Saturday, March 12, 2016


"Contending as one man for the faith of the gospel" (Phil 1:27, New International Version, 1984).

The church does not really do this anymore. We divide and scatter, argue and fracture. It is no surprise that the unchurched do not know the basics of the faith or what people who claim to be Christ-followers really believe. It is no wonder that the institution of church does not appeal to unbelievers.

So how does Paul tell the church to achieve this goal of unity? He tells them to "stand firm in the spirit," not in some ideological principal or dogmatic teaching (Phil 1:27. The Holy Spirit is the one thing all believers share regardless of their denomination or sect or creed. It is the Spirit that is supposed to "keep unity...through the bond of peace" (Eph 4:3; Fausset, n. d.). Believers should "strive together, not with one another," writes Matthew Henry (n. d.). Divisiveness has no place amongst those who believe and profess Christ.

What is to be the purpose of this unity, this "contending as one man" (Phil 1:27)? The gospel! "The unity and unanimity of Christians become the gospel," writes Henry (n. d.).  "Paul wanted...unity to be put to a productive purpose, so that an increasing trust and belief in the good news of Jesus Christ would be promoted among those who already believed and among those who had yet to believe" (Guzik, 2006). Christ died for the sake of the gospel, so who are we to oppose it with our own arguments and divisions

Can Christians disagree? Yes! "There may be a oneness of heart and affection among Christians, where there is diversity of judgment and apprehensions about many things," Henry states (n. d.). We need to major on the major, the gospel that Christ died to save sinful humanity, and minor on the minor, however. It is fine for Christians to hold different opinions about theological matters, but the gospel must come first!

Can I do it? Can you do it? Can we work with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to promote the gospel, even if they go to different churches than us? Even if they believe differently about baptism or predestination or eternal security or the end times or the rapture? The challenge is real, but the Word of God, through Paul, calls us to it.


Fausset, A. (n. .d). Commentary on Philippians 1. Retrieved from

Guzik, D. (2006). Study guide for Philippians 1. Retrieved from

Henry, M. (n. d.). Commentary on Philippians 1. Retrieved from 

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