World English Bible translation
1:27Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your state, that you stand firm in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel; 1:28 and in nothing frightened by the adversaries, which is for them a proof of destruction, but to you of salvation, and that from God. 1:29 Because it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer on his behalf, 1:30 having the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear is in me.
After greeting the Philippians and telling them his prayers for them, Paul began to encourage them in their Christian walk. He told them that he was confident that his imprisonment would work to the advancement of the gospel. Other Christian ministers were able to be bold in preaching the gospel while Paul awaited his trial. Paul was evangelizing the guards that were charged with watching over him. Even people who were jealous of Paul and who sought to cause problems for him were only ending up advancing the Christian cause. Christ was being preached and glory was being given to God the Father.
Paul had written that whichever way his trial proceeded he was at peace with the outcome. Even if he died it would only mean that he would be with the Lord that much sooner. For Paul, to live meant living unto Christ and to die was gain.
So Paul tells the Philippians that whether he comes to them or not, they must live their lives worthy of the gospel of Christ. We should live our lives the same whether we are being observed or not. The Philippians did not need Paul to be present with them to live a life worthy of the gospel. Christ Himself was always with them. There are no secrets in Christ nor is there any moment when we are alone. The Lord is with us in good times and in bad.
Paul wanted the Philippians to live united with one another. When they stand united, they will stand firm. When there is dissension and friction it is easy for people to fall by the wayside. But when Christians are united, there is no reason to fear any adversary. When we are united with Christ, we will be united with each other. The Spirit of God brings harmony and unity.
But our harmony with each other and with Christ comes at a price. Whenever we are untied with Christ by the Spirit of God we will be at odds with the rest of the world that does not acknowledge the Lordship of Christ. Our unity with each other will bring us into conflict with everyone else. Those who have faith in Christ will also suffer with Him. The world will treat us the same as it has treated Him. Paul could point to his own life as an example to the Philippians of this very principle. When Paul was persecuting the church the rest of the world embraced him. But, as soon as Paul began speaking for Christ, he came in conflict with his old life. He was reviled, beaten and imprisoned.
The decision to follow Christ should not be taken lightly. There is a price to pay for following Jesus as Lord. But for those who become one with Christ, such suffering is a sign of their salvation. When we can stand firm in the face of adversity just as Jesus did, we can truly know that we are chosen by God. This is not a conviction that comes overnight. There will be many times when we are full of fear and doubt. But, eventually, we will know the joy of being united with Christ fully, even in our sufferings.
Will you commit yourself to living a life that is worthy of the gospel even when others are not observing you? Are you prepared to accept not only the blessing of our inheritance in Christ but the suffering that will come with it as well?
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