Philippians 1:27, 28
Only let your conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent…
Only let your manner of life be as it becometh the gospel of Christ.
I. THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST IS THE TRUE STANDARD OF CHRISTIAN PIETY AS WELL AS "THE POWER OF GOD TO SALVATION." It is so:
1. By virtue of the doctrines it reveals for our comfort.
2. By virtue of the precepts it inculcates for our guidance; for it embodies in itself that which is at once "the law of Christ," "the law of love," "the law of liberty."
3. By virtue of the privileges it confers to secure holy living.
4. By virtue of the prospects it holds out as "a recompense of reward.
II. CHRISTIAN LIFE MUST BE ORDERED ACCORDING TO THIS STANDARD, The original term suggests membership in a society, according to the idea of privilege which makes believers fellow-citizens of the saints." Our practice must accord with our profession. Like the gospel of Christ, we must be true and faithful, peaceful and loving, gracious and humble. Our walk must be consistently the same, whether our religious guides are present or absent.
III. THE CHRISTIAN WALK IS TO MANIFEST ITSELF IN A FIRM AND SOLID UNITY. "That ye stand fast in one spirit." There were divergences of action, if not of thought, manifest among the pious Philippians, which made it necessary to counsel them to a steadfast unity of position and effort. We cannot grow in grace unless we live in peace, and we cannot hold our ground against the rushing tides of worldliness and sin which threaten to overwhelm us unless we are strongly rooted in Christ and his gracious gospel. This stability of position will have a twofold effect.
1. It will enable us to fight in concert for the faith of the gospel. "With one soul striving in concert with the faith of the gospel." If there was to be striving at all, it must not be in a way of contention, but of united endeavor to promote and defend the cause of Christ. Unity immensely enhances the power of the truth. This language implies
(1) that there is "one faith;"
(2) that it is worth striving for, as it contains the message of mercy to man;
(3) that it is injurious to piety to undervalue truth;
(4) that the stability of Churches as well as individuals depends much upon unity of faith;
(5) that there may be a oneness of heart under intellectual differences.
2. It will make you superior to the fears of adversaries. "And in nothing terrified by your adversaries." There will be no wavering on your part, through the assaults of unbelieving Jews or Gentiles. There is a double argument or encouragement here presented: "seeing it [your fearlessness] is to them an evident token of destruction, but to you of salvation, and that of God."
(1) Their fearless maintenance of the truth, implying as it did the power of the gospel in their hearts, would be a proof to the adversaries that they merit destruction by rejecting it and by continuing steadfast in their wickedness. The sentiment is parallel with that in the Thessalonian Epistle, in which the suffering endured through the envy of the Jews was "a token or proof that God will inflict heavy punishment on the adversaries of the Christian faith' (2 Thessalonians 1:5).
(2) It was also a proof that the God who now sustained them would finally reward them. This implies
(a) that suffering Christians will certainly be saved,
(b) and that their salvation will be great as well as certain. - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
WEB: Only let your way of life be worthy of the Good News 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 Good News;