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Original scientific paper

Sanctification Through Knowledge and Imitation in Philippians

Miroslav Balint-Feudvarski orcid id ; Baptistička crkva Radosne vijesti, Nova Gradiška

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page 23-43

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Throughout the New Testament, we find exhortations to imitate or follow
in the steps of Christ, Paul and even some other godly people. In the Epistle to the Philippians, we find this exhortation to imitate incorporated into a Pauline theology of progressive sanctification. Sanctification in Philippians is portrayed as a conforming to Christ through the knowledge of Him, which comes through tripartite means of the Word of God (the Apostolic teaching), the internal work of God’s Spirit and the imitation of Christ, the Apostle Paul and other godly examples. We will aim at forming a biblical theology of sanctification through imitation restricted in our analysis to the Epistle of Philippians. First part of the article reviews the teaching of sanctification in Philippians, with an emphasis on passages where Paul directly addresses this issue: Philippians 1:9-11, 27-29; 2:12-16; 3:1-15. Second part of the article introduces us to biblical teaching on imitation, and then it reviews a downward spiral of imitation: imitating Christ (Phil. 2:5), imitating Paul (Phil. 3:17a; 4:9) and imitating Paul’s faithful imitators (Phil. 3:17b). In the conclusion, we will see that imitation of Christ and His faithful imitators is a means of
progressive sanctification that is both important and often neglected, both by those who should serve as primary examples of godliness (spiritual leaders) and those who need to learn by imitating.


imitation; sanctification; knowledge; transformation; model; Christ; Paul; Philippians; Holy Spirit; Scriptures

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