“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” – Philippians 2:1-2 (NASB)
Our passage today from the letter to the Philippians, written by Paul the Apostle continues an appeal he made in chapter one. (Let’s remember that chapter divisions and verse markings were applied 1150 and 1500 years later.)
In Philippians 1:27, Paul wrote about living our Christian life in harmony with the message on which it is based. He followed that message with a call to show spiritual unity. This unity is possible because of the reality of the four qualities mentioned in 2:1. The “if” clauses speak of certainties, about realities, not questionable things. So in this passage “if” may be translated “since.” Paul appealed on the basis of any encouragement from being united in Christ; any comfort from His love; any fellowship with the Spirit; and any tenderness and compassion. We are exhorted furthermore to demonstrate unity in practical ways. This unity is ours in Christ. Our expression of spiritual unity results in complete joy for all. Matching the four realities are four specific ways in which our spiritual unity will be understood. We will find ourselves being like-minded, sharing and showing the same love; united together as one in spirit; and focused on one common purpose.