Monday, October 3, 2011

The Grounds of Unity

We have been preaching through Philippians and 2:1 is not an easy verse to interpret. 

If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
After studying it for a while, I concluded that the "consolation in Christ" mentioned here as well as the "comfort of love" were not speaking of something we could do for other believers, but rather something that Christ did and does to believers.  The consolation and comfort of love comes FROM Christ directly.

I know you may have heard it preached that we give the consolation and comfort of love because or by encouraging people about Christ.....but I don't believe this is what the verse means.  Verse 1 is the "grounds of Unity" - it is speaking of two People and what they do to give a foundation for unity:  Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

Listen to John MacArthur's commentary on the verse:  "Consolation" can also be translated "encouragement,"...which our beloved Lord does for His own.  comfort of love...portrays the Lord coming close and wihispering words of gentle cheer or tender counsel in a believer's ear."

I agree with this understanding and I think that is very clear when we understand that the "ifs" of the verse are assumptions of why we can always have unity in a local church.  Christ and the Holy Spirit's are always present in a true church.  These are non-variables and the "grounds" of unity.


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