Only let your conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent…
1. The phrase, "faith of the gospel," has a distinct significance in the New Testament. It refers to the Divine revelation of mercy and love in the Son of God, and its acceptance by earnest and penitent trust. It is connected with long lives of antecedent prophecy, symbolical services, the constant yearning of the world for a Redeemer, and the Messianic hope of the Jews.
2. This message of redemption meets with endless forms of acceptance and rejection.
(1) At first its promulgation came in contact with heathenism as a religion, and naturally accused the opposition of the proud systems of error.
(2) Next it came in contact with Heathenism as a philosophy, and the proud reason of the classic world sought to analyze its mysteries.
(3) To every form of religious thought and every phase of intellectual life it has come for eighteen centuries to be rejected by the proud, but to be accepted by the meek.
3. It is one of the vital questions of the day how to meet and overcome this opposition.
I. THE PULPIT is naturally called into requisition.
1. But is it to be the teacher of philosophy? Then its function is to wrestle with the doubts, to antagonize the unbelief of the day. But this attitude is only a negative one, and to take up in detail the varied assaults would only be to advertize and disseminate them.
2. The real business of the pulpit, as de fined by Scripture, is to preach Christ and Him crucified, and by the proclamation of positive truth there the unbelief of the day will best be met.
II. THE PRESS competes with the pulpit in the education of the multitude. Here unbelief finds full and systematized expression, but so may and so does Christianity. The bane and the antidote exist side by side, and sceptical assaults along the whole line of the faith have been repelled in current literature. Here scientific objections can be and are met by scientific men.
III. But the INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIAN LIFE is the best defender of the faith. The union of Christians in the conversation which becometh the gospel will render the faith invincible.
(W. A. Snively, D. D.)
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;