It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
Paul’s heart was filled with joy and warmth every time he remembered the believers of Philippi. I’m sure his prayers were filled with smiles and tears for them. Having brothers and sisters like this who have your back like they did was a treasure far greater than gold. It’s was a comfort and a peace. When everyone else kind of checked out, they checked in, beyond their ability.
And how were they bonded together?
Yes, they were bonded together through their expressions of love financially. Jesus said “where your treasure is there your heart will be also” (Mt 6:21). As one of my friends who is a professional fund-raiser told me, “Never hold back giving people the opportunity to invest in the kingdom because it’s about their relationship to the Lord.” And for the Philippians they understood deeply that giving was great “privilege” (2 Cor 8:4). Giving creates bonds.
Yes, they bonded together in the ministry. They worked together seeing a church planted among the people of Philippi. They both suffered various situations for the gospel. And they labored together, even sending one of their own, Epahproditus, to labor with Paul. They had the companionship of co-sufferers for Jesus.
But the Scriptures say they were bonded in another way as well:
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart, for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me
It was the grace of God that bonded them together. They were co-shares of the grace of God through Jesus.
Grace is powerful for relationships.
Grace is the ability to make a lot of mistakes without it changing the relationship and in the faith, this is made possible through the death of Christ.
Being sharers of God’s grace bonds us together.
Those outside of grace do not get this privilege.
Those outside of God’s grace make mistakes that are counted against them.
Those outside of God’s grace find themselves straining for a very good life they cannot achieve.
Those outside of God’s grace have reduced love in relationships.
But we are not in that boat. We are carried along by grace. And because God has given this great grace, we have great grace for one another. Great grace.
It doesn’t mean at times we don’t set boundaries. It doesn’t mean we don’t call sin for what it is. It doesn’t mean we avoid speaking the truth. God does this.
But it does mean that love is secure.
“all of you share in God’s grace with me”
It bonds under a mutual bond of joy. Something that connects the saints together around the world.