Beginnings matter. First impression count. As Paul began his letter to the Philippians, he emphasizes 3 key truths about who those in Christ are. They are servants of Jesus, Saints in Jesus and are sustained by Jesus.

Here’s how Philippians 1:1-2 go,

This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus. I am writing to all of God’s holy people in Philippi who belong to Christ Jesus, including the elders and deacons. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Paul… Servants of Christ Jesus. Paul is a servant and so is Christ. As a servant (literally slave, δοῦλοι – referring to both Timothy and Paul), They have been bought with a price and are completely at the disposal of the Master. Freed from the master and slavery of sin and brought to the joy of the true Master who made us. As Paul heard the call of God to go into Macedonia to preach the Gospel to the Philippians (Acts 16:9-10), he was an obedient  servant and immediately sought to go.

Grace to you and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The source of all grace is Christ. Paul hopes that as his letter is read, it would awaken God’s grace to them, though God the Father and Jesus Christ. He is the source of all our grace and God’s Word is a means of receiving sustaining grace to the saved. Peace originates with God, internally with ourselves and then externally with others. God’s grace produces this in us. The call of grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ isn’t saving grace of peace with God. They are already saints (Philippians 1:1). They have received saving grace and already have peace with God through Christ. Paul desires that God would give then sustaining grace and peace from God in their daily rhythm of life as saints. Before anything else, you are this, and I am writing to people whom Jesus has made this way.

  • Servants of Christ: Our role in the Kingdom of God. We are to live as a servant, abandoning ourselves for the glory of God. The of is important, we serve Jesus.
  • Saints in Christ: This our position in the Kingdom – Saintly Servants! What a strange contradiction. We have a special relationship with God, it is deeply in us, it is deeply personal and deeply all about Jesus. This is who we are as a person, in Jesus. Jesus has made us a servant and his being in us is what defines us.
  • Sustenance from Christ: Grace and Peace: This is sustaining grace and peace. The believers are already in Christ. This is daily grace to live as they have been called. To live in Christ. God’s grace is what we need each day to live out our position in Christ. As Philippians 1:6 says, God will complete his work in us and this happens by grace. As these people read the letter, Paul prays that grace would stir them up to live and know why they are in Christ. And the same can be said of peace. This is a peace from God that gives calm in the storms, a peace that comes from already being at peace with God. God’s grace will supply us with what we need and god’s peace will sustain us as we live in our hearts and minds. All of this comes from being in Christ.


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Bible Study, Theology Philippians