Kingdom Citizens Part 2

Kingdom Citizens Part 2
“And not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.” - Philippians 1:28–30

In Philippians 1:27, Paul began exhorting the Philippian congregation to live as kingdom citizens. They were to seek good reputations, stand fast in unity, and strive together. In verses 28-30, Paul continues his exhortation.

Since we are standing and striving together into battle, we know some in the world will oppose us in our goal of proclaiming the gospel. Persecution was common in the early church. It was expected. And while it may not be in the same physical ways today, the church is still being persecuted. As kingdom citizens, we should not fear the world's opposition. Rather, we should stay steady when opposed (Philippians 1:28) and suffer faithfully (Philippians 1:29-30).

We stay steady when opposed, and in the face of fear, we resolve ourselves to perform God's will. From this persecution, we learn a comforting truth. This opposition, Paul says, is a sign or "evident token" of our salvation. We gain assurance of our salvation in our hearts from persecution, aiding in our further resolve. For the persecutor, however, our steady nature and resolve to continue standing for the gospel points to their further judgement unless they repent and come to know the Lord.

Furthermore, we must continue to faithfully represent the gospel no matter the results. Suffering is something that has been foretold and granted to us. In John 15:18-21, Jesus tells His disciples that a servant is not greater than his master, and if they persecute the master, the servant should expect the same. The same is true of followers of Jesus today. But this suffering is a gift granted to us, even as our belief was given. It is during the struggles, temptations, and suffering that we grow the most. So let us suffer faithfully for the gospel like Paul, who was incarcerated for the truth of the gospel, suffering opposition and persecution to further the kingdom.

Some in the early church came to believe the gospel message as they saw the conviction of the persecuted – those who were willing to be put to death. While it may not be as extreme as death in most of the world today, our actions could be the means God uses to bring another brother or sister into the kingdom. And what a testimony that would be! So do not give into the world or fear. Continue to stay steady when opposed and suffer faithfully as kingdom citizens.