This is Part 2 of a series on Philippians 2. You can read Part 1 here.
Philippians 2 begins with a call for unity as followers of Christ. Paul is asking his readers in the church at Philippi to be unified, to work together for the good news of the gospel. The same thing is asked of us today as we read this passage.
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in His Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. (vs 1-2)
Paul emphasizes the reasons why we should be unified in these verses. He points out what forms the foundation of our unity as believers in Christ.
We have been united with Christ. When we choose to accept the gift God offers us through His Son, we are united with Christ. The One who paid the debt of our sins for us. This is the reality for all of us who claim to follow Christ.
We are all loved by God. And that love is equal for each of us because we are His creation. We are all equal before God and He loves us all the same. We don't have to do anything to try to earn His love. He loves us anyways. There is comfort in that. And it puts us all on level ground as believers.
We all have the Holy Spirit in us. When we accepted God's gift we were given the Holy Spirit. All of us have the Holy Spirit in us to guide us and give us wisdom if we choose to listen.
Because of the great gifts we have been given by God, we are filled with tenderness and compassion towards others. We have received tenderness and compassion from God and it begins to flow out of us and change the way we interact with others.
Paul is telling the church at Philippi that these are reasons why they should be united - "being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind." He's not telling them they all have to be exactly the same. Paul is saying that the motive and the reason behind what they do should be the same.
As followers of Christ, we should all have the same purpose, we should all be working towards the same thing - even if the specifics of how we do it looks different.
Unity doesn't mean clones. It doesn't mean everyone does exactly the same thing in the same way. It means we are all working together, in our own way and roles, toward a common purpose. That is the unity Paul is speaking of here.