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Philippians 2:15-16

Philippians 2:15-16
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Philippians 2:15-16, “…you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold fast to the word of life.” (NIV)


The “word of life,” refers most immediately to the Gospel, which is to say, the message that the one crucified in love under the sin and punishment of His enemies is, by His resurrection, revealed—and will be recognized by all—to be Lord and God (Phil.2:6-11). Now, key to Paul’s thinking here is that those who receive this Gospel and believe on the crucified one as Lord and God and so have life in Him (i.e., who “hold fast to the word of life”) will also be conformed to the same image.

“Holding fast to the word of life,” then, does not merely mean preserving doctrinal purity or believing the apostolic Gospel as preserved in Scripture (though that is necessary), more than this, it means being shaped into the image of Him who is Life, it means having the same mind as Him (Phil 2:6), so that our lives take on the “form” of His life…and that shape is cruciform.

Disciples of Christ shine as lights in a dark world *not* by attaining political recognition, *not* by preserving cultural influence and prestige, *not* by maintaining an arbitrary set of “rights,” *not* by their “victorious” lives of plenty, and *not* by strong-arming opponents into agreement….Disciples of Christ shine as lights when they hold fast to and so look like the One manifest in the Word of Life, that is, when they live lives of cruciform love: lives that pour themselves out and bear reproach and give their backs to be beaten and their faces to be spit on so that the ones who reproach and beat and spit might know God in Christ and live.

I do not say this from a place of arrival, but from a place of journey…may the Lord give us all grace and wisdom and boldness to have the mind and heart and mouth and hands of Christ, and to know what that looks like in our given contexts…