Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Whether by Life or Death

How do you view your life and the glory of God? Do you care about how you live? Do you care about how you die? What is your greatest motivation? What are you greatest concerns?

Paul, writing to the church in Philippi while in prison, states his greatest desire. He has just finished telling them that he would rejoice when the gospel is preached, even by those with the wrong motives (Philippians 1:15-18). Notice, however, that he doesn't say he rejoices in these people with false motives, nor would he rejoice in a false gospel (see Galatians 1:6-9). He rejoices that in spite of the false motives, the true Biblical gospel is proclaimed and bearing fruit (as it says in Colossians 1:5-6). 
Now after saying this Paul goes on to say in verses 19-20, "for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death." When Paul say this will be for his deliverance, he uses the same word that means salvation. However, commentators differ about what he means exactly by salvation. Does he mean from prison? Does he mean eternal salvation? The key is the context of verse 20. If he simply meant that he knew he would be released from prison, why did he say "whether by life or by death"? It seems pretty clear to me that Paul is stating that no matter what happens (salvation from Caesar or eternal salvation) he only cared that Christ was honored in his body.
This is a very radical idea of Christian living. It's convicting on many levels. Recently I've been convicted over how I care for my body (what/how much I eat, drink, exercise, etc.), which is very relevant to how Christ is honored in my body. Also, how I live my life is important. Do I live in such a way that Christ is honored in my everyday life and actions? If I were to die right now, would it be in such a way that Christ is honored? O, how I want to live and die for the glory of Jesus Christ.
In Matthew Henry's Commentary“Death is a great loss to a carnal worldly man; for he loses all his comforts and all his hopes: but to a good Christian it is gain, for it is the end of all his weakness and misery and the perfection of his comforts and accomplishment of his hopes; it delivers him from all the evils of life, and brings him to the possession of the chief good.”

2 comments:

irruption said...

"O, how I want to live and die for the glory of Jesus Christ."

Longing with you, brother. A good word. Thanks for your comment on Shai Linne.

May the Lord bless you and your beautiful family.

Bret Rogers

Pastor Randy said...

Thanks for visiting brother.