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.
(Philippians 1:27-28 NIV)
Accountability is a big theme in the Bible. God will hold all believers accountable for how we lived from the moment we were saved until we die [Romans 14:12]. But God also demands that believers hold each other accountable during this life [Luke 17:3, James 5:16, et. al].
Paul wanted the Philippians to know that he would know about how they lived – either by witnessing it in-person or by hearing about it. When we know that we are being watched and evaluated we are more apt to behave the way we’re supposed to. This is true of us when we are children. And it continues to be true throughout adulthood.
Human beings are prone to sin. One way to overcome sin is to have an accountability partner or group. Accountability partners are transparent with each other, confess their sins to each other, pray for each other, and encourage each other.
Knowing that we are being held accountable will encourage us to “stand firm” and “strive together” for the gospel. The Greek word translated “strive together” is συνατηλεο (pronounced: soon-ath-leh’-o) which is derived from the word for “athletics”. The prefix, “soon”, means “together”. The word picture here is of an athletic team working together for a common goal. Paul wants the believers in Philippi to be united in their goal of promoting the gospel through their life style.
When Christians show love, patience, forgiveness, and encouragement to each other we are reflecting the love God has for all people. When the world sees us behave this way they will take notice and will want to be a part of God’s family too.
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