#DailyDevotion Living As Citizens Of The Kingdom
Phil. 127But live as citizens worthy of the good news of Christ so that, whether I come and see you or stay away, I will hear you are standing firm, one in spirit, and fighting side by side like one man for the faith in the good news. 28Don’t let your enemies frighten you in any way. This is how you prove to them that they will be destroyed and you will be saved, and this proof is from God. 29It is given to you to be for Christ, not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for Him 30as you have the same struggle you once saw me have and now hear that I have.
Now Philippi was a Roman colony. It was a retirement community for Roman soldiers who had earned their citizenship by retiring from the Roman army in good standing. Because of this Paul will often use military language and Roman citizenship language when writing to them. It was a language they could understand.
So when Paul says to live as citizens worthy of the good news of Christ he is striking a couple of chords with this congregation. For one he is telling them to live as good citizens of Rome. He expects them to live honorable lives that fellow citizens would look at and praise. These people had already earned their citizenship so it was very important to them. Secondly, they have now also, through the good news of Jesus Christ, been made citizens of the kingdom of God. Therefore they should also live such good lives up and above Roman citizenship that their fellows will wonder what is up with them.
Paul encourages them like good Roman soldiers to stand firm in faith, one in spirit, and fighting side by side for the faith in the good news; more soldier talk from St. Paul to move them to be one with Christ and one with one another in the good news. As St. Paul also tells us in Ephesians 4, 3“Do your best to keep the oneness of the Spirit by living together in peace: 4one body and one Spirit – even as you have been called to share one hope – 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, Who rules over us all, works through us all, and lives in us all.” There is only one faith not many faiths in Christ Jesus. There is only one body. So in Philippian talk, they have one cause to fight for, one army to fight with. The cause is the good news that in Christ Jesus we have the free gift of the forgiveness of sins. The cause is the good news that we were granted citizenship freely for Christ’s sake by his death and resurrection.
To these retired soldiers he encourages them not to be frightened by anything. Certainly these guys have seen the worst of war. Sometimes they have been the worst of war. But now in Christ, they may be called to suffer with Christ for their faith in him. They will not be suffering alone, for Jesus suffers with them. They have they example of Paul who is suffering the same fate, persecution for his testimony of Jesus Christ. They, like we, are not only called to have faith in Jesus but to suffer with Jesus as he sees fit. We too are called to fight side by side with one another in prayer, meditation, encouragement, study and living out the faith. We too may be called to suffer as St. Paul, Jesus and the Philippian Christians were called to suffer. We too then will win the prize set before us, eternal life in the kingdom of God, citizens of heaven and children of God the Father.
Heavenly Father, give us greater faith and the power of the Holy Spirit to fight the good fight of faith and to stay faithful to your son Jesus Christ when suffering for his name’s sake, through Jesus Christ our LORD who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever, Amen.