World English Bible translation
1:19For I know that this will turn out to my salvation, through your supplication and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 1:20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will in no way be put to shame, but with all boldness, as always, now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life, or by death. 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 1:22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will bring fruit from my work; yet I don't make known what I will choose. 1:23 But I am in a dilemma between the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 1:24 Yet, to remain in the flesh is more needful for your sake. 1:25 Having this confidence, I know that I will remain, yes, and remain with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 1:26 that your rejoicing may abound in Christ Jesus in me through my presence with you again.
In the beginning of Paul's Letter to the Philippians he expresses his confidence in several things. He tells them that since God began a good work in them that He will complete it on the Day of the Lord. He expresses his conviction that God has sanctified them because of the deep concern that God has placed on his own heart for them. And he writes to them that even his own imprisonment will result in the advancement of the gospel. He told them that because of his incarceration some men were preaching Christ boldly without fear and yet others were preaching Christ out of selfish ambition, attempting to make matters worse for Paul. But in either case, Christ was being preached and God would make it turn out for the better.
Paul now tells them that he is also confident that, with the assistance of their prayers, Christ would be magnified in him even more than before. His arrest and trial would turn out to be Paul's salvation. With the help of the Philippians he could be bold and face whatever God had planned for him. In Today's Scripture, Paul expresses the confidence of a man completely at peace with his future.
He tells the Philippians that whether he should live or die as a result of his trial God would use it for his blessing. If he were to die, he would depart and be with Christ. Death is not to be feared. Christ is Lord of life AND of death. Because Christ has overcome death, he has given us the means to look beyond death to the joy of the life to come. But Paul also knew that if he did not die he would continue to live a productive life. If he remained in the flesh he would have even more opportunity to help the young churches that he had established. So Paul was at peace whether he should live or die.
Paul's life had been interrupted. Instead of traveling from town to town preaching the gospel, Paul was confined to a house in Rome under guard awaiting his trial. He had been given the time to reflect on why God had done this and what would be its result. As a result of that reflection, Paul had found peace. Some of us need that interruption too. We are often too busy with our lives to accept the peace that God has to offer. Each day is a struggle; if not a struggle for survival it is certainly a struggle for meaning and purpose. Sometimes God uses trials and adversity to force us to look above that struggle and see our lives as they really are.
We are in God's hands. Whether we live or die is His decision. Everything we have is given by Him and everything that we accomplish is within His will. We can trust God in whatever situation we find ourselves. If we were to lose everything tomorrow, we would still have our inheritance in Christ. When we arrive at the place where whether we live or die we can have confidence in God, our faith will have reached maturity.
All the trials and the tests of his life had shown Paul that he could have complete confidence in God. Will you allow God to teach you through adversity what true peace can be? Will you allow the Spirit of God to work in your heart until one day you can say, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain"?
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