Philippians 1:1-2 NASB
Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul is the author. He calls himself and Timothy (though Timothy is not writing the letter) bond-servants (GRK ‘doulos’ meaning ‘slave’) or slaves of Christ Jesus. The fact that Paul calls himself a ‘slave’ of Christ Jesus highlights his humility and singles Philippians out from his other letters as one of lesser a commanding tone. This immediately sets-forth Philippians to be Paul’s unusually most joyful letter.
Three Criteria for Audience
- To all who are saints
- To all who are in Christ Jesus
- To all who are presently in Philippi
Grace and Peace
- These are provided by their Father, God and their Lord, Jesus Christ
- Paul wishes the Philippian church grace from God that will be swiftly followed by peace from God
The Cornerstone of Philippians
This grace and peace only come through the plan of the Father and sacrifice of Jesus Christ: the cross provides God a way to give grace – which then is followed by His peace. If God does not give the grace, it will not be held by the Philippian church, and consequently peace will not be experienced. So… The establishment/basis for Paul’s greeting is the pleasure of God through Jesus Christ.
Paul says, “grace to you.” This grace Paul says Himself in Ephesians 2 is a gift from God. The Psalmist says in Psalm 115 that God “does as He pleases.” Grace is an absolutely free gift from God that no man earns or can earn. The only way any man will receive grace is if God desires to give it to him – if God is pleased to do so. If the grace does not come, peace cannot come – because the peace of God is provided by the grace of God. Where does God find pleasure to impart such grace? The cross of Christ. On the cross, God poured out all of His dis-pleasure/wrath that He held for His elect – both Old Testament and New Testament believers. This is through the propitiation of Christ, and will not be discussed at length now. But let this suffice: the grace of God given to us is only given because of Christ’s propitiation. Our grace, and inevitably peace, are completely dependent upon God’s Gospel!
Do not think that I am stretching Phil. 1:1-2 beyond what the text says, brothers, for Paul is very clear that He is solely and wholly leaning His grace and peace upon Christ!
Verse 1a, Paul is a slave of Christ. His life is completely given to Christ. He is not wholly concerned with Bible knowledge, good family heritage, etc. as he expounds upon in Phil 3:1-11. Paul is wholly concerned with Christ! Verse 1b, Paul is writing “to all the saints in Christ Jesus.” ‘Saints’ in greek carries the idea of ‘holy’, almost could be translated ‘holy ones’. Paul is talking to those set apart in Philippi – but who specifically? Set apart for/in what? “IN CHRIST JESUS”! Paul is writing to “all of those consecrated/set aside in Christ Jesus.” Christ is the whole concern of Paul, and He is the whole concern of the church! Verse 2, Paul puts forth that grace and peace come from God and Christ. It may not be so evident in the English translation, but the word ‘from’ before ‘God’ is most definitely referring to Christ as well. If grace and peace come from Christ, then they are dependent upon Christ. Christ is the whole concern of Paul; He is the whole concern of the church; now He is the sole cornerstone of grace and peace.
Paul goes on to elaborate this ‘cornerstone of grace and peace’ as he writes Philippians.
So we see this from Phil. 1:1-2… The basis for our peace is the pleasure of God through the Gospel of Christ Jesus.