“For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,”
There is an attitude among Christians that somehow they are supposed to be exempt from suffering. This passage says God has designed suffering in the life of the believer so that he or she will represent Jesus Christ in it.
Verse 28 indicates that when we share our faith, people will “stand against” us (the literal meaning of “adversaries” in v.28). Christians will face opposition when we share our faith.
This verse contains a double gift:
to believe in Christ
to suffer for His sake.
“For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ,”
Suffering is a gift from God. The phrase “been granted” in the Greek means that the believer receives suffering as a gift from God. The word “granted” means to give freely or graciously as a favor. We have been granted the privilege of suffering for Christ. The suffering of the believer is under God’s sovereign control. This is no accident. Neither is it a sign of God’s punishment.
Suffering with a purpose is a privilege. Suffering in itself is no privilege, but suffering for Christ is.
“On the behalf of Christ” displays the pinnacle purpose for suffering. Note the phrase later in this verse: “for His sake.” This is what makes suffering valuable. Suffering points people to Christ. If we have Christ and His great glory as the purpose of our lives, it gives everything definition in our lives.
“not only to believe in Him,”
Our ability to believe in Christ is a gift from God; suffering is a gift from God as well. Our salvation is dependent upon the finished work of Christ upon the cross. We contribute nothing to salvation but trust in what has been given.
“but also to suffer for His sake”
Some people will not face the claims of Christ until they see how a Christian faces deep anguish. A believer under immense adversity and simultaneously possessing an inner orientation will impact those without Christ. How many times have we seen people come to Christ at the death of a dynamic witness for Christ?
Nothing is valuable in life until Christ is its aim. Suffering is never an end in itself. Pain is not good. But the association of that pain makes it purposeful.
Everything that the believer has of spiritual value is a donation from God—even affliction.
Do we accept suffering as a gift from God’s hand? It is conventional for us to think of salvation as a gift, but do we think of suffering for Christ as a gift? Can we accept the first gift (salvation) and not the second (suffering)? We are citizens of heaven; therefore, we are living out of a suitcase down here. We should not treat life on earth as the ultimate goal of our lives. We are spiritual aliens; this world is not our home. We should expect opposition.
Philippians 1:29 came to me on my cell phone's daily verse. I wasn't really sure what it meant so I ended up on this website reading. I just wanted a quick explanation but then I couldn't stop reading… and I'll continue to use this to better understand any scriptures I come across. Thank you so much!
@Jamie how funny, that’s why I ended up here also. 🙂 Thanks for the info.
Thank you Jamie, Sarah.
Thanks this is very very very helpful.
This is amazing. I too get those daily verses but, last night I was just moaning and complaining, asking God why I have to suffer most of the time. I’m almost always in pain, yet I have to keep working a job that hurts me physically. I was asking Him why, over & over. Then I wake up to this verse!! If that’s not answer, I don’t know what is! I came to this website to find the meaning. Thank you. It makes sense! And thank you God for answering me!
its important for me to understand its suffering for Christ sake right now im suffering big time for minor mistakes I made. However i know he chastens those he loves………….
Douglas, it is true that God disciplines the believer in time because of sin (He 12:6ff), however, God does not give tit-for-tat otherwise we would all push up tulips. God is longsuffering and merciful in how he deals with us.
It is interesting how God work. I to get it a devotional every morning. And couldn’t quite understand what I had read. Great site will be back again
And the same for me. I get a bible scripture every morning and experienced the same as the peope who wrote before me. Thank you for explaning.
Paul was suffering oppsition to sharing the gospel, he was in jail for sharing the gospel, remember this was his calling to share the gospel with Gentiles or non-believers. The suffering of a Christian is being persecuted for what you believe and share. Suffering for Christ is not physical sickness there are to many scriptures to the contrary, but I will only quote one, James 5:14-15 Is anyone among you sick? They must call for the elders (spiritual leaders) of the church and they are to pray over them, anointing with oil in the name of the Lord;and the prayer of faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and any sins will be forgiven. Be blessed my friends, Deborah
@jaime it’s amazing how God works. I just read the verse and had to search it up. I rarely look up a verse. Again, amazing how some of us had to search and ended up here. 😉
It seems to me that the suffering Paul writes about has to do with the gospel being preached, if we try and live a neutral type of Christianity we will not suffer and, will not grow as a Christian. Many times I have heard believers say they are suffering by their disobedient children when I know there has been inconsistency in their lives. That’s not the kind of suffering the apostle Paul talks about, his suffering was about the furtherance of the gospel. I hear many times that because we live in America we won’t suffer like other countries, which I agree to some point but, we will have opposition with family, friends or neighbors if we live Godly in Christ Jesus and preach the gospel, that has been appointed.
Dean, I agree that the primary purpose of suffering in this passage has to do with sharing the gospel.
It is a privilege to suffer for the Gospel of Christ. An honor it is to labour for God. Awesome commentary.
There have been a lot of explanations as to what the thorn in Pauls flesh truly was. It is not know to whether it was physical, spiritual, or an emotional affliction.
I’m sure the unknown affliction was God’s intention for anyone struggling with an affliction to be able to relate to Paul.
7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.-2 Corinthians 12:7
Kristy, good point
Suffering FOR Christ comes FROM the Enemy of Christ (Satan) in many Forms. Nowhere in Scripture does the Word of God guarantee that our Suffering is never an illness or injury, considering God may Allow the enemy to Afflict the Believer as Evidence of one’s Faithfulness to God and Christ (Job – chapters 1&2; Hebrews 11:39; Philippians 2:25-30). All suffering from the enemy is designed to stop the committed Christian from sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, no suffering of Christians come without Gods permission (1st Peter 4:12-19). May we All stand steadfast and faithful in whatever form of suffering we as Christ Church must suffer and endure (1st Corinthians 10:13).
Much Love for the Body of Christ!
Kevin, I am afraid that you have reduced God’s purpose of suffering to a point that the Bible does not. You have taken a partial truth of Scripture and made it the whole. If you study, for example, the entire book of First Peter God uses suffering for the believer to build character. You can see the background of First Peter here: https://versebyversecommentary.com/books/introduction-to-1-peter/ James argues for the same purpose in chapter 1 among many other Scriptures. I would suggest that you go to my exposition of First Peter to see my point. That will be a daunting task since there are over 500 studies there.
Here are the reasons for Christian suffering: https://versebyversecommentary.com/articles/doctrine/suffering-biblical-reasons/
I think most Christians gloss over the issue of suffering. It’s about suffering like Christ to be more like Him. It’s not about physical ailments or disobedient children. We don’t want to do what it actually says because of fear.
Does suffering refer to anytype of suffering you can recieve. Example: emotional abuse without repentence in a marriage type of suffering or is the suffering in this passage refer to suffering you willl recieve for witnessing to unbelievers?
Glenn, There are many reasons for suffering. See this study: https://versebyversecommentary.com/articles/doctrine/biblical-reasons-for-suffering/ However, the suffering in this verse has to do with suffering for sharing one’s faith.