…any encouragement, any comfort from love?

Nov 1, 2022 | Devotionals | 2 comments

…any encouragement, any comfort from love?

Emma Reilly – Gdansk, Poland

I’m reading through Philippians at the moment and recently came across this phrase in chapter 2 v 1:
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love… At this point I paused. Wow – yes there is so much encouragement and comfort!!!

Over the last few months, I have become more aware of my wonky thinking about the love of God. How easy it is to become over-familiar with the truth that God loves me, no matter what, and yet not live in the absolute freedom of this. I sometimes found that when I messed up, there was a part of me that thought that God might have to climb up to be merciful – even just a little bit – as I sometimes have to, in relationships with others. I know that complete forgiveness is mine in Jesus, and yet I often had the sense that there might be a little bit of frustration on God’s part – a momentary sigh before the love! How easy it is to project our human reactions onto God and to assume (even if we wouldn’t say it) that He must sometimes react like us!

But, praise God, He doesn’t! I am coming to understand more deeply that Jesus is overflowing with love and mercy toward me in the very moment of my sin, and not just before or just after. His arms are forever wide open, and He is ALWAYS responding to me like this, with passion, kindness, tenderness, love and mercy. Wow! There’s no dip in His affection. He’s never distant, never cold, never wanting me to sit in shame. Never! He’s always pouring out mercy, and amazingly, it’s His absolute joy to do so! Jesus died for this very reason: that limitless mercy might be poured into my life, and unending intimacy experienced. What a truly amazing gospel!

And so returning to Paul’s words, my heart sings a resounding yes! There is no end of comfort and encouragement from Christ’s love – this truth is the context for all that follows:

…having the same mind, doing nothing from rivalry or pride, loving and serving others, not grumbling, obeying Jesus’ call upon my life; and not just in the light but in secret, when no one else is setting the agenda. Paul says in verse 12 to obey, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence; and then verse 13 …for it is God who works in you to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Obedience flowing from the love of Jesus and empowered by His working in me. How amazing is God’s kindness to give us everything we need for life and godliness!


  1. Peter Wagstaff

    Yes this is great but what about God’s judgement? Are there times when we need a sharp rebuke to get us to turn away from sin that has crept back into our lives.
    Even in sharing words from God, I’ve just in Zechariah ch13 v 3 where it says parents kill those sons who say they are prophesying but they are speaking lies! Help Help!

    • Kevin Reily

      I think that the question, “What about God’s judgement?” is a good one – thanks for asking it peter.

      Certainly Paul goes on to speak about Christ’s work on the cross and in this section of scripture (Phil 2:7-9) and he expounds the great benefits of Christ’s atoning work in Romans eg Rom 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Our understanding of the gospel is that God’s judgement for sin is satisfied entirely through the finished work of Christ – this should not lead us to a “light and breezy” attitude toward sin, however. Here in Philippians, Paul states unequivocally: “…let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Phil1:27)

      God’s judgement is satisfied and we are therefore not condemned. But the riches of the Gospel (if understood correctly) compel us to live well, in light of what we have received in Christ. When we sin as Christians, God’s wrath is already satisfied in the punishment poured out upon his Son. And so his approach to us in these moments cannot be condemnation or judgement as Christ has paid this priced. God continues to hate sin, for sure, but his anger that was once directed toward me as a person outside of Christ, has been diverted and satisfied in the death of his Son. And so I find mercy in these dark moments…and it is this mercy and kindness that draws me once again, to the throne of grace and to a fresh commitment with regard to “the manner of my life and its worthiness in light of the Gospel.”

      With regard to the OT references of God’s judgement…probably a response to this is worthy of more time on my part and so this is for another day, I think.

      Thank you for the points you raise Peter – it’s a good opportunity for me to reflect once again on what Christ has actually secured for us in his death and resurrection. Blessings…Kevin


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