“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;” – Philippians 1:27 (NASB)
As believers professing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior we are called to live our lives in such a way that other’s notice a difference from those who don’t believe. Paul the Apostle frames this as ‘conduct that is worthy of the gospel.’ The Greek for ‘gospel’ means the Good News. We live and walk in Christ because of the good news of the Lord Jesus. The Old Testament spoke of the suffering and resurrection of Christ so this was not a new message. We know of the resurrection, believe in it, and have been saved by it. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) Standing firm in one spirit with one mind introduces Paul’s theme of unity that core to his words of encouragement. Paul’s call for sincere unity of heart and mind is based on:
- the necessity of oneness to win the spiritual battle for the faith (Phil. 1:28–30);
- our love of others in the fellowship (Phil. 2:1-2);
- genuine humility and self-sacrifice (Phil. 2:3-4); and
- Jesus Christ our example who proved that sacrifice produces eternal glory (Phil. 2:5–11).
First as one soldier standing at his post, then as a team resisting a common foe.
“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.” – Philippians 1:27-28 (ESV)
Our verse brings a very important reminder to us when we read the Apostle Paul writing about having a life worthy of the gospel of Christ. If we call ourselves Christian we mean that we have believed that Jesus the Christ is our savior and that our lives have been changed. We are not the people we were before we believed the words in the Bible about Jesus. Believers are to have integrity, to live consistent with what they believe, teach, and preach. Paul introduces the theme of unity in this verse that continues for 27 verses. His call for genuine unity of heart and mind is based on the necessity of oneness to win the spiritual battle for the faith; and the love of others in the fellowship. If anyone knew something about suffering for Jesus, Paul did. He also knew that suffering for standing up for God was and should be expected. It is to be taken willingly without being alarmed or frightened. When believers willingly suffer without “fear,” it is confirmation of our salvation to the abusers and a sign that God’s enemies (who are our enemies also) will be destroyed and eternally lost.
“…so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;…” – Colossians 1:10 (NASB)
In the letters written by the Apostle Paul, he often uses long compound sentences. Verses 9 through 12 is one sentence so continuing from yesterday’s consideration of verse 9 we now find the aim of Paul’s petition in his daily prayers. His prayer request was practical: in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord. A genuine knowledge of Christ reveals itself in transformed character, in Christlikeness. In Ephesians, Philippians, and both letters to the Thessalonians this exhortation is used. We are called to live our lives and walk in a manner worthy of God, of his calling us, and of other believers. How we live each day, what we think, say and do is observed by others and it reflects our dedication and conviction of God. Christ Jesus has saved us and called us to be a testimony to His Word. If we are walking worthy of the Lord, the promise is that we will please the Lord in all respects. We will bear fruit in all our good efforts at the work He gives us; our knowledge of God will be increasing daily which also pleases the Lord.