Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 1

God’s people do not need to be afraid of their enemies

Philippians 1:28

Paul urged the Christians in Philippi not to be afraid of those who opposed them. Even when Paul originally established the church there, some people had opposed him cruelly (Acts 16:19-24). Afterwards, those problems continued for the people who had become Christians there. Often, life was neither easy nor comfortable for the first Christians (Hebrews 13:13). They had to trust God continuously, because they would not have been strong enough without him. In that way, even the poorest and weakest Christians received help, strength and comfort from him.

Those Christians were not afraid of their enemies because they depended upon God. They believed that God is stronger and more powerful than any enemy. The difficulties in their lives mattered little because God has power over those circumstances (4:11-13). The worst things that their enemies could do, could only affect them during their short lives in this world (Matthew 10:28). However, God has promised them a wonderful home with him in heaven (John 14:1-2; Philippians 1:21-23). So, their life with Christ will never end (John 3:16; John 10:10; John 11:25-26), and that is much better than anything in this world (2 Corinthians 4:17).

So, even during their worst troubles, Christians knew hope and even joy (2:17-18). That impressed other people greatly, both the other Christians and their enemies. The Christians considered that their attitude during their troubles was clear evidence of God’s work in their lives. However, for the enemies, it was evidence that they (the enemies) truly were opposing God. Their own actions showed them that God's judgement was against them (compare Romans 1:18-21 and 2 Corinthians 2:14-16).

Next part: To suffer for Christ is the gift of God (Philippians 1:29)


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