Q. Re: Becoming Who We Are. The more I read what Paul has written the more it seems to contrast with Jesus. Paul frequently seems legalistic and adds on to the Gospel and to Jesus’ statement to love God and others. Arguing and complaining are not sins. Both can lead to setting things straight or improving situations as long as they are done with respect. Paul argued with Peter. Jesus was a man’s man. He turned over tables, he argued with religious leaders, etc. God gets angry and He made us in His image. Jacob “wrestled” all night with God. God didn’t say Jacob should not have done this. Sometimes, Paul reminds me of Job’s friends. Making judgments that God doesn’t. Quite frankly the Holy Spirit has a lot to teach me and arguing and complaining are not at the top of the list.
A. It’s important to remember that Paul was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit just like all the other writers of the Bible. Therefore everything he wrote originated with the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16).
The context of Phil. 2:1-18 is imitating Jesus in our demeanor. Paul said we should try to do so as a witness to the unbelieving world. If you read the gospels carefully, you’ll see that the only people Jesus was ever angry with were the religious leaders of the day who had perverted the worship of God into a system of rules and regulations and who profited from this by taking advantage of the people.
Justifying our anger by saying we are created in the image of God is inaccurate. Adam was created in the image of God. Then he fell into sin. After that all of his offspring including you and I are reflections of Adam’s image not God’s (Genesis 5:3) in that we all have a sin nature. All God’s ways are righteous (Psalm 145:17) but all our all our ways are unrighteous (Romans 3:10). This is why the righteousness of God has to be imputed to us by faith (Romans 3:21-24) before we can be saved. Therefore, we can’t justify our behavior by saying, “God (or Jesus) did it, why can’t I?”
I agree there’s nothing wrong with debate and discussion. But when it turns to arguing, it means anger has entered into the equation, and unless we’re God, anger is akin to murder (Matt. 5:22).
All of Paul’s teaching is meant to encourage us to live up to what we have already attained (Phil.3:20). We are children of the King, and as such we’ve been guaranteed so much in the future that nothing in the present should have an adverse effect on our attitude.