"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have."
Paul, The Apostle of Grace
Not only was Paul suffering through his imprisonment for sharing the good news of God's grace freely given to us in Jesus, but so were the Philippian people. The Philippian people had fully embraced the truths of grace which Paul taught. However, just as with Paul, those still holding tightly to the old covenant of law persecuted them.
In the face of these persecutions, Paul encouraged the Philippian believers to conduct themselves in a way that reflected that the gospel of grace was deserving of being defended and protected against those seeking to discredit and destroy it. They would do this as one family by standing up for the good news of grace, standing together for the good news of grace, and standing boldly for the good news of grace that God had kindly given to them in Christ.
Paul did not want the Philippian people to be intimidated in any way by the religious people in their city who opposed God's good news of grace. Intimidation was a common practice by the religious people of Paul's day who continued to live under the law rather than under grace. Through intimidation, threats, slander, and criticism, they attempted to silence those who embraced grace.
Paul understood intimidation. He was once the leading intimidator toward those who believed Jesus was the Christ as prophesized in the Old Testament. But now, this great intimidator had become the great communicator of grace and was encouraging the Philippian people to stand up, stand together, and stand boldly for the good news of grace, and if necessary, suffer for it.
Maybe there are people in your city, church, small group, Bible class, seminary, discipleship group, family, religious organization, cult, etc... who are intimidating you because you fully embrace the good news of grace in all of its truth. They are seeking to silence you with threats, persecution, and slander. Like Paul, you may suffer because you embrace and share the good news about grace. But it has been "granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him."
Follow Paul's advice: Don't be afraid of them in any way. The good news of God's grace is worthy of being shared, defended, and protected.
Stand up for it.
Stand together with others for it.
Stand boldly for it.
Suffer for it.
There are still many, many people who need to hear about it.
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