Because of Christ
Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.
Society emphasizes diversity and tends to categorize people into groups. Biblical Christianity does the opposite, allowing Christians to maintain individual identity and soul-liberty. They have a commonness in Christ, which surpasses all socio-economic and cultural identity. This unity in Christ is one of the main themes found in Philippians. In Philippians 1, we learn there is joy in living for Christ. In Philippians 2, we learn there is joy in biblical unity. All this is possible because of Christ’s sacrifice and example. Secular unity only unifies to gain something: often related to power, control, intimidation, and ultimately the loss of someone’s freedom. Biblical unity is far different from what the world offers. It is obtained willingly and without force, allowing believers to maintain their individuality while embracing the fundamentals of the faith.
Philippians 2:1 begins with the word “if.” In the Greek, this means since or fact: “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies.” We can know it is a fact because of Christ.
There are four practical benefits of biblical Christianity. Philippians 2:1: “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies.”
1. Because of Christ, there is consolation. Consolation (paraklesis) - encouragement. The root meaning is to come alongside to give assistance, comfort, counsel, or exhortation. We see the example of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37. Spiritual and physical attacks come to us via the world, the flesh, and the devil. It is discouraging and exhausting to withstand these attacks. God is the one who gives us encouragement. 1 John 4:4: “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
2. Because of Christ, there is comfort. Comfort (paramuthion) - consolation. It is close to that of paraklesis (consolation or encouragement). Both words convey a close relationship marked by true concern, helpfulness, and love. God grants this to unworthy sinners in the grace of salvation. He continuously bestows this love on believers, who in turn show love toward other believers by encouraging the weak and oppressed.
3. Because of Christ, there is affection. Affection (splanchna)- literally the bowels, a metaphor for the emotions.
4. Because of Christ, there are mercies. Mercies (oiktirmos) - compassion. Paul uses mercies twice for the compassion of God. Romans 12:1: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” 2 Corinthians 1:3: “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.” We receive compassion because of Christ, and He enables us to have compassion for others.
There are three marks of Christian unity. Philippians 2:2: “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” There is a camaraderie and fellowship. We are never alone. We are part of a team.
Love (agape) - intentional love, choosing the welfare of another over our own (Romans 12:1-14).
One accord (sumpsuchos) - unified, one-souled, united in spirit. This means living in harmony, allowing no room for personal ambition, selfishness, hatred, envy, or jealousy. True biblical unity is based on being grounded in the Word of God.
One mind (to auto-phronete) - being of one mind, to think the same thing, or to be like-minded. This is essential to spiritual unity. Paul is not talking about doctrine or moral standards, but about actively striving to achieve common understanding and genuine agreement.
Every believer is a temple of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”
The Holy Spirit seals the believers eternal inheritance. Ephesians 1:13-14: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 4:30: “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” 2 Corinthians 1:22: “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”
The Holy Spirit is the source of our spiritual power. Acts 1:8: “ But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
The Holy Spirit is the source of spiritual gifts. I Corinthians 12:4-11: “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” Romans 12:6-8: “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”
The Holy Spirit develops spiritual fruit in us. Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness and makes intercession for us. Romans 8:26: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
The Holy Spirit fills us. Ephesians 5:18: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”
Life can be cruel and harsh. It is Christ that makes life bearable, worthwhile, and purposeful. If you do not know Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, call upon Him to save you. Romans 10:9-10: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” As believers, remember to float in His grace, rejoice through the onslaughts, and know our victory is in Christ.