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When will we be "filled with the fruits of righteousness" (Phil 1.11)? Is this expected of us now, or will it be at the Judgment Seat?

"Filled with the fruits of righteousness" is taken from the final request in the prayer of the Apostle Paul for the Philippians. This prayer is found in vv.9-11. Paul had written in v.4 that he had been praying for them, now he tells them what he had prayed for. In view of the Judgment Seat of Christ he desires that the essential qualities of their spiritual life will greatly increase in their character. 1. That the ocean of their love might overflow its entire perimeter. 2. That they may test things that differ, separating truth from error. 3. That they might be pure and unmixed (the dross being removed from their lives) until the Day of Christ. 4. That they might be filled with the fruits of righteousness, having a rich spiritual harvest (cp. Proverbs 11.30). Righteousness here is neither legal nor judicial, but is practical righteousness seen in the believer’s life.

The expression "fruits of righteousness", I think, takes in both the present life and also the Judgment Seat of Christ. From the reference to it at the end of v.10 we conclude that not until the Bema of Christ will God’s work in us be complete. Then there will be a manifestation of the true state of our spiritual life on earth. It seems clear to me that Paul has in mind developing spiritual life in view of the Judgment Seat, and that when this appraisal by the Lord Jesus takes place it will reveal what fruits of righteousness, if any, were seen in our lives on earth. Verse 11 has three parts which relate well with our Lord’s teaching in John 15 concerning the need to abide in Him. "Being filled with fruits of righteousness" links with John 15.1-2 regarding fruit bearing in our lives. "Which are by Jesus Christ" links with v.5, showing that apart from Christ we can do nothing. "Unto the glory and praise of God" links with v.8 - "herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit". The object of spiritual fruit in the life is to be to the glory of God.

John J Stubbs

Is it valid to teach that the battle in the heavens which took place over the prayers of Daniel (Dan 10) still takes place when saints pray today, or was this a unique occasion owing to the subject of Daniel’s prayers?

The present writer does not believe that the man who appeared to Daniel (10.4-5) is one of the pre-incarnate appearances of Christ, albeit it has to be acknowledged that this person bears a remarkable likeness to the description given concerning the manifestation of the Son of man (Rev 1.13-15). This heavenly messenger must be identified with the person heard speaking in 10.9-14 - presumably an angelic being.

Daniel is told that "from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand...thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words" (10.12). Three weeks had passed (10.3) since these words had been uttered, and now Daniel is made aware of the fact that his breathings had been heard in heaven. There was no hindrance to Daniel’s prayers straightway reaching the throne of God.

Immediately Daniel had begun to mourn in the presence of God the messenger had been commissioned to go to him. It should be an encouragement to us that God takes note of the inward desires and motives of our hearts.

The reason for the three-week delay is subsequently explained by the angelic messenger. He had been hindered from making his journey by "the prince of the kingdom of Persia" who "withstood me one and twenty days" (10.13). No doubt this prince was a high authority under the command of "the prince of the power of the air" (Eph 2.2). This struggle was so great that it required the help of Michael the archangel in order that the heavenly messenger might continue his journey, thus to strengthen Daniel: "lo, Michael...came to help me" (10.13). This appears to be a special (but not necessarily unique) action on the part of the enemy in view of the subject of Daniel’s prayers.

Today we, as believers, are involved in a spiritual warfare with unseen foes: "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities...against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Eph 6.12). Therefore we are exhorted to "Put on the whole armour of God" that we "may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Eph 6.11). Nevertheless, there is no hindrance to our prayers reaching the throne of grace - "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit" (Eph 6.18).

David E West


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