Php 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.


Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.


In order for us to fully understand, appreciate, and operate upon such issues as Philippians 4:5–6; Ephesians 3:20; and I Thessalonians 5:18; it is necessary that we first of all have operating within us some specific fundamental and foundational doctrines. For though, for example, Philippians 4:5–6 deals with the issue of prayer, it does not deal with prayer on a foundational level. The Philippian saints were not new believers, nor “babes in Christ,” nor carnal saints, nor anything else associated with being young and inexperienced in their edification. Rather they were well established, maturing, and perfecting, saints; just as Paul testifies to in the epistle. Hence when he brings up the issue of prayer with them in chapter 4, he does so knowing that they know full well what prayer is; that they have been enjoying and appreciating the benefits of prayer in their own lives for a long time already; and that they will know exactly what he is talking about when he says what he does to them in verses 5–6, along with why he says it to them.


Eph 3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,


Eph 3:15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,


Eph 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;


Eph 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,


Eph 3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;


Eph 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.


Eph 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,


Eph 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.


Likewise is this so with the Ephesians and with the Thessalonian saints. What Paul says to them in Ephesians 3:20 and I Thessalonians 5:18 respectively, he says to saints who are also mature; who, for example, already know about and understand and appreciate the issue of God’s power operating within us and its capabilities; who, for example, already understand, appreciate, and have been operating within them the kind of optimistic outlook on life that a Christian ought to have which would make it so that he can “give thanks” in “every thing.” Hence when Paul says the kind of things he says in Ephesians 3:20 and I Thessalonians 5:18, he is saying things to them that are fitting to their level of edification. Things they can understand and appreciate the sense of, and can properly respond to by intelligently doing what he says, in view of what they have been taught and have come to know.


1Th 5:17 Pray without ceasing.


1Th 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.


Now if we do not understand and appreciate what they already knew, then it is naturally going to be difficult for us to understand, appreciate, and do what is contained in their epistles. For once again what is contained in their epistles is designed for saints who are at the same level in their edification as were the Philippians, Ephesians, and the Thessalonians. I say this once again to underscore that it is necessary for us to have some fundamental doctrines effectually working and operating within us before the issues in these non-fundamental passages will be properly understood by us and able to be fully operating in us as well. Now the particular fundamental doctrines I am talking about are the ones that God sets before us and teaches us immediately after telling us that we have received “the adoption of sons.” In other words the doctrines of Romans 8:16–39.


Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.


Rom 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.


Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:


Rom 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.


For it is through these fundamental doctrines that God provides for us to be able to respond as He does to any and all of “the sufferings of this present time” that we may encounter. And God does not respond to them by becoming full of worry and distress and despondency. He does not respond to them by wondering why in the world they are happening, and wringing His hands over what He sees going on. Rather He responds to them with a full and clear understanding for why they are happening, and for what He is doing while they are allowed to continue on. And in view of this He responds to them with patience and endurance, and not worry, distress, dejection, and/or depression. And by what He teaches us to understand. He provides us with the ability to respond in the exact same way.


Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.


Rom 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.


Rom 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,


Rom 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.


Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.


It is also through these fundamental doctrines that God provides for us to understand and appreciate the value and benefits of prayer in our daily lives, so that we do benefit from it as He has designed for us to; and so, for example, to be able to intelligently do what the Philippians are exhorted to do in Philippians 4:5–6, and thereby benefit from “the peace of God” that it talks about when the tendency would be for us to be “careful,” or anxious, or distraught. And it is through these fundamental doctrines that God provides us with ability to have the same godly outlook on our sonship lives that He Himself has for them, so that we don’t have to be pessimistic, or wondering how in the world anything can work out to God’s glory in our lives in view of what we go through.


Rom 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.


Rom 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?


Rom 8:25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.


Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.


Rom 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.


For the truth of the matter is that God is not pessimistic about our sonship lives. He is not a defeatist regarding us, or about what goes on in this world, or what happens to us. He is not befuddled in his mind trying to figure out how we can glorify Him in view of all that goes on around us. Instead He has specifically provided for us to be able to do this through His word to us, (which He has specifically composed and specifically written with this dispensation in view); and for us thereby to be able to honor and glorify Him no matter what comes our way; even when what comes our way is the worst that the world and the Satanic policy of evil have to offer. In other words, even when ‘everything is going wrong and things that happen seem so senseless.’


Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.


Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.


Rom 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.


Rom 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?


Rom 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?


These fundamental issues were understood and appreciated by the Ephesians, Philippians, and Thessalonians. Therefore, for example, when Paul wrote to the Ephesians he wrote to them as ones who knew the capabilities of the excellency of the power of God’s word operating within them, and as ones who had been benefiting from it already. So that even though as Paul wrote to them they had come to the point in which they were facing their stiffest opposition yet; and even though it might seem humanly impossible for what Paul prayed for regarding them to actually be accomplished within them; they knew that God was able to “do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” They knew, therefore, that the power of the effectual working of God’s word that was then being taught to them in their epistle was able to accomplish in them the very things that Paul prayed for regarding them.


1Th 2:11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,


1Th 2:12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.


1Th 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.


Likewise also the Philippian saints knew the peace producing ministry of prayer, having benefited from it numerous times up until now. Hence even though they too were now facing their greatest opposition, with its terror and the like, Paul knew that prayer’s peace producing ministry was fully able to handle their situation. And so he exhorts them to avail themselves of it, and not to forsake it in their distress. Likewise the Thessalonians knew full well that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” They had Romans 8:28–39 effectually working within them. Hence they knew that they could respond to whatever came their way in a manner that was profitable unto them fulfilling that purpose unto which they had been called as members of God’s “new creature,” the church the body of Christ in this present dispensation of God’s grace. Wherefore Paul accordingly exhorted them to “in every thing give thanks.”


Php 4:10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.


Php 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.


Php 4:12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.


Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.


Now to be perfectly frank, I’m not able to teach the doctrines of Romans 8:16–39 in this email. But in view of what you have asked, you need to know that it is the fundamental and foundational doctrines that are specifically taught to us in that passage that provide for us to be able to intelligently do the very things that the Ephesians, Philippians, and Thessalonians were exhorted to do. You are correct when you say that you know “that Godliness is a big issue” in this. For indeed it is. In fact is is not only ‘a big issue,’ it is THE issue. And therefore you need to make sure that you have the fundamental Godliness teachings of Romans 8:16–39 effectually working within you.


Rom 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.


Rom 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.


Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?


Rom 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.


Rom 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.


For when we have the Godly perspective on our sonship lives that Romans 8:16ff provides for us to have, along with the Godly outlook and prospect on the details of our lives in view of what God has purposed to accomplish with them; then instead of having a pessimistic or wondering or doubtful outlook on life, or a pessimistic type response to any of the details of it, we are able to have the same optimistic and upbeat outlook on our life as God Himself has. And all of this is what makes it so that we can ‘make sense out of how God is working in the details of our lives,’ and can “in every thing give thanks,” even when from the purely human perspective it may be that ‘everything seems to be going wrong.’


Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,


Rom 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


*In a number of recent Enjoy The Bible Quarterly articles I have briefly set forth my understanding of the basics of these doctrines in Romans 8:16–39, with the next issue briefly looking at the effectual working of verses 28–39 in our lives. As you give consideration to the effectual working of these fundamental sonship doctrines in your life, you might find the articles helpful.

Until next time,

Keith Blades

Enjoy The Bible Ministries

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