Philippians 1:29
For to you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(29) For (or, because) unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ.—The force lies, first, in the phrase “it is given” (rather, it was given, from the beginning)—for the original signifies “it was granted as a privilege” or “favour” (as in Acts 27:24; 1Corinthians 2:12; Galatians 3:18)—and next in the words “on behalf of Christ.” The fearlessness of the Christian is a gift of God, not an inherent stoic self-sufficiency. It rests indeed upon the sense that it is a privilege to suffer (see Acts 5:41) in the cause of truth, yet still more on the belief that such suffering is for no abstract principle, but on behalf of Christ and with Christ. (See Philippians 2:17-18.)

Not only to believe . . .—The original shows that St. Paul speaks as if he originally intended simply to say “it is given on behalf of Christ to suffer.” But to show whence the impulse of that brave willingness to suffer proceeds, he inserts “not only to believe on Him,” and then finishes the sentence, “but on His behalf to suffer.”

Php 1:29-30. For unto you it is given Εχαρισθη, it is granted as a favour, in the behalf of Christ, on account of his merits and intercession, and for the promotion of his cause and interest, not only to believe on him, (faith itself, as well as Christ and his truth, the objects of it, being the free gift of God,) but also to suffer for his sake — This, as well as your faith, and the blessings which you receive by faith, is granted you as a special token of God’s love to you, and of your being in the way of salvation. The apostle wished the Philippians to consider their sufferings for Christ as an honour, and an important means of good, and to rejoice in them. Thus it is said of Peter and John, Acts 5:41; They departed from the council rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. Having the same kind of conflict with your adversaries. The word αγωνα, here rendered conflict, is the general name by which the Greeks expressed all the different combats in their games. And because in these contests the contenders struggled long and hard for victory, the word was applied to express any sort of trial or trouble, to which men exposed themselves in the course of their pursuits: which ye saw in me when I was with you, Acts 16:12-19, &c. For the apostle seems principally to allude to the conflict which he sustained at Philippi, on account of the damsel out of whom he had cast the spirit of divination, and whose masters got him scourged, and put in the stocks. Besides this, however, on his second coming to Philippi, after his long residence at Ephesus, he suffered other afflictions, of which the Philippians also were witnesses, 2 Corinthians 7:5. And now hear to be in me — It seems the Philippians had received an account from some of the brethren, who had come from Rome to Philippi, of the apostle’s present conflict with the unbelieving Jews, the Judaizing teachers, and the heathen magistrates. A similar conflict the Philippians themselves sustained, being persecuted for the gospel, and their bitterest persecutors being their own countrymen. 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.For unto you - Unto you as Christians. This favor is granted unto you in your present circumstances.

It is given - God concedes to you this privilege or advantage.

In the behalf of Christ - In the cause of Christ, or with a view to honor Christ. Or, these things are brought on you in consequence of your being Christians.

Not only to believe on him - It is represented here as a privilege to be permitted to believe on Christ. It is so:

(1) It is an honor to a man to believe one who ought to be believed, to trust one who ought to be trusted, to love one who ought to be loved.

(2) it is a privilege to believe on Christ, because it is by such faith that out sins are forgiven; that we become reconciled to God, and have the hope of heaven.

(3) it is a privilege, because it saves the mind from the tortures and the deadly influence of unbelief - the agitation, and restlessness, and darkness, and gloom of a skeptic.

(4) it is a privilege, because we have then a friend to whom we may go in trial, and on whom we may roll all our burdens. If there is anything for which a Christian ought to give unfeigned thanks, it is that he has been permitted to believe on the Redeemer. Let a sincere Christian compare his peace, and joy, and hope of heaven, and support in trials, with the restlessness, uneasiness, and dread of death, in the mind of an unbeliever; and he will see abundant occasion for gratitude.

