“Just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel you all are partakers with me of grace.”
“just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart”
It was proper or fitting for Paul to think about what he was thinking.
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)
Paul had taught the Philippians, and it was his responsibility to think about them. It is crucial for those in leadership to think about the people they lead in the light of the Word of God.
The word “heart” means the total person. This word means far more than the emotional life of the believer. In North American society, we think of “heart” in terms of either Valentine’s Day or the biological pump for the body. The biblical term means neither. Paul had thought about the Philippians in terms of his total person. He gave his entire self to them.
In 2 Corinthians 7:3, Paul said, “I do not say this to condemn you; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together.” Ministry was not just a job or profession to Paul. God’s people were on Paul’s heart. They had hold of him; they were part of him.
“inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel”
“In my chains”—Paul was in prison.
Paul had the Philippians in his heart in two categories: in both the defense and the confirmation of the gospel. The folks at Philippi were partners with Paul in defending the gospel. They were in it together. They were both on the same team.
Paul did not manufacture the message; he simply passed it on, and they accepted it at face value. The message did for the Philippians what it had done for Paul on the way to Damascus many years before. Now they were partners in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.
The gospel is defended with words and confirmed with works. We defend the gospel with our lips and confirm the gospel with our lives. It is one thing to speak the gospel; it is another thing to live it out. That is quite another matter. So two things need to be done with the gospel: to affirm (defend) it and to confirm it. To confirm the gospel means to ratify it, reinforce it, underscore it. We give credence to the gospel when we live the gospel; people are inclined to believe the gospel if they can see a demonstration of someone living the gospel.
What has the gospel done for you? Has the gospel transformed your way of living? Did the gospel ever help you? Yes? Then tell me how. This is what it means to bear testimony. To confirm the gospel means to report what the gospel did for you. “Before I became a Christian, I was thus and so, and now that I am a Christian, I am this.” That is what it means to confirm the gospel.
“Confirmation” means guarantee, firm establishment, or security. It means to establish something so that it becomes a guarantee of security. Our life secures the gospel.
There are two aspects to sharing Christ: the lip and life.
There are two aspects to sharing Christ: the lip and life. Both are necessary to present a total package in our representation of Christ.
Are we manifesting the gospel, confirming the gospel with a changed life? Do you give credence to the gospel?
Love it !
I like the article. It isn’t as explanatory as I’m accustomed to but it is helpful. But the last line states that our “lives secure the gospel”. I must correct you. The gospel is secures our lives. Christ said “it is finished”. I know He meant the accomplishing of our salvation, but it is important to remember that Salvation is 100% God and 0% us. As human beings, we sin everyday. Someone could see us in a bad moment, and judge a bad attitude or unwholesome talk for how Christians act. The Holy Spirit secures the gospel for the elect.
You are correct in that we should live out good lives, and I try but when Paul said confirm the gospel, there were others preaching Christ out of rivalry to cause trouble for Paul. There were also men saying that the resurrection had already occured. 2 Timothy 2:17-19 – “. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
Back then there were so many different movements that spring up during the early church. People still wanting to live under the law of Moses, and those from the church that were preaching Christ out of “vain conceit and selfish ambition”. Usually that goal was to gain wealth.
Confirming the gospel probably did come through the way Paul and His followers lived, not asking for anything and working while they told others about Jesus and His resurrection. But the main focus of the gospel, as it is laid out, is to preach it and let the Lord do the growth. Confirming the gospel, by what Paul says, I think was them being able to align what the were teaching with Old Testament prophecy.
The gospel is secure on its own.
David, thanks for your comment. I agree with you that “the gospel is secure” in our lives and that God did the doing of our salvation, but that is not the point of this passage. Paul speaks of himself when he said, “I have you [the Philippians] in my heart.” The question is where did Paul have them in his heart? He answers that question by two dative cases translated by “in.” He had the Philippians in his heart when he defended and confirmed the gospel by his ministry. Indeed, the gospel is secure on its own, but that is not the context of this passage. You may want to read my book Certainty, a Place to Stand, which makes your point. Or, if you wish to read it online, go here: https://versebyversecommentary.com/articles/my-book-certainty-a-place-to-stand/