Only let your conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent…
There was one drawback to the apostle's delight in thinking of the Philippians. It was not doctrinal unsoundness, or denial of his authority, but the spirit of social rivalry and partizanship. This he hints at by the recurrence of the word "all" in the former part of this chapter, and he now deals with it in a most delicate but effective way. He shows, in a manner which they as Roman citizens were quick to understand, the leading duties of gospel citizenship and their enforcing motives.
I. THE DUTIES OF THIS CHRISTIAN CITIZENSHIP.
1. Stand firmly by the charter of your citizenship — the gospel — all of you, all together. Be a compact body. The apostle puts stress upon the Christian spirit as the outcome of the Christian faith, and does not dream, like some recent men, that the one can exist apart from the other.
2. Be unitedly zealous for the common faith. Zeal for the truth is not only to impel them to stand by the truth, but to make it known. There is a zeal which begins and ends with self, or which will show itself in its own way only, and a zeal which spends itself not so much against the common foe as against those of their own party who differ in minor things. What the apostle commends is a right kind of zeal rightly directed.
3. Be bold in facing your foe. The opposition was formidable — Jews and Gentiles singly and combined; the attack was likely to be sudden.
II. THE MOTIVES BY WHICH THEY ARE ENFORCED.
1. An attention to these duties attests their true apprehension and enjoyment of Christianity itself (Philippians 2:1).
2. The power of Divine love.
3. Obedience to those duties will bear witness to the reality of their communion with God.
4. It is also thus a true testimony to the compassion and tenderness which Christ alone puts into men's hearts.
5. Doing thus you will make my cup of gladness run over.
(J. J. Goadby.)
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;