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Philippians 4:18–20

“My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen” (vv. 19–20).

Finishing up his formal recognition and thanks for the Philippians’ support of him in prison, Paul in today’s passage clarifies a hidden reality that we do not always recall when we give to the work of God. True, we are helping to meet the physical needs of other believers when we give to the work of the gospel through them, but that is not the entire story. As we see in Philippians 4:18, we are also blessing the Lord Himself.

This is an incredible truth that gives us further motivation to support kingdom work. Of course, the command to love one another (1 John 3:11) carries with it the necessary implication that we should be concerned to meet the needs of others. And there are also passages that tell us that those who are in full-time gospel ministry—like Paul—deserve compensation for their service (1 Cor. 9:1–11; 1 Tim. 5:17–18). But while these commands are enough to tell us what to do, the Lord is gracious in that He pledges to bless us for the obedience we owe simply by virtue of the fact that He is our Creator and we are His creatures. Simply put, when we meet the needs of gospel ministry, we are giving a pleasing offering to God Himself, and we can rightly expect to be rewarded in the age to come. John Calvin comments, “The exercise of love which God enjoins upon us, is not merely a benefit conferred upon man, but is also a spiritual and sacred service which is performed to God … [and] he is pleased with such sacrifices (Heb. 13:16).”

Moreover, we will be blessed not only in the age to come but in the here and now. Philippians 4:19 assured the Philippians that God would reciprocate their gift to the Apostle and meet their needs. Paul, since he was in prison, was in no position to give back to the Philippians a physical token of his gratitude, which would have been the appropriate thing to do in that culture. Yet to ensure that this expectation would be fulfilled, Paul asserts that God would step in and meet the Philippians’ needs. This was an even greater way for Paul to “return the favor” because the Lord would be able to give far more than the Apostle ever could. He could meet all the Philippians’ needs according to “His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (v. 19). He can do the same for us, as well, and He will as we give to His kingdom.

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

God will supply all our needs, but we must not take that to mean that He will give us everything we want or that we might think that we need. He knows far better than we do our true physical and spiritual needs, and He will always meet them according to His riches and His plan in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore know that He will be faithful to us, and we must be faithful to Him, His church, and His commandments.

For Further Study
  • Job 5:8–16
  • Psalm 9:18
  • Luke 11:5–13
  • Acts 4:32–37

Not the Gift but the Fruit

Being in Christ

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From the December 2011 Issue
Dec 2011 Issue