Summary: In this passage, the apostle gives four characteristics of believers who live in “1 Spirit” of Christ in their: 1) Status in Christ (Philippians 1:27a), 2) Standing firm in Him (Philippians 1:27b); 3) Sharing with one another because of Him (Philippians
Try to imagine yourself in the role of a mum or dad living in the 1920s, before our modern means of communication were readily available to everyone. You are standing on the platform of a railway station, and your seventeen-year-old daughter is leaning out of a train window. The whistle blows and you know that any minute your little girl will be leaving you to go on a long journey hundreds of miles away to a foreign country. You are naturally very anxious about her because you know very little about the people she is going to work for. They have no phone and your only means of communicating with your daughter is going to be by letters, which will take many days to reach her. What are your parting words going to be as the train starts to move away? I suspect they will be something like, ‘Goodbye, darling. Look after yourself, and whatever happens …’ Well, what would you say? ‘Whatever happens …’—what? In other words, what one thing would you want her to do, or refrain from doing, while she was in that far-off land?
Paul was in a similar situation. He was writing what might prove to be his final communication to his friends at Philippi. He knew that it was possible that he would soon be taken outside the prison and be executed. On the other hand, he might be set free and allowed to visit them once again. So what message does he give the believers at Philippi? He tells them, ‘Whatever happens [whether I live or die], conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ’ (1:27) (Bentley, M. (1997). Shining in the Darkness: Philippians Simply Explained. Welwyn Commentary Series (53–54). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.).
For each of us, a new year means new opportunity. For us to best utilize the time that we have we must recognize the tremendous opportunities and resources at our disposal. We must be consistent in our resolve and look out and care for each other. Our mutual determination will change us and our world for God’s glory.
In this passage, the apostle gives four characteristics of believers who live in “1 Spirit” of Christ in their: 1) Status in Christ (Philippians 1:27a), 2) Standing firm in Him (Philippians 1:27b); 3) Sharing with one another because of Him (Philippians 1:27c); and 4) Striving together in obedience to Him (Philippians 1:27d)
1) Status in Christ (Philippians 1:27a)
Philippians 1:27 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) (ESV) “We’ll spend most of our time in this section”
Because he believed it was necessary for their spiritual well-being, Paul was confident that the Lord would allow him to “remain and continue with [them] for [their] progress and joy in the faith, so that [their] proud confidence in [him] may abound in Christ Jesus through [his] coming to [them] again” (1:25–26). But regardless of what happened to him, he implored, Only let your manner of life/conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ…. What truly mattered was their consistent, holy conduct. The emphatic position with the adverb “only” states Paul’s purpose for which he desires to remain alive. Whatever may happen, make this your chief business (KJV Bible Commentary. 1994 (E. E. Hindson & W. M. Kroll, Ed.) (2435). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.).
This “manner of life/conduct” (Politeuomai) is the main verb in Philippians 1, which in the Greek is a single sentence. It comes from the root word polis (city), which in earlier times usually referred to the city-states to which inhabitants gave their primary allegiance. The verb carries the basic meaning of being a citizen. To the ancient Greeks, the state (ἡ πόλις) was by no means merely a place to live. It was rather a sort of partnership (κοινωνίαν τινά) formed with a view to having people attain the highest of all human goods (so Aristotle, Pol. 1252a). Here in the state the individual citizen developed his gifts and realized his potential, not in isolation but in cooperation. Here he was able to maximize his abilities, not by himself or for himself but in community and for the good of the community (see Beare). As a consequence, mutuality and interdependence were important ideas inhering in the concept of πόλις. πολιτεύεσθαι, “to live as a citizen,” therefore, meant for the Greek (and later the Roman) rights and privileges but also duties and responsibilities. To the Jew the idea of πόλις had as its focal point the “city of the great king” (Ps 48:2; cf. Matt 5:32). Originally Jerusalem was this ideal city, localized and restricted in scope. But under the influence of psalmist and prophet the concept of “city” was expanded until Jerusalem was not only home for every member of the commonwealth of Israel but a spiritual fellowship into which the nations of the world eventually would enter (cf. Ps 87), a universal center of worship of Israel’s God, the God of the whole earth (Isa 66:20; Amos 9:11–12; Zech 14:8–11; see Winter, Seek the Welfare of the City, esp. 98–100, on Phil 1:27–2:18) (Hawthorne, G. F. (2004). Vol. 43: Philippians. Word Biblical Commentary (69). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.).