by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Philippians is Paul's love letter. The epistle is also a good instrument for learning the secret of this great man. Paul considered living Christ and dying gain. And, although he wrote from a prison cell, his refrain was "Rejoice in the Lord always."
Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things (Phil. 3:19).
The church must always fight on two fronts. On the one side are the age-old legalists. They turn Christianity into a religion for decent, law-abiding people only.
On the other side are those who want no law at all. It's all grace, they say. Legalists always worry about right and wrong. But the no-law-people see no wrong anywhere.
Usually Paul defends the gospel against Jewish legalists. But in this case he turns to the other side. These people used to be Christians. They move Paul to tears. They talk about grace and the cross, but "many live as enemies of the cross."
The cross sets us free but not for self-indulgence. These people were obeying not the Father of Jesus but the god of their stomach. They were celebrating what they ought to be ashamed of: "their glory is in their shame."
Paul's description fits the temper of our times. "Do what feels good." We know scores of people of whom Paul would say, "Their bellies are their gods; their desires are their masters. The things they enjoy most and glory in should be their shame." Let no one put a Christian veneer on this lifestyle. Call it by its real name. But say it with tears.
The cross of Jesus stands for the complete forgiveness of all our sins and for the radical renewal of our lives. Never the one without the other.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version