But also to suffer for his sake - Here it is represented as a privilege to suffer in the cause of the Redeemer - a declaration which may sound strange to the world. Yet this sentiment frequently occurs in the New Testament. Thus, it is said of the apostles Act 5:41, that "they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name;" Colossians 1:24. "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you;" 1 Peter 4:13. "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings;" compare James 1:2; Mark 10:30; see the notes at Acts 5:41. It is a privilege thus to suffer in the cause of Christ:

(1) because we then resemble the Lord Jesus, and are united with him in trials;

(2) because we have evidence that we are his, if trials come upon us in his cause;

(3) because we are engaged in a good cause, and the privilege of maintaining such a cause is worth much of suffering; and,

(4) because it will be connected with a brighter crown and more exalted honor in heaven.

29. For—rather, a proof that this is an evident token from God of your salvation, "Because," &c.

it is given—Greek, "it has been granted as a favor," or "gift of grace." Faith is the gift of God (Eph 2:8), not wrought in the soul by the will of man, but by the Holy Ghost (Joh 1:12, 13).

believe on him—"To believe Him," would merely mean to believe He speaks the truth. "To believe on Him," is to believe in, and trust through, Him to obtain eternal salvation. Suffering for Christ is not only not a mark of God's anger, but a gift of His grace.

For unto you it is given; he adds a further argument to move them unto that he had exhorted, from God’s freely bestowing, of his mere grace, what he had required of them.

In the behalf of Christ; upon the account of Christ’s merit and mediation; not that they could have either evangelical faith, or patience, by virtue of their own strength, Philippians 4:13.

Not only to believe on him; that they did not only believe Christ, but believe on him, was not from any power of their own, John 6:37,44, but of God’s free gift, Ephesians 2:8, as they had an instance amongst them in Lydia, Acts 16:14; unto her and others was this victorious grace of faith freely given by the hearing of the word, which was not unto many others that heard, Matthew 13:11 2 Thessalonians 3:2 Titus 1:1; and as the grace itself was given, so was the exercise of it.

But also to suffer for his sake; upon the account of Christ, patience was given; so that to suffer, here, doth not only import a power to suffer, but actual suffering; not only the habit of faith, but the act of believing, even as the fruits of trees at the first creation were produced, as well as the trees which had a power to bear them: wherefore, if, by the grace of God, and Spirit of faith, they were empowered actually to believe, Mark 9:24 1 Corinthians 15:10 2 Corinthians 4:13, having trust through Christ God-ward, 2 Corinthians 3:4; and upon the same account they were continually enabled to suffer, not simply, but in bearing testimony to Christ, Acts 5:41 1 Peter 3:14 4:16; they might be of good comfort and courage, to the daunting of their adversaries. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ,.... For the sake of his Gospel, for the good of his interest, and the glory of his name. The Alexandrian copy reads, "to us it is given", &c,

not only to believe in him; for faith in Christ, which is not merely believing that he is the Christ, and all that is said of him, or all that he himself says, but is a seeing of the Son, a going to him, receiving, embracing, leaning, relying, and living upon him, as God's salvation, is a pure gift of grace; it is not in nature, nor in every man, and in whom it is, it is not of themselves, it is the gift of God; the first implantation of it, all its acts and exercise, its increase, and the performance of it at last with power, are all owing to the grace of God; and this is only given to the elect, for it is a distinguishing gift; it is given to them, and them alone, and, therefore called the faith of God's elect:

but also to suffer for his sake; for the sake of Christ personal; for the sake of Christ mystical, for his body's sake the church; for the sake of his Gospel, and for the sake of his cause and interest in the world: now to suffer in name and character, in estate or person, not as an evildoer, but as a Christian, is a gift of God, as faith in Christ is; all the sufferings of the saints are appointed by God; their being called forth to suffer shame for the sake of Christ, is an high honour conferred upon them; all the grace and strength by which they are supported under sufferings for Christ are given to them; and all the glory consequent upon them is not merited by them, which are by no meant to be compared with it, but is the free gift of God through Christ. The same persons to whom it is given to believe in Christ, to them it is given to suffer for him; and they all do in some shape or another, though some more, others less; yet all are partakers of sufferings for Christ, and so are conformed to him their head, and hereby enter the kingdom: now all this is said, as containing so many reasons to encourage believers to have their conversation as becomes the Gospel of Christ, by a steady adherence to it, and a joint contention and striving for it, without being intimidated by their enemies.

