Monday, March 18, 2019

Philippians 2:14

Our adult class on Sunday spent some time on this verse and engaged in some great discussion concerning its meaning and application. I decided I would simply share some quotations from a few other believers on this verse without any commentary of my own. So, here we go:

Philippians 2:14 - Do all things without grumbling or questioning, ...

J. B. Lightfoot: "Be ye bot like Israel of old. Never give way to discontent and murmuring, to questioning and unbelief. So live that you call forth no censure from others, that you keep your own consciences single and pure."

Homer Kent, Jr.: "Compliance with Paul's exhortation should be 'without complaining or arguing." The first term describes the grumbling discontents among the congregation, and the second depicts the evil reasonings and disputes that usually follow. Are these directed against God or against each other? Neither alternative is foreign to the context. The passage is influenced by Deuteronomy 32:5, and the example of Israel's complaining, which was chiefly against God, was used elsewhere by Paul to instruct the church (1 Cor. 10:10). ... Emphasis in the command falls on the word everything ..., which is actually the first word of the verse in the Greek text. Most Christians are able to do some things without complaint. IT is when we are exhorted to be doing 'all things' with a joyful spirit that the difficulty comes. Yet the outworking of our Christian faith in daily life lays this responsibility upon us."

John Calvin: "For every man that has learned carefully to submit himself to God, without claiming anything for himself, will also conduct himself agreeably among men. When every one makes it his care to please himself, two faults prevail: First, they calumniate one another; and secondly, they strive against one another in contentions. In the first place, accordingly, he forbids malignity and secret enmities; and then, secondly, open contentions."

Henry Airay (16th century English commentator): "We must live thus and do thus, that we may be blameless. That is to say, that we may not give to anyone any just cause of complaining of us or blaming us. And this is set down for us as a mark to shoot at, at which in our life we must level as nearly as we possibly can, to live without blame and reproof among people. But is this possible? Could our Savior Christ himself, or could his apostles and disciples, escape the reproof and hatred of the Jews? No, they could not; neither could we."

Charles Spurgeon: "The apostle says, 'Do all things' --- by which he seems to teach the activity of the Christian Church, for the Christian religion is not mere thinking or feeling, but doing and working for God. 'Do all things without murmurings' without murmuring at God's providence--- which was a common vice of the heathen, who, on their tombstones often recorded their protest against God for having removed their darlings, and upbraided him as cruel and unkind for taking away their relatives. 'Do all things without murmurings against one another.' Let your love be so hearty and sincere, that ye do not envy your richer or more talented brethren. Let there be no low whispers travelling through your assemblies against those who ought to be esteemed among you. Whatever ye do, let no murmuring be mixed with it, but labour with delight, and suffer with patience. Let there be no murmurings even against the ungodly world. If they be unjust, bear their injustice in silence; be not always offering complaints; there are a thousand things which ye might speak of, but it is better that like Aaron ye should hold your peace. To suffer in silence shall dignify you and make you greater than ordinary manhood, for then you shall become like Him, who before his accusers opened not his mouth.

"The apostle continues, do all things without 'disputings.' Dispute not with God, let him do what seemeth him good. Dispute not with your fellow Christians, raise not railing accusations against them. When Calvin was told that Luther had spoken ill of him, he said, 'Let Luther call me devil if he please, I will never say of him but that he is a most dear and valiant servant of the Lord.' Raise not intricate and knotty points by way of controversy. Remember, you have adversaries upon whom to use your swords, and therefore there is little need that you should turn their edges by dashing at the armour of your fellows. Dispute not even with the world. The heather philosophers always sought occasions for debate; be it yours to testify what God has told you, but court not controversy. Be not ashamed to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, but never do it in a spirit of mere debating, never because you wish to gain a victory, but only because ye would tell out what God hath bidden ye reveal.

"'That ye may be blameless.' Men will blame you, but you must seek as Christians to lead lives that give no occasion for blame."

John MacArthur: "Whatever the elements of working out your salvation are, do them all without grumbling or disputing.  In other words, in all your Christian living, in all that you do by way of obeying God, in all that God is working in you to will and to work for His good pleasure, be sure you never complain.  That’s the idea. 

"So, we now have then a companion to verses 12 and 13.  Verse 12 says, 'Work out your salvation.' Verse 14 tells you the attitude in which to do it.  Can you get that?  This is the attitude in which you work out your salvation.  It is an obedience without complaint.  You don’t complain about what God calls you to do.  You don’t complain about what He asks you to do.  You don’t complain about the circumstances in which He asks you to do it.  Who are you to complain in view of your sins?  It is grace that you are not consumed, and complaining is in itself a wicked proud sin.

"So, here you have a very general 'work out your salvation.'  Why does he come down so narrow and say, 'Do all things without grumbling and disputing?'  Isn’t that very narrow and very limited?  No.  That’s the attitude that fits the general command.  Why?  Because life isn’t going to always serve you up what you’d like.  God’s going to allow you to go through trials and testings and difficulties not to make you gripe, but to help you to pray, to teach you to trust, to teach you to be grateful and thankful for what you have because you can see the hard things as well.  So, this is not a narrow, isolated command, this is a broad general attitude that in all things related to your working out your salvation, you do them without ever grumbling or ever disputing."