Matter of Faith: What Paul prayed for – two


From: Bob Williams



The last installment revealed the first thing Paul prayed for in Philippians 1:8-11 is that they would grow in the agape love that comes from the full-knowledge of the Mystery Truth for the Body of Christ, discerning it from the Prophetic Truth for the Nation of Israel. Once believers are growing in the love that comes from Paul’s Mystery Truth, Paul prays they will be able to approve the things that are excellent: “And this I pray ... that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the Day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God,” (Phil. 1:10-11).

The Greek reads: “that you approve the things that differ,” according to biblical scholars. Of course, the “things that differ” are the “things that are excellent,” the things that come from an understanding of Paul’s apostleship, which distinguishes between the Nation of Israel’s earthly Prophetic Program and the Body of Christ’s heavenly Mystery Program. For God to fulfill His plan for the Nation of Israel in displaying His Glory on earth, Israel not only needed spiritual blessings but physical and material blessings as well. For God to fulfill His plan for the Body of Christ in displaying His Glory in the spiritual realm in the heavenlies, however, only spiritual blessings are needed. To that end,  God infinitely multiplies His provision of spiritual blessings for the Body of Christ, equipping believers with “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ,” (Eph. 1:3).

It is only by distinguishing between these two divinely given programs that believers will be able to remain unmixed, pure and perfect, stable and unwavering, until the day Christ comes for His Body. To say it in another way, believers must rightly-divide the Bible in order to be workers approved by God,  (2Tim. 2:15). Therefore, Paul prayed that believers would discern and rightly-divide the things that are more excellent; the things that God is accomplishing today through the Apostle Paul.

This prayer is closed by Paul praying that they be “filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God.” Through Paul’s writings, we find the fruits of righteousness will be produced by the Spirit in believers: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance,” (Gal. 5:22-23). And when these appear, God is praised and His Glory is displayed. In fact, these are the only things that bring glory and praise to God.


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