In These Last Days
Are we in the Last Days?
In our study of any portion of Scripture, we should first of all look at the address on the envelope. Of course you would say that the recipients were at the city of Philippi. That is true. But there is more to it then merely their earthly residence. They are a people whose citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20). That immediately sets them apart. They are not of the administration of promise, for all connected with it have a part in the promise made to Abraham and that had to do with a land in this earth as we know it, heaven not being their hope.
Up till the end of Acts, Paul was preaching the kingdom and he expected to be living when the King came to take up His kingdom (1 Thes 4:15 & 1 Cor 15:51). But in Phil 1:23 Paul has a desire to depart, that is, a return to the dust. The kingdom is no longer in view. So he is resigned to the fact that he must die some day.
From the beginning of his ministry till the end of Acts Paul had spiritual gifts, one of them being the gift of healing (Acts 28:3-6; Acts 28:8-9). But we know that Philippians is this side of Acts 28:28 because of the account of the sickness of Epaphraditus (Phil 2:25-30). Paul could no longer heal the sick.
However you may take it or read it, the high calling of Phil 3:14 cannot possibly have to do with the administration of promise and its kingdom. This is something over and beyond a kingdom here.
Paul spent the early years of his ministry in a administration in which the Jew was first. In that time Paul had much of which he could boast (Phil 3:4-6). But with the change of administration, Paul no longer had whereof he could boast. He counts all such things as loss in the administration of the mystery.
Now with the address problem settled, we find that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). Notice that it says work out, not work for. This salvation is by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-10). Also we can see that it is not the salvation which was of the Jews (John 4:22), but the salvation that was sent to the Gentiles (Acts 28:28). In his first 7 epistles Paul wrote of a salvation which was of the Jews for at that time they had every advantage, including the oracles of God and the service (Rom 9: 3-5). He went to the Jew first, and then to the Gentile. At that time the Gentile believer partook of the blessings of Israel. So we can conclude that the salvation that we are to work out today is that which was sent to Gentiles.
You might find a title for this book in Phil 3:14, The Prize of the High Calling . We do not know what this prize might be. It is not described. Overcomers in the Kingdom calling will rule over the nations with Christ (Rev 2:26-27), and that here on the earth. There is a hint in 2 Tim 2:11-12 that there may be a similar situation in the administration of the mystery, that there may be a ruling with Him.
Although Philippians and Hebrews are in two different administrations, they have a common theme; On to Perfection.
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