The Power of Grace Ministries

January 14

Being like-minded as a Christian is not acting like each other, and it certainly is not dressing alike. God does not want a bunch of robotic “Stepford” Christians like the wives were in the move The Stepford Wives. He already had that and their true name is called Angles. God wants us to have a corporate mind of Christ which is to love unconditionally and reach others for the kingdom, and in doing so we can have fellowship with our God and each other while enjoying our differences. 

 

Philippians 2:1-2
“1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”

For starters I want to point out the word “if” which is used four times in verse 1.  In our vocabulary the word “if” denotes a question and Christians often read verse 1 as though it has four questions.  If this truly is a verse with four questions then the question truly lies on whether Christ “WILL” console us, WILL comfort us, WILL have fellowship with us, and WILL have affection and mercy on us.  When verse 1 is read as four questions, then verse 2 would be the “how” to receive the promises in verse 1.  This is just another area Christians often stumble over the word of God since most of us do not have any understanding of the Greek language and therefore rest solely on the translation. When we look at verse 1 as four questions and the “how” to receive the four promises is in verse 2, then the overwhelming thought would be; Christians must become like minded, must have the same kind of love, must be in one accord, and must be of one mind with each other in order to receive the four promises.  This would fall under works and would be contrary to the gospel of grace.  In the Greek language the clause “if” does not begin a question, but was used for strong emphasis for a following statement.  We should therefore read verse 1in the following manor, “Therefore since there is consolation in Christ, since He comforts with love, since there is fellowship of the Spirit, since He has affection and mercy. (Words in Bold, mine) At the time of our conversion we receive everything we need, (Ephesians 1:3 God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places).  In the NIV the word comfort is translated “encouragement”, which is a major understatement to say we are encouraged by Jesus. Remembering He gave His life for us so we could have direct access to the Father and receive the Holy Spirit.  That is true comfort – which is peace far beyond just encouragement.  

Paul is not encouraging the Philippians to think alike, he is suggesting they have the mind set of putting others first ahead of self and not seeking their own welfare.  We have been given the mind of Christ as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 2:16, but we also have been using our natural human sinful nature thinking for most of our lives.  This is why Paul encourages us to renew our minds daily, Romans 12:2.  Throughout Christian history, denominations and individual churches have taught the unity of thinking instead of kingdom first thinking.  Paul’s joy was the unity of the body of Christ with each believer’s first concern being the kingdom of God.  He changed his own thinking after his Damascus road experience from one of arrogance and superiority to one of bondservant of Jesus, and servant to all man both Jew and Greek.  This change of heart and mind gave him exceeding joy as he saw others come into the same revelation and walk with Christ.  Verse 2 is actually an encouragement to enter into the same mind of Christ as Paul has and to witness the same joy for ourselves as we begin to put others first above self, drawing new believers into their own walk with Christ.  Paul is trying to help us see the joy associated in entering into the great commission of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.