Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Interesting tidbit - 8

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake (Phil 1:29). (KJV)

Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church (Colossians 1:24). (KJV)

In Philippians 1:29 we are told "it has been granted [us] for Christ's sake...to suffer for His sake."  Then in Colossians 1:24 it says we "fill up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions."  What exactly is Paul saying here?  I think Kenneth S. Wuest in his book Philippians in the Greek New Testament explains this rather well:

"The words “it is given” [in Phil 1:29] are from the word used of God when He in grace freely and graciously bestows on believing sinners the gift of salvation. The words “in the behalf of” are the translation of the Greek preposition used of the substitutionary aspect of our Lord’s death on the Cross. It means not only for the sake of but in the place of Christ. It should be clear that we cannot share in His expiatory sufferings on the Cross, much less endure those in His stead. The sufferings to which Paul refers here are Christ’s sufferings for righteousness’ sake while on earth in His humiliation. He says in Colossians 1:24 that he fills “up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ” in his flesh “for His body’s sake.” Our Lord’s sufferings for righteousness’ sake which He endured as a result of human antagonism against Himself, ended with His death on the Cross. He has left with the Church the message of salvation, the preaching of which draws the antagonism of the world. Thus, as the saints suffer for righteousness’ sake, they substitute for their absent Lord not only in the task of preaching the message He has given them but also in suffering for His sake and in His stead."

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