|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:27-30 Those who profess the gospel of Christ, should live as becomes those who believe gospel truths, submit to gospel laws, and depend upon gospel promises. The original word conversation denotes the conduct of citizens who seek the credit, safety, peace, and prosperity of their city. There is that in the faith of the gospel, which is worth striving for; there is much opposition, and there is need of striving. A man may sleep and go to hell; but he who would go to heaven, must look about him and be diligent. There may be oneness of heart and affection among Christians, where there is diversity of judgment about many things. Faith is God's gift on the behalf of Christ; the ability and disposition to believe are from God. And if we suffer reproach and loss for Christ, we are to reckon them a gift, and prize them accordingly. Yet salvation must not be ascribed to bodily afflictions, as though afflictions and worldly persecutions deserved it; but from God only is salvation: faith and patience are his gifts.
Verse 28. - And in nothing terrified by your adversaries; literally, snared, as a frightened horse. Which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation; translate, seeing that it (your courage) is to them an evident token of perdition, but (with the best manuscripts) of your salvation. And that of God. These words are to be taken with "an evident token." The courage of God's saints in the midst of dangers is a proof of his presence and favor, a token of final victory (comp. 2 Thessalonians 1:5).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And in nothing terrified by your adversaries,.... Not by Satan, though a roaring lion, for Christ is greater than he; nor by the world which Christ has overcome; nor by false teachers, though men of art and cunning; nor by violent persecutors, who can do no more than kill, the body; let not the power, the rage, the cunning, or the violence of one or the other, move, discourage, or affright from a close attachment to the Gospel and the truths of it:
which is to them an evident token of perdition; when men wilfully oppose themselves to the truth, and show a malicious hatred to it, and hold it in unrighteousness, and either turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, or persecute it with rage and fury, it looks as if they were given up to reprobate minds, to say and do things not convenient; as if they were foreordained to condemnation; and were consigned over to destruction and perdition; and very rare it is, that such persons are ever called by grace:
but to you of salvation; when men are reproached and ridiculed, are threatened and persecuted for the sake of the Gospel, and are enabled to take all patiently, and persevere in the truth with constancy, it is a manifest token that such are counted worthy of the kingdom of God; that God has a design of salvation for them, and that they shall be saved with an everlasting one: so that the different effects of the opposition of the one, and the constancy of the other, are made use of as so many reasons why the saints should not be terrified by their enemies: it is added,
and that of God; meaning either that the whole of this is of God, as that there are adversaries, heretics, and persecutors; this is by divine permission, and in order to answer some ends and purpose of God, and the perdition or everlasting punishment of such persons will be righteously inflicted upon them by him; and that the constancy, faith, patience, and perseverance of the saints and their salvation, are all of God: or it particularly respects the latter, the salvation of those who persevere to the end; this is not of themselves, or merited by their constancy, patience, and perseverance, but is God's free gift. The Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, join this clause to the beginning of Philippians 1:29, thus, "and this is given of God to you", &c.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
28. terrified—literally, said of horses or other animals startled or suddenly scared; so of sudden consternation in general.
which—your not being terrified.
evident token of perdition—if they would only perceive it (2Th 1:5). It attests this, that in contending hopelessly against you, they are only rushing on to their own perdition, not shaking your united faith and constancy.
to you of salvation—The oldest manuscripts read, "of your salvation"; not merely your temporal safety.
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