11th October 2013


And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 (NIV UK)

Even when the odds are stacked against us, the peace of God protects us.

When Paul writes to the Philippians in about AD 60, he is in a Roman prison. He is in a dangerous position, but he finds peace in Christ. He uses words and imagery to do with his imprisonment, to help his readers get the point he is making.

One example of this is to do with “guarding”. He explains that, “it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ” (1:13). This is a reference to the praetorium, a large group of soldiers, many of whom would know him personally, and who guarded him from time to time.

Philippi is the first European church, and his concern for them is evident. He knows that he repeats himself in what he says and writes, and says he does this because his desire is to protect them from bad influences. “It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard to you” (3:1). Just like the same guard may stand watch on Paul, and performs the same routine time after time, in a similar way Paul protects and defends his readers. This idea applies today in sermons and in church conferences: repetition is used as a means of safeguarding the church.

The Roman guards keep Paul safe as he awaits his trial. The soldiers make sure that Paul comes to no harm physically. Paul, as well as being concerned for the Philippians physically, is especially anxious for their emotional, mental and spiritual state. A popular teaching is that knowledge and how much you understand is what keeps the believer safe. Paul takes a different view. It’s not what you know, but whom you know, and also who knows you, that bring peace. It is through our relationship with Christ who strengthens us (4:13) that peace comes. To stress this he uses the “guard” idea again.

The peace of God is like a sentry that guards our hearts and minds. And that peace far transcends anything we know or understand – it’s about relationship, not about knowledge and understanding.

Great Father, whose eternal Spirit defends and safeguards us, thank you for Jesus Christ’s relationship with us, that his peace comforts and protects our minds and hearts. In Jesus’ name.

Study by James Henderson


bible1About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.  This weekend James is speaking in our Edinburgh and Glasgow churches.  You are welcome to attend any of our Church congregations located throughout the UK.  For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Email:  admin@daybyday.org.uk

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