in Jesus Christ, who put them first by dying for them on a cross, who loved them by putting their needs above His own comfort, by displaying an attitude in complete contrast to the “me first” attitude of the “crooked and depraved generation”. As believers “hold firmly” to this word of life by displaying this same attitude in their own lives, they will also stand out in this crooked and depraved generation. After a brief interlude (verses 17-24), Paul then closes this section of his letter by providing an example to the Philippian believers who was numbered among their own, whom they knew personally, Epaphroditus. At the time this letter was written, Paul was in prison in Rome. Prison at that time was nothing like now. Prisoners were simply locked in a cell or dungeon and left, not provided food, water or any basic needs. Their needs were cared for by “visitors”, friends or family who came and provided for their needs, apart from which they would have died in prison. Epaphroditus is the member of the Philippian church who travels from Philippi to Rome, approximately 800 miles, to provide for Paul’s needs (verse 25). The road from Philippi to Rome was known as the Via Egnatia, and it wound its way across the mountains of Albania and Macedonia toward Rome, some of which reach elevations of 9000- 10000 feet. This journey was made in the winter of 59-60 AD. So we have here Epaphroditus traveling about 800 miles, over mountains nearly 10000 feet tall in the dead of winter, on foot or horseback, risking his health, his safety, his very life, to provide for the needs of another. We learn, in verse 26-27, of the extent of the “risk” Epaphroditus took to “love” Paul as Jesus commanded Him to, for we learn that he took ill and “almost died”, likely of frostbite, exposure or hypothermia due to making this journey in the winter. Epahroditus is mentioned by Paul here because he was one in whom the attitude to which Paul calls the believers was clearly displayed, he was one who truly did “shine like a star in the universe”, who stood out in a “crooked and depraved generation”, who clearly displayed the attitude of love which was seen primarily in Jesus Christ, the attitude to which Paul called all those in whom he desired God to work in to “will and to act according to His good purpose”, and to which he calls all believers.

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