“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
In the first phrase Paul made the point that there is a correlation between the gospel and how we live. Now he amplified that point.
“so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs,”
In verse 26 Paul said that he expected to be released from jail and come to see them. By saying “or am absent,” he showed he was not sure he was going to be released from jail. In any case he wanted to hear about the spiritual dynamic of the congregation. He wanted to know how they were getting along.
“that you stand fast in one spirit,”
This is the first thing he wanted to hear; he longed to hear of stability in their relationships. This same word crops up again in 4:1: “. . . so stand fast in the Lord.” In that context Paul was talking about division caused by Euodia and Syntyche. No ministry can go forward without stability in relationships. The Philippians needed to hold the ground of harmony in their fellowship. They were to stand fast like the famous Macedonian phalanx.
The theme of human relationships crops up over and over throughout the epistle. This is a problem in churches and Christian organizations today. Many Christians act as if they have no mutual relationship or responsibilities within the body of Christ. But as a colony of heaven, we do.
“One spirit” means to fuse and blend a unity of spirit. It is our “spirit” that gives us a disposition toward unity. The church of Jesus Christ will be weakened by internal rivalries and discontent.
“with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
If believers are of one mind, they can further the cause of Christ. If a church is of many minds about the direction of the ministry, the power of the ministry will diffuse. The fuse to light the dynamite of the gospel will go out.” Striving together” is drawn from the Roman amphitheater. It was used for captives in combat fighting for their lives. This would be called a strategic front in war. The believer is in combat against divisive forces. Keeping the unity of the church is a gladiatorial struggle. It means the life or death of the church.
We must be united to “strive together” for the faith of the gospel. To fight side by side, trust and cooperation is important. To fight together for the “faith of the gospel” is foundational for an aggressive church.
The believer is to stand his ground as a champion for unity because it is a basis for advancing the gospel.
The believer is to stand his ground as a champion for unity because it is a basis for advancing the gospel. The gospel is at stake.
A strategy of the devil is to divide and conquer. Churches are rendered ineffective because of the failure of Christians to get along. Are you part of a schism, whether in a small or large group? Are you fighting side by side with others to further the gospel?