DAILY DEVOTIONAL, THURSDAY, JANUARY 27, 2022

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Developing Healthy Churches

For to you it has been granted for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake. (Philippians 1:29)

We have been given gifts of the Grace of God, and Paul addresses them here. First, we believe in Jesus because of the grace of God. When Paul wrote to the Ephesians, he gave us this great reminder – “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this[1] is not of your own doing, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no man may boast.”[2] Our faith in Christ first came as a gift from God, and our salvation is a gift bestowed upon us by a Loving, Gracious Father.[3]

The Epistle to the Hebrews PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL

Paul now reminds his Philippian readers that suffering can actually be a blessing given by God. Yes, some suffering comes as chastisement or punishment from God, but suffering on account of one’s stand for Christ and the truth is actually a gift from God. Jesus, himself, spoke of this truth in Matthew 5:11-12 in the Sermon on the Mount.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” The word “blessed” in Greek in this passage means to be well-off, to be rich, to be happy, to be better off than others. Both the Greek and Hebrew words carry this connotation. So, how does Jesus mean that we are better off when we are suffering for His sake than others?

While suffering, God comforts us (2 Cor. 1:5); it brings an eternal reward (Rev. 22:12); it matures us (Jam. 1:2-4) and enables us to be glorified with Christ in the future (Rom. 8:17).  Therefore, when God grants us to suffer for his sake, we need to recognize the gift that God is bestowing upon us.

Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS

More in-depth Insights

For to you. Here to you (ὑμῖν humin) is referring to Christians. Unto you as Christians. This favor is being granted to them while they are in their present situation, as is true of all Christians until the Second Coming of Christ.

It has been granted. God gives to you this opportunity or benefit.

For the sake of Christ. This favor is granted to bring honor to Christ. It can be viewed from another direction as well; these things are bestowed due to the people being Christians.

THE CREATION DAYS OF GENESIS gift of prophecy

Not only to believe in him. Some Christians may not perceive that it is a privilege and honor to be allowed to believe in Christ. Indeed! It is an honor for Christians to believe in Jesus, who has every right to be believed, place one faith into he who must be trusted, deeply love the one who of all who has ever existed, deserves love. It is a privilege to be allowed to believe in Christ, as it is by that belief that faith in him enables us to be reconciled to God and have a hope of eternal life. By our faith, we are forgiven and given a righteous standing before God. The world lacks this privilege of believing in Jesus Christ, so they live a life of torment in their unbelief, daily agitated and restless at the darkness of the wickedness of this world, not knowing, from their perch as a skeptic, where it comes from and that all will be fine in the end. Christians need to appreciate the peace of mind that they possess, the joy that they have in these dire times, comfort in their trials, and the anchoring hope of eternal life, as opposed to the world of unbeliever’s mind that is restless, apprehension and anxiousness, and their dread of death. It is a privilege to believe in Christ as we may turn to him in our darkest times. Therefore, we ought to have the greatest love for the one who redeemed us from eternal destruction.

THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST by Stalker-1 The TRIAL and Death of Jesus_02 THE LIFE OF Paul by Stalker-1

But also to suffer for his sake. For the unbeliever, it isn’t easy to wrap their mind around the fact that it is a privilege to suffer for the sake of Christ. Nevertheless, this is repeated numerous times in the New Testament. Luke tells us of the apostles, “So they went out from before the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.” (Acts 5:41) Paul says of himself, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the congregation.” (Col. 1:24) Peter writes, “but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of his glory you may rejoice and be overjoyed. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” (1 Pet. 4:13) James tells us, “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” – James 1:2-3.

Mark 10:28-30 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

28 Peter began to say to him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the gospel’s sake, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.

If we suffer as Christ suffered on our behalf, then we have joined him in his trials. Another sign that a Christian is a friend of God is if trials come upon us in the name of Christ. Another reason it is a privilege to suffer for Christ is that the good news is blessing lives because we have been privileged to serve as Christ’s ambassadors on earth. Lastly, this privilege relates to our hope of eternal life.

[1] That is, this salvation

[2] Ephesians 2:8-9

[3] Romans 6:23

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