February 28, 2016

Defending and Confirming the Gospel – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“…I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.” (Philippians 1:7)

I’ve just returned from an effort in Oklahoma, defending the truth from attacks against our Creator, promoted as propaganda in most of our colleges and universities. That’s nothing like being in prison, as Paul was, but I can relate to his thoughts toward the Philippians as I anticipate being with my brethren in Hot Springs tomorrow.

Paul was writing this letter in chains because he had been defending and confirming the gospel. Later in this chapter he says this was his job. “…I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;” (Philippians 1:16). It’s our job, too. The same word is used by Peter when he exhorts Christians, “always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you,…” (I Peter 3:15).

The term “gospel” is used comprehensively. It involves all the essential truths associated with and founded on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:1-3). It is used this way when Paul rebuked the Jews’ misunderstanding of the role of circumcision. He claimed this was a gospel issue and “did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.” (Galatians 2:5). Paul taught that immorality, including homosexuality, is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel,” (I Timothy 1:10-11).

Therefore, “defending the gospel” is defending revealed truth comprehensively related to Christianity, which is founded on the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. When we fail to do so, we fail to do our job.

Martin Luther, who was viciously attacked for defending truths distorted by the Catholic Church, pointedly emphasized the Christian’s responsibility when he said…

“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest expression every portion of the truth of God, except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not professing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ.”

Paul was also imprisoned for “confirming” the gospel. The word is translated from a word that means…

“…process of establishing or confirming something, confirmation, validationconfirmation, establishment of the gospel Phil 1:7;” (BDAG)

Expositors Bible Commentary says, “Defending and confirming the gospel” could be understood as negative and positive aspects of Paul’s preaching ministry—i.e., defending the gospel from attacks and proclaiming its message with proofs.”

Christianity is foolishly misunderstood by both those who oppose and many who practice Christianity, when they consider it irrational. Paul says the gospel is that which can and must be defended and proved. This is not merely a job for certain theological or scientific specialists, however. Paul said the Philippians were “partakers” of this grace (literally “convinced co-participants”). Real “partakers” do not just go along for the ride but are firmly committed and fully comprehending supporters.

Consider the comments on this point in the Pillar New Testament Commentary. “Paul’s reference to the defense and confirmation of the gospel could be interpreted as a way of describing his entire vocation: his whole life was dedicated to the defense of the gospel. … While he was in chains, defending and confirming the gospel, they shared with him. So Paul commends them in the final phrase of this sentence: all of you share in God’s grace with me. This phrase gives the reason for Paul’s joyful gratitude and heartfelt affection for them: because they all shared with him.”

The brethren at Hot Springs support my efforts to defend and confirm the gospel. I deeply appreciate it. I believe God does as well.

“For they went out for the sake of the Name…Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth.” (III John 7-8)

 

 

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