Philippians 1:29, “It has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake…”
Some thoughts from this morning’s journal on this passage:
I want to consider the word “granted.” Paul says that it has been granted to the Philippians both to believe in and to suffer for the sake of Christ. The word translated “granted” here is χαρίζομαι, which is based on χαρις / grace / kindness / that which affords joy…This same construction is used in Romans 8:23,
“He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?”
Or again in Galatians 3:18 it is used for the inheritance given by God to Abraham through promise. And it is used one other time in Philippians in 2:9 for the bestowal to Christ of the “name that is above every name.” The word Paul chooses here implies graciousness or favor….there were other, less nuanced words for “give” or “ordain” that he could have chosen, but instead he picks the word rooted in grace / favor / lovingkindness….
Why is this significant? Well, the reason I wanted to look at it this morning is because it is a reminder that God deals with His people in Christ out of a heart of mercy. His heart toward us is one of grace and of steadfast love and of enduring kindness. This doesn’t mean that He won’t ordain fearful hardships, but it does mean that in ordaining them they will be “granted” to us, or “graciously given” to us. Ultimately—especially in light of Romans 8:32—I think we must confess that all things entering a believers life are graciously given, and this included the suffering of the Philippians.
An example might be the marriage relationship. Before I was married to Courtney, everything that happened to me I received within the context of singleness….all the blessings I enjoyed, all the sorrows I endured etc. etc….it was all happening under the umbrella context called “singleness.” But, having married Courtney, all that has happened to me for the past 8 years has happened to me within the context of marriage. Whatever comes, I receive it as a married man….or again, if someone is under water, everything they experience happens within the context of being “underwater.”
So too for us who are in Christ, everything that comes into our lives, everything that we receive with gladness or trembling, the sweet times and the bitter, all of it comes to us within the context of God’s favor, within the context of grace and of lovingkindness. It is all graciously given to us.
And why? How? How have we been removed from our natural state of opposition to God and therefore our status as objects of His wrath? How have we gained access into this grace in which we now stand? Through our Lord Jesus Christ who was “delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:25). Because Jesus was cursed, because He endured the fullness of God’s wrath against us as rebels, we are now within the invincible refuge of sovereign grace…..Christ carried us through the raging storm of Love’s war and into the peaceful eye of of Love’s embrace.