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holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I can boast because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. (Philippians 2:16)
Paul continues to challenge them to attend steadfastly to the “word of life” – the message of the gospel. The world does not have this word of life, the gospel, and the believers are to take this message out to them. Christ is both the “Light of the world” (John 8:12) and the “Life” (John 14:6). And, as the reflectors of that Light (Life), we are called to make this message known.
Our calling as reflectors of the Light is to take the message of that Light into a dark and hopeless world. As reflectors of the Life, we are to help others see that there is a hope and an answer that is available to those who are blinded by the deceiver.
Paul told the Philippian believers that he was encouraging them to continue to reflect the Light, so that when the Day of Judgment came, Paul would be vindicated in the work that he had bestowed upon the Philippian believers. Paul did not want his life to be useless in the kingdom of God. The word run used here means to progress or advance. The word toil carries the image of working to total exhaustion. Paul is not looking to brag about himself in this last statement, but that he will know that the time and effort spent in directing the Philippian believers were not wasted.
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Holding fast the word of life. Christians must hold fast the word of life (λόγον logon word ζωῆς zōēs of life ἐπέχοντες epechontes holding fast)
The “word of life” is the gospel because it is the message that puts one on the life path. The gospel opposes the atheist and the thousands of other religions, for they have no power that saves anyone from death. The Christian is obligated to proclaim the good news of the kingdom to all the inhabited earth, proclaiming the Word of God, teaching, to make disciples. (Matt. 5:14, 16; 24:14; 28:19-20, Acts 1:8) There is no minimizing the Christian responsibility here. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of the heavens, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in the heavens.” (Matt 7:21) It is not about what we think, feel, or believe, our will; it is about doing the will of the Father. What will most think? Jesus goes on to say, “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ (Matt. 7:22) Many Christians will think that there will of social justice programs is the will of the Father. What will Jesus say, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’” – Matthew 7:23.
So that in the day of Christ I can boast because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. Here is one of the reasons that Christians need to “shine as lights in the world.” The apostle Paul had converted them all, and started their church, in essence, seen as an important figure in the origin and early history of their spiritual growth. He was compassionately interested in the spiritual welfare of the Christians in Philippi. Now, he implores them, advocating his highest joy that they remain faithful and maintain their godly devotion. The day of Christ is the day of judgment, and it is called such because, on that day, Jesus Christ will judge the entire world. Paul also urged the Christians in Corinth to run to win the prize. He said, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24.