Philippians 3:15–16 (CSB) — 15 Therefore, let all of us who are mature think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you. 16 In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained.
In this video we are going to look at Paul’s instructions for how to handle disagreements among Christians who have different perspectives from our own.
Paul’s message on this subject is part of his thought on rejoicing in the Lord, which is a safeguard for our souls, that he develops from 3:1 to 4:1:
Philippians 3:1 (CSB) — 1 In addition, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. To write to you again about this is no trouble for me and is a safeguard for you.
Philippians 4:1 (CSB) — 1 So then, my dearly loved and longed for brothers and sisters, my joy and crown, in this manner stand firm in the Lord, dear friends.
His message about rejoicing in the Lord is understood by those who are spiritually mature, which means that these things will be difficult for the spiritually immature to handle.
Paul knows that those who are spiritually immature may think that they know better than Paul on some points – perhaps they will think that they can rejoice in the Lord without counting all the gains of this world as loss – but Paul finds peace in knowing that God will reveal these truths to them in due time as they grow in their knowledge of Christ.
Paul’s counsel is for everyone to “live up to whatever truth they have attained“.
This counsel may seem troubling to us at first because we are so used to hearing the modern subjectivist refrain, “live up to whatever truth is true for you“; but this is not what Paul is teaching.
Truth is objective in Paul’s view:
Colossians 2:8 (CSB) — 8 Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Christ.
Romans 6:17 (CSB) — 17 But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching to which you were handed over
He refuted the idea that whatever philosophy or religious tradition seemed best to you could be true for you and always commended the children of God to the word of truth by which they were delivered to righteousness from the power of sin and death.
Instead, what Paul has in mind is the spiritual journey that each believer embarks on as God reveals the Truth to them:
Colossians 1:4–5 (CSB) — 4 for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints 5 because of the hope reserved for you in heaven. You have already heard about this hope in the word of truth, the gospel
Colossians 1:9–10 (CSB) — 9 For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, 10 so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God
Paul is explaining to us that our joy in the Lord is established when we live up to the truth that we have attained as we continue to grow in our knowledge of God.
Ephesians 4:1–4 (CSB) — 1 Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to live worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling—