Sat May 18, 2013
by Hugh Whelchel
Resurgence roundup, 5/17/13
Fri May 17, 2013
Grace all the way
Wed May 15, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
How to be on mission in the city
Wed May 15, 2013
by Stephen Um
How to love people well
Tue May 14, 2013
by Dave Bruskas
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God (Philippians 1:27–28).
Paul describes striving for the faith as having two parts. It involves doing one thing while avoiding doing something else—creating a positive/negative opposition. The positive aspect: contending for the faith with a united spirit. The negative aspect: avoiding being intimidated by those opposing the gospel. We shouldn’t neglect either part. Both must be present for us to be effective.
Strive in the face of opposition
Elaborating on both the positive and negative aspects of what it takes to stand firm corrects our expectations about what lies ahead and enables us to prepare for it now.
Philippians 1:28 provides God’s perspective on striving for the faith and facing opposition. Opposition can cause us to second-guess our decisions: Should we have done this? Was it all a mistake? If I had done it differently, would things have gone more smoothly? To address these issues, Paul reframes striving for something in the face of opposition. How do you deal with the doubts and second-guessing? By going back to what you know to be true. If God has really called them to this ministry, and if opposition is to be expected as a natural consequence of its message, then why doubt? They doubt because they’re relying on their own perspective. Paul addresses this by recasting things from God’s perspective.
Struggle as a sign of salvation
The Philippian church’s struggle is a sign of destruction to their opponents. But God will triumph in the end—putting their opponents on the losing side. Paul wants the Philippian church to think of their struggle as a sign of salvation. This is for the same reason that Paul said in Philippians 1:19–20 that the opposition he faced would lead to deliverance and salvation (same Greek word as in 1:28). Everything that happens is from God (end of 1:28). Nothing comes as a surprise to him. Here again it boils down to whose perspective we will adopt: our own or God’s. Adopting God’s perspective change the Philippians’ view of Paul’s situation (1:12–18) and it affects how they view their own circumstances (1:27–28).
This adapted excerpt, courtesy of Logos Bible Software, is from Steven E. Runge’s High-Definition Commentary: Philippians. The High Definition Commentary series is practical and accessible. Each commentary has plot twists, shocking moments, and a climax—combined with professional graphics, based on a linguist's analysis of the text. All infographics are exportable for presentation software like Proclaim. Purchase the first volume here.