{10} For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

(10) He proves his statement that persecution is a token of our salvation, because it is a gift of God to suffer for Christ, which gift he bestows upon his own, as he does the gift of faith.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Php 1:29. Ὅτι is argumentative. “Καὶ τοῦτο ἀπὸ Θεοῦ,” I say, “since indeed to you it was granted,” etc. This grant distinguishing you is the practical proof, that the just expressed ἀπὸ Θεοῦ is indubitably right, and that consequently the ἔνδειξις of your final salvation which is afforded to the adversaries in your undauntedness is a divine ἔνδειξις, a token given by God.[83] Hofmann’s view, that ὅτι specifies the reason why God imparts to them what has been before stated, is based upon the erroneous reading ὑμῖν in Php 1:28; and is itself erroneous, because ὅτι would introduce merely the self-evident thought that they had not sought out their suffering wilfully, but had had it given to them by God, and because, for the purpose of marking the alleged contrast to the wilfulness, not ὑμῖν, but ἀπὸ Θεοῦ again would have been emphatically prefixed, and consequently Paul must have written: ὅτι ἀπὸ Θεοῦ ὑμῖν ἐχαρίσθη κ.τ.λ. Hofmann curiously explains the emphasized ὑμῖν, as if Paul meant to say that with respect to their sufferings the case stood exactly as with his own. In that case he must at least have written, in prospect of Php 1:30, καὶ ὑμῖν, to you also.

ὑμῖν] emphatically put first, corresponding to the previous ὑμῶν δὲ σωτηρίας.

ἐχαρίσθη] donatum est; by whom, is self-evident. 1 Corinthians 2:12.

τὸ ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ] as if the πάσχειν was immediately to follow. The apostle does not leave this unwritten purposely, in order to bring into prominence in the first place the idea of ὑπέρ, as Hofmann artificially explains. But here his full heart interposes, after τ. ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ, and before he writes πάσχειν, the fresh thought οὐ μόνον τὸ εἰς αὐτ. πιστεύειν, so that ἀλλὰ καὶ must now be also added; and, on account of the different prepositional relation (εἰς) introduced, the τὸ ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ already expressed is again taken up by τὸ ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ. Thus οὐ μόνονὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ appears as a parenthesis of more special definition, after which the πάσχειν, which had been prepared for by τὸ ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ, but is only now introduced, is to be dwelt upon with emphasis: “to you the gift of grace is granted, in behalf of Christ—not only to believe on Him, but also for Him—to suffer.” Plat. Legg. x. p. 802 C: εἰ δὲ φανήσεται ψυχὴ πρῶτον, οὐ πῦρ οὐδὲ ἀὴρ, ψυχὴ δὲ ἐν πρώτοις γεγενημένη. See also Dissen, ad Dem. de cor. p. 431; Fritzsche, ad Matth. p. 501. It is an awkward construction, to take τὸ ὑπὲρ Χ. absolutely and (notwithstanding the subsequent ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ) in the sense: as to what concerns Christ (Beza, Camerarius, Calovius, and others, including Matthies and Rilliet). For the conception of suffering for Christ as a high divine distinction, see already Acts 5:41; comp. Matthew 5:11 f. Comp. on Php 1:7.

