In “contending together for the faith” Jefferson Vann explains why our confident declaration of the gospel proves that its opponents will be destroyed when Christ returns.
Philippians 1:27-30 (JDV)
Philippians 1:27 Just one thing: live your lives worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm with one breath, from one throat, contending together for the faith revealed by the gospel,
Philippians 1:28 not being frightened in any way by the opponents. This is proof of destruction to them, but of your rescue – and this is from God.
Philippians 1:29 You see, it has been granted to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in him, but also to endure this for him,
Philippians 1:30 since you are having the same struggle that you saw in my case and now hear in my case.
contending together for the faith
Paul told the Philippian Christians that he only wanted one thing from them. He wanted them to live their lives worthy of the gospel of Christ. He explained that they could do so by contending together for the faith revealed by the gospel, standing firm with one breath, coming as if from one throat.
It is in the context of persecution against the gospel that the Philippians could live their lives worthy of it. Paul had already been imprisoned, so his message to the Philippians came with its own illustration. He was demonstrating the kind of courageous witness that he called the Philippian Christians to mimic.
Paul says that proclaiming the gospel in such an environment of persecution is actually a gift. Not everyone will have the privelege of witnessing to Christ in this way. It is an honour.
Also, Paul says that by declaring the gospel boldly under the fire of enemy opposition, the Philippians will be proof of something called “destruction”(1:28). He is referring to the destruction the persecutors will experience at the end of the age, when Christ returns. And the rescue that the Philippians will experience will happen then, too.
Lord, give us the courage to contend together for the faith, trusting you for our ultimate rescue and vindication.