If there be therefore any consolation - The ει, if, does not express any doubt here, but on the contrary is to be considered as a strong affirmation; as there is consolation in Christ, as there is comfort of love, etc.
The word παρακλησις, translated here consolation, is in other places rendered exhortation, and is by several critics understood so here; as if he had said: If exhorting you in the name of Christ have any influence with you, etc. It is extremely difficult to give the force of these expressions; they contain a torrent of most affecting eloquence, the apostle pouring out his whole heart to a people whom with all his heart he loved, and who were worthy of the love even of an apostle.
If any comfort of love - If the followers of Christ, by giving proofs of their ardent love to each other in cases of distress, alleviate the sufferings of the persecuted;
If any fellowship of the Spirit - If there be an intimate relation established among all Christians, by their being made mutual partakers of the holy Ghost;
If any bowels and mercies - If you, as persons whom I have brought to God at the hazard of my life, feel sympathetic tenderness for me now, in a farther state of suffering;
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ - This, with what is said in the remainder of the verse, is designed as a motive for what he exhorts them to in Phlippians 2:2 - that they would be of the same mind, and would thus fulfill his joy. To urge them to this, he appeals to the tender considerations which religion furnished - and begins by a reference to the consolation which there was in Christ. The meaning here may be this: “I am now persecuted and afflicted. In my trials it will give me the highest joy to learn that you act as becomes Christians. You also are persecuted and afflicted Phlippians 1:28-30; and, in these circumstances, I entreat that the highest consolation may be sought; and by all that is tender and sacred in the Christian religion, I conjure you, so to live as not to dishonor the gospel. So live as to bring down the highest consolation which can be obtained - the consolation which Christ alone can impart We are not to suppose that Paul doubted whether there was any consolation in Christ but the form of expression here is one that is designed to urge upon them the duty of seeking the highest possible. The consolation in Christ is that which Christ furnishes or imparts. Paul regarded him as the source of all comfort, and earnestly prays that they might so live that he and they might avail themselves in the fullest sense of that unspeakable enjoyment. The idea is, that Christians ought at all times, and especially in affliction, so to act as to secure the highest possible happiness which their Saviour can impart to them. Such an object is worth their highest effort; and if God sees it needful, in order to that, that they should endure much affliction, still it is gain. Religious consolation is always worth all which it costs to secure it.
If any comfort of love - If there be any comfort in the exercise of tender affection. That there is, no one can doubt. Our happiness is almost all centered in love. It is when we love a parent, a wife, a child, a sister, a neighbor, that we have the highest earthly enjoyment. It is in the love of God, of Christ, of Christians, of the souls of people, that the redeemed find their highest happiness. Hatred is a passion full of misery; love an emotion full of joy. By this consideration, Paul appeals to them, and the motive here is drawn from all the joy which mutual love and sympathy are fitted to produce in the soul Paul would have that love exercised in the highest degree, and would have them enjoy all the happiness which its mutual exercise could furnish.
If any fellowship of the Spirit - The word “fellowship - κοινωνία koinōnia- means that which is common to two or more; that of which they partake together; Ephesians 3:9 note; Phlippians 1:5 note. The idea here is, that among Christians there was a participation in the influences of the Holy Spirit; that they shared in some degree the feelings, views, and joys of the Sacred Spirit Himself; and that this was a privilege of the highest order. By this fact, Paul now exhorts them to unity, love, and zeal - so to live that they might partake in the highest degree of the consolations of this Spirit. If any bowels and mercies - If there is any affectionate bond by which you are united to me, and any regard for my sorrows, and any desire to fill up my joys, so live as to impart to me, your spiritual father and friend, the consolation which I seek.
If any bowels and mercies - If there is any affectionate bond by which you are united to me, and any regard for my sorrows, and any desire to fill up my joys, so live as to impart to me, your spiritual father and friend, the consolation which I seek.
All our actions are affected by our religious experience, and if this experience is founded on God and we understand the mysteries of godliness, if we are daily receiving of the power of the world to come, and hold communion with God, and have the fellowship of the Spirit, if we are each day holding with a firmer grasp the higher life, and drawing closer and still closer to the bleeding side of the Redeemer, we shall have inwrought in us principles that are holy and elevating. Then it will be as natural for us to seek purity and holiness and separation from the world, as it is for the angels of glory to execute the mission of love assigned them in saving mortals from the corrupting influence of the world. Every one who enters the pearly gates of the city of God will be a doer of the Word. He will be a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. It is our privilege to realize the fulness there is in Christ, and be blessed by the provision made through Him. Ample provision has been made that we should be raised from the lowlands of earth, and have our affections fastened upon God and heavenly things. TDG 94.3Read in context »
It is the spirituality of the children of God that is their glory in His eyes. This is the distinguishing mark that separates them from the world.... We are to hunger and thirst after righteousness, that we may represent Christ to the world. If His love abides in our hearts, it will be distinctly revealed. We shall be lights in the world. Christ calls upon every follower of His to reveal His virtues of character, to represent Him in word and deed, to make known His love.—Manuscript 84, 1905. RC 124.8Read in context »
When the believer, in the fellowship of the Spirit, can lay his hand upon truth itself, and appropriate it, he eats the bread that comes down from heaven. He enters into the life of Christ, and appreciates the great sacrifice made in behalf of the sinful race. OHC 208.3Read in context »
All our actions are affected by our religious experience. If our experience is founded in God; if we are daily tasting the power of the world to come, and have the fellowship of the Spirit; if each day we hold with a firmer grasp the higher life, principles that are holy and elevating will be inwrought in us, and it will be as natural for us to seek purity and holiness and separation from the world as it is for the angels of glory to execute the mission of love assigned them. HP 169.4Read in context »