[83] At the same time it is to be observed here also (comp. on ver. 28) that this divine pointing to the final salvation of believers was in fact before the adversaries, and that their non-recognition of it altered nothing in this objective relation.Php 1:29. ὅτιἐχαρίσθη. We are inclined to join this clause immediately to μὴ πτυρόμενοι (so also Hpt[81]). The prospect of suffering was apt to terrify them. But when they view suffering in its true light, they will discover that it is a gift of God’s grace (ἐχαρ.) instead of an evil.—τὸ ὑπὲρ κ.τ.λ. The Apostle intended to insert πάσχειν after Χρ., but for a moment he pauses. To emphasise the real value of suffering for Christ’s sake, he compares it with that which they all acknowledge as the crowning blessing of their lives, faith in Him. As to the form of the sentence, this is a favourite rhetorical device of Paul’s. See J. Weiss, Beiträge, p. 11 n.οὐ μόνον. μή might have been expected. “When a limitation of an infinitive or of its subject is to be negatived rather than the infinitive itself, the negative οὐ is used instead of μή. This principle applies esp[82] in the case of the adverb μόνον” (Burton, MT[83], p. 183).—εἰς αὐτόν. The deepest aspect of faith, the intimate union into which the soul is brought.

[81] Haupt.

[82] especially.

[83] Moods and Tenses (Burton, Goodwin).29. For, &c.] He carries out the statement just made (see last note but one), by saying that not only the grounds of faith in Christ, and the power to believe, but the occasion of suffering for Christ, and the power to meet the suffering, are things of Divine grant and gift.

it is given] Lit. “it was given.” But the A.V. is true to English idiom. The verb rendered “give” denotes specially a grant of free favour or kindness. It is thus often used of free forgiveness, e.g. Luke 7:42; 2 Corinthians 2:7; 2 Corinthians 2:10; Ephesians 4:32; sometimes of the work of free grace and salvation, e.g. Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 2:12. (In Acts 3:14; Acts 25:11; Acts 25:16, it is used of an arbitrary, extra-legal, giving up of a prisoner to others, either for liberation or penalty.) Thus the word here, with its associations of sovereignty, favour, boon, forms a noble paradox.

on the behalf of Christ] The structure of the Greek indicates that the Apostle was about to write simply, “it is granted you to suffer on behalf of Christ”, but that he suspended the thought and phrase to insert, “not only to believe on Him but to suffer on His behalf.” Thus “on the behalf of Christ” anticipates here the close of the verse, where it is repeated.

to believe on him] Lit., “into Him,” a phrase suggesting the directness and holdfast of saving faith. But this speciality of meaning must not be pressed far, for the phrase occurs here and there in connexions not naturally adapted to such thought; e.g. John 2:23; John 12:42.—The Greek verb is in the present tense, and points to the continuousness of the action of faith. The Christian, having once believed, lives by still believing. See Romans 11:20; Galatians 2:20; Hebrews 10:38.—Faith in Christ is here incidentally spoken of as a grant of Divine grace. See further on this, Ephesians 2:8, and note in this Series.

for his sake] Better with R.V., in His behalf, to mark the connexion of thought with the “in the behalf of Christ” just above.Php 1:29. Ὅτι, because) The force of the declaration falls upon the word ἐχαρίσθη, God bestowed it of grace. The gift of grace is a sign of salvation.—τὸ ὑπὲρ) It is repeated after the intervening clause, τὸ ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ πάσχειν.—πιστεύειν· πάσχειν, to believe—to suffer) Php 1:27, at the end.Verse 29. - For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. On you it was conferred (ἐχαρίσθη) as a gracious gift, a free spontaneous act of Divine bounty. Faith in Christ is the gift of God, so is "the fellowship of his sufferings." It is not a burden, but a privilege:" In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." It is given - to suffer for His sake (ἐχαρίσθη τὸ ὑπὲρ - αὐοτῦ πάσχειν)

Every word here is significant. Suffering is a gift of grace. "It is given" should be "it was given," referring to the gift bestowed when they became Christians. Suffering was the marriage-gift when they were espoused to Christ: the bounty when they enlisted in His service. Becoming one with Him they entered into the fellowship of His suffering (Philippians 3:10). The gift was not suffering as such. Its meaning and value lay in its being for His sake. The Macedonian churches, and the Philippian church especially, were preeminently suffering churches. See 2 Corinthians 8:2.

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