Philippians 2Which ye saw in me; referring to the persecutions which he endured when he was at Philippi. See Acts 16:9-40.
Fulfill ye my joy; make my joy complete and full.—That ye be like-minded; that ye be agreed in mind.
His own things; his own attainments and excellences.
In the form of God; in respect to his divine nature and character. There has been much discussion in respect to the import of the phrase translated "thought it not robbery to be equal with God;" the meaning, however, of the whole passage is clear. The example of Christ is appealed to as an example of condescension, and of a willingness to humble one's self for the good of others. The meaning, therefore, is, that he voluntarily gave up the glory which he had with the Father, (John 17:5, 1:1,) to become a man, and pass a life of ignominy and suffering upon the earth for the good of mankind. The passage seems to involve, in the most unequivocal manner, the idea that, in the case of Christ, birth was not the commencement of existence to the subject of it,—but that it was the mysterious assuming of human nature by a being who voluntarily descended to it from a previous condition of the highest glory.
With fear and trembling; with earnest solicitude.
Both to will and to do; that is, the very disposition to turn to him, as well as every act of obedience, comes from his influence and agency. It is very remarkable that this absolute dependence upon God, far from being allowed to encourage sloth and inaction, is made, by the apostle, the motive for the utmost diligence and solicitude in seeking salvation. We might theoretically expect that the effect would be the reverse; but in the experience of believers the result corresponds with this injunction of the apostle. In all ages, they who have felt most fully the helpless condition of the human soul while in its sins, and its entire dependence on a re-creating influence from above, have been most solicitous and most active in personal efforts of preparation for heaven.
Holding forth the word of life; exhibiting its power and influence in the example of your life and conversation.
Upon the sacrifice; as a sacrifice.
When I know your state; by means of the account which Timothy would give on his return.
Like-minded; that is, with Timothy; no one who would feel so deep an interest in their welfare.—Naturally care. Timothy had been with Paul when he preached at Philippi, and would consequently feel a natural interest in that church.
How it will go with me; in respect to the result of his imprisonment.
Your messenger; the one whom they had sent to Paul from Philippi, with their contribution for his wants. (4:18.)
Sorrow upon sorrow. The death of Epaphroditus at Rome, far from his home, whither he had come on Paul's account, would of course have been a very severe trial to the mind of the apostle.
I sent him—the more carefully; I was the more careful or anxious to send him.
Nigh unto death; as mentioned above. (v. 27.)—Your lack of service, your need of service. That is, he hazarded his life in executing the commission necessary to accomplish their kind designs towards him.
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