the Third Week of Lent
Click here to join the effort!
The Bible Study New Testament Bible Study NT
by Rhoderick D. Ice
INTRODUCTION TO THE LETTER TO THE PHILIPPIANS
How do you account for the sin, evil, and misery that is in the world??? Earth would be a wilderness, if it were not cultivated with great care! It grows weeds and poisonous plants as it is, and natural disasters destroy crops and take lives! Many of the human race are wicked to excess, and their evil brings misery and suffering upon themselves and others. Besides all this, mankind is subject to a variety of painful diseases and to death!
Many theories have been invented to account for this. Some have said that this universe was created by an evil god, who fights against the true God. Some have said humans are being punished here for sins done in a previous life. Some have said that there is no reason and no sense to any of it, and that it has always been just like it is with no change at all. The Epicureans taught a theory much like modern evolution.
But into this darkness has come the light of Christ! There is but one first Cause, who is both infinitely powerful and infinitely good!!! Every being in the universe derive their existence from Him, absolutely depend upon Him, and are under His rule!!! Whatever evil exists, grows out of the freedom of will which God originally gave His rational creatures, and which made them moral, and responsible for their own actions!!! Adam and Eve, our first parents, abused their freedom of will by one act of disobedience, and brought God’s curse down upon this earth. You wouldn’t have done this??? But you did!!! You came into this world as pure and innocent as Adam, and you abused your free will just as he did.
What is the answer to all this??? You cannot save yourself!!! But what you cannot do, God already did!!! He ACTED in Christ!!! God’s purpose for this was to set man free from: (1) the power of sin; (2) the guilt and punishment of sin. God chose to make faith the basis of receiving the benefits of this finished work in Christ. MacKnight says of this action of God: “But that, for remedying these evils, God was graciously pleased, in his original plan, to appoint the mediation of his Son, whereby the penal consequences of sin are so far prevented, that they do not take place in all cases; for as many of mankind as are delivered by him from the power of sin, shall at length be also delivered from its punishment, and be raised to a degree of perfection and happiness, greater than if they never had sinned.”
Paul planted this church on his second tour of missions, around 50 A.D. See Acts ch. 16. It is generally thought that this Letter was written during Paul’s first imprisonment at Rome, between 60–62 A.D.