Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Philippians 3:1 (EHV).
Why does Paul say “it is a safeguard for you?” My Concordia says, “when serious error is present, there is safety in repetition.”
Tell them what you’re gonna tell them. Tell them. Then tell them what you told them. That, and the law of seven. If you’re flummoxed about what I’m saying, these are rules for public speaking. If you want to reinforce a point, repeat it. And if you want to ensure a listener remembers a point, repeat it at least seven times. Paul did this in his letters.
In all of his letters except Philemon, Paul used this vehicle to reinforce points he had previously mentioned either in person or in his writings. In those letters, Paul carefully outlined both positive behaviors to model and negative ones to avoid. Flee from those who are immoral, impure, debauched; turn from ways of anger, envy, drunkenness, adultery, and more. In doing those, watch God remake your heart and your life. Model Jesus in how you show love, joy, peace, kindness and much, much more. Right trumps might; Christ always prevails over evil.
Isn’t it safeguarding someone to keep encouraging them to follow Jesus instead of following the evil one? To display those Galatians 5 fruits of the Spirit instead of trying in vain to find their own way in the world? Isn’t it better, more loving, to mentor someone to display God’s qualities instead of those of an ungodly world in rebellion? If we really care, shouldn’t we care for someone’s welfare right down to their soul?
If that takes telling them over and over about the basics, well, so much the better.
Fact is, in our world today, we live with serious error. The horrors of abortion, war, crime, terrorism, division, disease, and so many more things demonstrate how fallen our world is; how there are innumerable things that are deadly wrong here on the Third Rock. How separated we are from God while trying to do it all on our own. Fact is, without someone to bridge the growing chasm, on our own, we’re damned.
It’s a good thing that there are people who will tell it like it is. It’s a better thing that someone keeps encouraging us that we don’t have to fall into that chasm. It’s a great thing that we have heroes of the faith to show the way. And it’s the greatest thing in all history that Jesus bridged the chasm of our sins and saved us from ourselves. That’s the truest safeguard of all. I’ll gladly repeat that any time!
For further reading: Galatians 5: 19-24, Philippians 3:2.
Lord Jesus, thank You for words You inspired into Paul. Thank You that we get to still learn from them today, and for safeguarding our hearts and minds forever.