Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 1

To suffer for Christ is the gift of God

Philippians 1:29

God has given to Christians the gift both to believe in Christ and to suffer for him, Paul says. We may think that it is a strange kind of gift to suffer on behalf of Christ. So let us consider what Paul means.

Paul’s word for a ‘gift’ here is a form of the Greek word CHARIS, which we usually translate ‘grace’. Grace means God’s wonderful kindness. So, God’s gifts in verse 29 show his wonderful kindness to his people.

(1) It is an act of God’s grace that they can believe in Christ. They are able to believe God’s promises, although so many of those promises are for the future (2 Corinthians 1:20; Hebrews 11:13-16). During their troubles in this world, they refuse to believe the devil’s lies. Instead, in every circumstance, they can choose to trust God.

That is a wonderful gift. It is by that gift, called faith, that people begin to have a right relationship with God. By that gift also, they continue to live for God and to stand for him in this world.

(2) It is an act of God’s grace that they can suffer for Christ. In this world, God’s people have many troubles (John 16:33). However, Paul has just described how they can suffer those troubles. They can suffer without fear, boldly and with complete trust in Christ (1:28). When their own courage fails, Christ gives them the strength to stand for him (2 Corinthians 12:10). So they do not depend upon themselves, but on Christ.

It is a wonderful gift of God that God’s people are able to suffer in that manner. God’s Holy Spirit, who is present and active in their lives, will support and help them through all their troubles (Romans 8:9-18).

Next part: The struggle to live for God (Philippians 1:30)


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© 2020, Keith Simons.