Stand Up for the Truth

Paul urged the Philippians to be true citizens of the Kingdom of God. Whatever the cost to them in persecution from the enemies of the gospel, they must stand together for the truth. The Greek word Paul uses which is translated as ‘conversation’ literally means ‘citizenship’. Remember that Philippi was a Roman colony and very proud of its civic arrangements (Acts 16:12,21). Paul’s choice of words reminds the brethren and sisters that they are not concerned with the politics of the earth but with the citizenship of heaven (Acts 3:20). God’s servants are strangers and pilgrims for the time being, looking forwards to “a city which has foundations whose builder and maker is God” (Heb 11:10,13-16).

Christadelphians, because they do not vote for any political party or fight for any regime anywhere, are a truly international community. There is no risk of one brother fighting against another brother on opposite sides of a political divide and brothers and sisters cannot be refused entry to a country on political grounds. This does not mean that in all other respects they ignore the laws of each country. Rather they are at pains to be subject to authorities and obey their laws, so long as these are not in conflict with higher laws of God (Rom 13:1-7; John 18:36; Acts 5:29). Here Paul is emphasizing that as citizens of God’s Kingdom, the way we live must be a true reflection of the teaching of the one whom God has anointed as its King.

How vividly the Philippians would have remembered the beating in their city and the way they were flung into the prison and fastened in stocks. The jailor later washed their wounds immediately before he washed away his own sins in baptism (Acts 16:22,23).

Today it is not easy in some countries to stand for the truth. Many brethren and sisters have to live out their belief in the face of considerable pressures of one kind or another. Even in those countries where there has been a strong Christian tradition, what is taught as traditional Christianity bears little relationship to the Bible as often it is more concerned with social aims. In schools a multi-cultural approach has resulted in Christian facts being looked upon as an interesting option amongst a whole range of world religions and lifestyles. The Christian view of family life is no longer the norm. For most people economic and material prosperity now are far more important than citizenship of the Kingdom of God. In seeking to understand the true nature of the gospel taught by Christ and the apostles, we shall have to live with scorn and derision, for we are very unfashionable – for we are considered narrow-minded for not going along with the majority. Persecution could be around the corner.

Bro David and Sis Jacklyne Wanjala (Chwele, Kenya)

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