Ukraine Relief Fund

A Worthy Life

Philippians 1.27-30
27 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 28 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. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

A Worthy Life

Because salvation is a gift that cannot be earned, Christians instinctively deflect thoughts of worthiness or attaining God’s favour based on performance. But this does not mean performance is unimportant. In Philippians 1.27 Paul clearly challenges Christians to live in a manner worthy of the gospel’. What does this mean?

Paul was an adamant preacher of the gospel of grace – the good news of salvation through Christ on the basis of faith. He was often combatting works righteousness – the notion that anyone can achieve right standing with God on the basis of good works. He does this explicitly in Philippians chapter 3 when he rights that he does not have ‘a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith’ (Phil. 3.9).

So here’s the question: if righteousness comes through faith, what is the purpose of good works? What does it mean to live a worthy life?

Paul answers this in Philippians 1.27-30. To live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ is to strive together as one for the faith of the gospel. To strive together is a compound word in the Greek that means both unity and striving; that is, striving together is to cooperate vigorously. This is done ‘in one Spirit’. Other components of this striving for the faith of the gospel include being without fear (v. 28) while facing persecution.

All of the phrases Paul uses to describe this worthy life relate to gospel advance. For Paul, living a life worthy of the gospel is to devote one’s life to the ministry of the gospel. If we have been saved through the gospel, the least we can do is share that message with others.

Paul understands that time, talent and treasure invested in gospel advance is not wasted. It is those able to pierce through the temporality that marks our age to devote our lives to eternal things. Everything we do for gospel advance – striving together for the faith of the gospel without fear – everything counts.

Remember: We bring no worthiness into our relationship with God. But as those God has saved, a worthy life is one devoted to gospel advance. And this honours God.




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