March 10, 2022 • By Ed Wrather
Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. – Philippians 1:27-28 NKJV.
The NIV puts Philippians 1:27-28 as: “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 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.”
The letter to the Philippians was written by the apostle Paul while he was under house arrest for two years in Rome. Paul is wanting those believers in Philippi to be faithful in living according to Christian principles whether he could visit them again or not. Being a Christian and practicing their faith in a city that worshiped Caesar and several other false deities was difficult. Paul says to them, and I believe to us “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ….”
In Ukraine, believers are facing horrific situations where simply surviving to live another day is difficult. Yesterday, the Russians targeted a maternity hospital, one of 18 hospitals they have attacked since the war began. The Russians agree to a ceasefire and to an evacuation route and then they bomb or shoot those trying to evacuate. This is what the Nazis did during WWII.
As I shared on Facebook, my wife's aunt Blondine Pruet (Married Jeanie's uncle who was in the US Army.) told her about when she, her mother and sister were trying to leave Belgium for a safer place in France. The Nazis announced a safe evacuation route for civilians and then the Nazis bombed and strafed them. Blondine was shot in her foot and eventually made it to a hospital in France. Her mother was shot in her stomach and taken to hospital in Belgium. They never saw her sister again. It took months, but Blondine and her mother were finally reunited by the Red Cross.
Putin and his army are just as bad as Hitler and the Nazis! Putin claims they are denazifying Ukraine when the reality is that the Russians are the ones acting like Nazis. For the Ukrainian’s “conduct (to) be worthy of the gospel of Christ” must be challenging.
The NIV begins Philippians 1:27 as: “Whatever happens” and Paul is talking about whatever happens to him, but he is saying the same as to how the Philippians are to live their lives. “Whatever happens” they are to let their “conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ….” The apostle has an additional word for the Philippians believers, and I believe for those in Ukraine today, that they should live as God wants them to live “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.”
The fact of the situation in our world today and in your world today is that we do not know what is going to happen today, much less tomorrow. Only the Lord knows. So, let us determine now that “whatever happens” that we are going to live as God would want us to live regardless of the good or bad that comes into our lives.