Main point summary
The Apostle Paul joyfully suffers and works hard to make the Word of God fully known among the Gentiles. This Word is the message that Christ’s life in us is the only hope of eternal glory. Paul also invites his fellow servants to proclaim this message, in order to present those who hear, mature before Christ. The apostle also acknowledges that it is God himself who empowers him (and us) to accomplish this glorious task.
Now j I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
Νῦν χαίρω ἐν τοῖς παθήμασιν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν,
Now I rejoice in my suffering on behalf of you
and in my flesh k I am filling up l what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions m for the sake of his body,
καὶ ἀνταναπληρῶ τὰ ὑστερήματα τῶν θλίψεων τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐν τῇ σαρκί μου ὑπὲρ τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ,
and I am completing what is lacking of the sufferings of Christ in my own flesh, for the sake of of his body
that is, the church,
ὅ ἐστιν ἡ ἐκκλησία,
this body is his church
n of which I became a minister
ἧς ἐγενόμην ἐγὼ διάκονος
of this church I became a servant or minister
according to o the stewardship from God that was given to me for you,
κατὰ τὴν οἰκονομίαν τοῦ θεοῦ τὴν δοθεῖσάν μοι εἰς ὑμᾶς
according to the purposeful stewarship from God, that was given to me to serve you
to make the word of God fully known,
πληρῶσαι τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ,
all of this (my suffering and calling) with the purpose to make the WORD OF GOD fully known
p the mystery hidden for ages and generations
τὸ μυστήριον τὸ ἀποκεκρυμμένον ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν γενεῶν,—
this word is a mystery hidden for ages and generations in the past
but now revealed to his saints.
⸀ νῦν δὲ ἐφανερώθη τοῖς ἁγίοις αὐτοῦ,
but know it has been revealed to his saints
q To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are r the riches of the glory of p this mystery,
οἷς ἠθέλησεν ὁ θεὸς γνωρίσαι τί τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης τοῦ μυστηρίου τούτου ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν,
to his saints, God chose to make known how great are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles
which is Christ in you, s the hope of glory.
⸀ ὅ ἐστιν Χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν, ἡ ἐλπὶς τῆς δόξης·
this revealed mystery is CHRIST in you, he is the hope of glory
Him we proclaim,
ὃν ἡμεῖς καταγγέλλομεν
WE ALL, not only myself as an apostle, but all his people and servants, proclaim HIM with passion
νουθετοῦντες πάντα ἄνθρωπον
we do so by warning all men
and teaching everyone
καὶ διδάσκοντες πάντα ἄνθρωπον
and we also do so by teaching all men
with all wisdom,
ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ,
we do it with all wisdom
that t we may present everyone u mature in Christ.
ἵνα παραστήσωμεν πάντα ἄνθρωπον τέλειον ἐν ⸀ Χριστῷ·
and we proclaim Christ so that we can present all these people mature in Christ
For this v I toil,
εἰς ὃ καὶ κοπιῶ
this is the reason why I work
w struggling x with all his energy
ἀγωνιζόμενος κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν αὐτοῦ
and struggle so hard depending on his energy
that he powerfully works within me.
τὴν ἐνεργουμένην ἐν ἐμοὶ ἐν δυνάμει.
that he works powerfully within me
1. Is God in his sovereign stewardship calling you to serve his people with the ministry of the Word? (v. 25c) 2. Are you committed to make Christ the content of your message, and proclaim that he is the only hope of glory for all peoples? (v. 27b) 3. Are you willing to invest your whole life not only in proclaiming the Gospel but engaging in the spiritual growth of those who you are to present back to him as mature Christians? (v. 28e) 4. Do you understand that your calling involves suffering, toil, and struggle? (v. 24a) 5. Do you really feel capable of doing this?
1. We are not wasting our time and lives in this time of deepening our understanding of the Word of God 2. Let us live and preach as those who believe that Christ is the only hope of glory for the people around us 3. As ministers of the Gospel, we will one day give account of those entrusted to our care 4. Our God is not calling us to a miserable life of suffering but to a joyful life of suffering that shows that our supreme treasure is Christ 5. If like me you see your own weakness and impossibility to believe, live and feel these truths as you ought to, find much hope in the fact that there is an infinite provision of divine energy and power that is available to us in Christ.
The Apostle Paul joyfully suffers and works hard to make the Word of God fully known among the Gentiles. This Word is the message that Christ’s life in us is the only hope of eternal glory. Paul also invites his fellow servants to proclaim this message, in order to present those who hear, mature before Christ. The apostle also acknowledges that it is God himself who empowers him (and us) to accomplish this glorious task. Brothers, our God is calling us to live extraordinary and joyful lives as ministers of the Gospel, that may require suffering and toil for the sake of those who we are called to serve. We must handle the Word of God carefully since our message is the only message that can provide eternal glory to those who respond and increasing joy and maturity for Christ's church. At the same time, what higher calling could a ransomed sinner receive from his Savior? But to proclaim Christ through God's Word in the power that God provides for the eternal joy of those he has called to be his people. For many, we will look as fools, but if what we believe and proclaim is true, it will be foolish to live otherwise.
If God is calling you would you pray in silence with me for one minute?
What is lacking...
... Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, ... and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, (v.24) Based on this passage parallel with Phil. 2:30, Piper concludes: When Paul says, “I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, the afflictions of Christ in my body, in my flesh,” he means Christ died for millions of people all over the world — people on your campus, people in the unreached peoples of the world. Their debt has been paid, and they don’t know it. They can’t taste it. They can’t feel it. They can’t sing that song “I thank you for the cross, my friend, I thank you for the cross.” If you’re going to be a missionary, mark it down — pain, loss of a child, malaria, marital strife, tensions on the team, demonic opposition, martyrdom. It’s going to come. Don’t think it’s strange when it comes. It’s the price. He paid his life for our salvation. We join him in that suffering to display the nature of it. How are they going to see how satisfying he is in us if we look like it’s the computer toy that is really satisfying? Passion, 2006. John Piper: “Are you sure that God wants you to keep doing what you are doing? For most of you, he probably does. Your calling is radical obedience for the glory of Christ right where you are. But for many of you, the stories in this book are among a hundred things God is using to loosen your roots and plant you in another place. Some of you he is calling to fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, to fall like a grain of wheat into some distant ground and die, to hate your life in this world and so to keep it forever and bear much fruit.”