Paul reminds the Philippian Christians that they are saints. What does he mean? When he says that they are saints, he is describing them as people who have been set apart by God for himself. Today, it is common to speak about persons being saintly, by which it is meant that they have a pious demeanour or that they engage in religious activities. Clearly, these features are important, but they are not the basis of becoming a saint. A sinner becomes a saint at his or her conversion.
Paul describes them as the ‘saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi’. They are simultaneously in Philippi and in Christ Jesus. Philippi was their visible world; in ‘Christ Jesus’ was their invisible world. Philippi was the place of their witness and ‘in Christ Jesus’ was the place of their worship of God and receiving from God. They could not live rightly in Philippi if they were not living correctly ‘in Christ Jesus’. In Philippi they were to pass on the water of life that they received ‘in Christ Jesus’.
The spiritual and the physical are constantly interacting with one another whether in our homes, in our visits to the shops, or in our leisure activities. There is not an inch of space or a moment in time in our lives in which should not be affected for the better by the fact that we are saints who live ‘in Christ Jesus’.
In order to do so, we receive ‘Grace and peace from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.’ We will think about what that means tomorrow.