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1. Thanksgiving and Prayer

1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: 2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3I thank my God upon all my remembrance of you, 4always in every supplication of mine on behalf of you all making my supplication with joy, 5for your fellowship in furtherance of the gospel from the first day until now; 6being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ: 7even as it is right for me to be thus minded on behalf of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as, both in my bonds and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers with me of grace. 8For God is my witness, how I long after you all in the tender mercies of Christ Jesus. 9And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment; 10so that ye may approve the things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and void of offence unto the day of Christ; 11being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. 12Now I would have you know, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the progress of the gospel; 13so that my bonds became manifest in Christ throughout the whole praetorian guard, and to all the rest; 14and that most of the brethren in the Lord, being confident through my bonds, are more abundantly bold to speak the word of God without fear. 15Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16the one do it of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel; 17but the other proclaim Christ of faction, not sincerely, thinking to raise up affliction for me in my bonds. 18What then? only that in every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and therein I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. 19For I know that this shall turn out to my salvation, through your supplication and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20according to my earnest expectation and hope, that in nothing shall I be put to shame, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by life, or by death. 21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22But if to live in the flesh, --if this shall bring fruit from my work, then what I shall choose I know not. 23But I am in a strait betwixt the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ; for it is very far better: 24yet to abide in the flesh is more needful for your sake. 25And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide, yea, and abide with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith; 26that your glorying may abound in Christ Jesus in me through my presence with you again. 27Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ: that, whether I come and see you and be absent, I may hear of your state, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel; 28and in nothing affrighted by the adversaries: which is for them an evident token of perdition, but of your salvation, and that from God; 29because to you it hath been granted in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer in his behalf: 30having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

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29. To believe. He wisely conjoins faith with the cross by an inseparable connection, that the Philippians may know that they have been called to the faith of Christ on this condition — that they endure persecutions on his account, as though he had said that their adoption can no more be separated from the cross, than Christ can be torn asunder from himself. Here Paul clearly testifies, that faith, as well as constancy in enduring persecutions, 9191     “Les afflictions et persecutions;” — “Afflictions and persecutions.” is an unmerited gift of God. And certainly the knowledge of God is a wisdom that is too high for our attaining it by our own acuteness, and our weakness shews itself in daily instances in our own experience, when God withdraws his hand for a little while. That he may intimate the more distinctly that both are unmerited, he says expressly — for Christ’s sake, or at least that they are given to us on the ground of Christ’s grace; by which he excludes every idea of merit.

This passage is also at variance with the doctrine of the schoolmen, in maintaining that gifts of grace latterly conferred are rewards of our merit, on the ground of our having made a right use of those which had been previously bestowed. I do not deny, indeed, that God rewards the right use of his gifts of grace by bestowing grace more largely upon us, provided only you do not place merit, as they do, in opposition to his unmerited liberality and the merit of Christ.




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