“Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.” (ESV)
When Paul tells the Philippians to “stand firm” here, he could be referring to all of the talk in chapter three against legalism, or about what is to come in the next sentences. Since the last time he used the words in chapter one it was to tell them to be unified, and now he is encouraging members within the church to come together in unity, it is a safe bet Paul wants the church to “stand firm” in unity.
Unity in the body is huge. This issue may be one of the most important facing believers today. The Church has become so fragmented by opinions and theories and opinions and theories are not all bad, but they tend to be secondary. It is when we let our secondary issues become tests of orthodoxy that we lose sight of the only thing that really matters.
Having a thoughtful faith is important. We need to try to understand what we believe and what the teachings of our faith mean for our lives. One of those teachings, here, seems to imply that we need to make unity a big priority. We need to take a stand for it. The Gospel is powerful enough to withstand variations of opinion. The Church in this current “already not yet” state we live in, however, cannot withstand disunity and remain effective.