Sunday, 4 December 2016
…just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. Philippians 1:7
Paul’s long thought continues on in this verse. The words are connected to the preceding verse –
“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.”
His confidence in those at Philippi was that “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it.” Now he supports this note of confidence by saying, “just as it is right for me to think this of you all.” In other words, his confidence is not an arbitrary or unfounded confidence. He has a sound reason for it. The word he uses which is translated as “think” is one which deals with a constant state, not just a one-time thought. He habitually thought this about them, and the reason is that “I have you in my heart.”
Paul carried them affectionately with him at all times. They were dear and close to him, even on his heart. He then explains this with the next clause, “inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel…”
What he is saying is that the Philippians never wavered in their convictions concerning him. In his chains, they held fast to him and his teachings, and in his “defense and confirmation of the gospel” they continued to hold fast to him and his teachings. The implication is that others abandoned him when they should have stayed with him. When the going got tough, they got going… away from him. Such was not the case with the Philippians.
Because of this, he notes that, “you are all partakers of grace with me.” The proof of his confidence in them was their confidence in him and in the message he proclaimed. Their steadfast attitude towards his message was the proof that “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it.” They had received the grace, and were partakers of it even “until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Life application: How strong is your faith? Will it hold fast and true when the day of testing and trial comes? Will you be willing to give up property, friends, or family in the testing of your faith? Will you be willing to give up life itself? Paul shows that such tests prove to those around us that our faith is unshakeable.
Heavenly Father – and indeed You are our heavenly Father because of Christ Jesus – how strong is the faith we profess? Should You send trials our way, will we remain steadfast in following You, or will we abandon all outward notion that we are servants of our Lord? Help us to think on this now, while things are good, so that we will be prepared if and when they turn bad. Help our feet to be firmly planted, and our allegiance to You to be fixed and resolved. Instill in us this so that we will be faithful to the end – whatever end You determine for us. Amen.