The main theme in the book of Philippians is, to conduct oneself in a manner that is worthy of the Gospel. When this book is examined, one will see how the contents of the book both validate and illustrate this theme.
First, in Philippians 1, Paul mentions this exact thing to the believers saying, “whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ…Then whether I come to see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit…” (Phil 1:27–28, NIV). Here, Paul is encouraging the believers to be unified, show unity to the world, and remain steadfast in the faith, working together for the purpose of spreading the Gospel. The act of unity among believers is worthy of the gospel because when believers are unified, Christ is glorified.
Paul continues to address unity in chapter 2:1–4, emphasizing the idea that working together and caring for others demonstrates Christ’s model of putting others first when he says, “if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ…then make my joy complete by being like minded…being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition…in humility consider others as better than yourselves…you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2:1–4, NIV). To conduct oneself in a manner that is worthy of the Gospel, is to be unified with other believers for the purpose of serving Christ and to be unified, a person must refrain from being selfish and placing their own needs before the needs of others and before the cause of Christ (Phil 2:21, NIV).
In addition, to conduct oneself in a manner that is worthy of the Gospel is to place ones confidence in their faith in Jesus Christ, who He is and what He has done. Paul explains that while the Judaizers put their confidence in the flesh, believing that their laws would bring about salvation, true Christians are those “…who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh…” (Phil 3:3, NIV). Conducting oneself in a manner that is worthy of the Gospel includes recognizing that salvation does not come by means of works or following laws but it is granted to us by grace through faith in Christ Jesus alone.
Furthermore, a person must pursue Christ likeness if they are to conduct themselves in a manner that is worthy of the Gospel. The goal must be to know Christ, be like Him and follow His lead. Paul encourages the Philippians to do just this by following his example of Christ-likeness saying, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14, NIV). When a person pursues Christ likeness, they are essentially looking to conduct themselves in a way that is worthy of the Gospel. Lastly, Paul tells the Philippians, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me—put it into practice…” (Phil 4:9, NIV). A person will not be able to live in a manner that is worthy of the Gospel if they don’t put what they have learned or read into practice and that is what Paul is addressing in Philippians 4:9. He wants the believers to remain firm in their faith so he encourages them to apply everything that they have learned to their lives.
To conclude, according to Philippians, to conduct oneself in a manner that is worthy of the Gospel, a person must know Christ, remain firm in the faith and be unified with other believers by following Christ’s example of humility. One must be confident in their salvation through Jesus Christ, aim to be like Christ and put God’s word into practice.