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The letter from Paul known as the ‘epistle of joy’ is a thank-you note to the believers at Philippi for their help in his hour of need. It provides instruction on Christian unity. His central thought is simple: only in Jesus are real unity and joy possible. This commentary pulls the rich truth from this letter and makes it live for us today.

The seriousness with which they should treat this matter is shown by the phrase with fear and trembling. Certainly the attitude here recommended has nothing to do with slavish terror: as Paul assures the Christians in Rome, “you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear” (Rom. 8:15). It is rather an attitude of due reverence and awe in the presence of God, a sensitivity to his will, an awareness of responsibility in view of the account to be rendered before the tribunal of Christ.
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