The apostle now urged those to whom he wrote to fill his joy to the full. In order to do this he indicated two causative facts which suggested two resulting experiences, and then referred to conduct issuing therefrom. The facts are "exhortation in Christ" and "fellowship in the Spirit." When these are realized and submitted to they create that frame of mind which issues in such manner of life as is for the progress of the Gospel In a stupendous and stately passage the mind of Christ is revealed. The master principle is love, first as the motive of self-emptying, and, second, as the reason of divine exaltation. In His Self-emptying, Christ passed from sovereign authority to obedient service, which led ultimately to the death of the Cross, in which He was able to deal with sin and provide redemption.
The issue of such Self-sacrificing love and action resulted in the enthronement of that mind of love. God highly exalted Him, and gave Him the name that is above every name, with the avowed purpose that all should submit to Him.
In order to obtain obedience to the initial injunction to have the mind of Christ, the apostle now shows the secrets of ability to obey. First, there must be recognition of the fact that it is God who wills and works in the believer; and then the consequent deduction as this fact of salvation is worked out in fear and trembling. The result will be that in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation the believers will be seen as lights in the world. Throughout this teaching, incidentally, we have a revelation of how remarkably Paul himself was actuated by the mind of Christ. Though in prison, the missionary impulse was strong in him, and his passion for the progress of the Gospel and the blessing of others affected all his thinking and his doing.
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25