Living Is Christ

Key Verse: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
—Philippians 1:21

Selected Scripture:
Philippians 1:12-30

IN THE EPISTLE TO THE Philippians, the Apostle Paul expresses his special bond of love for the brethren. This feeling was mutual because they also had an intense love for the apostle and his service to them.

He thanks them for their gifts and special attention while being held as a prisoner at Rome. He also took the opportunity to share his experiences with them, and to let them know of his physical condition, continuing faith, and progress in the Lord’s work.

He said, “I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the Gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places.” (Phil. 1:12,13) He acknowledged that his experiences were directed by the mighty hand of God, and that the truth would be carried forward, with the name of God honored at all costs. He was not concerned about his own comfort as long as he could be of service to the Lord’s people, as well as a witness to those about him.

In the Key Verse the apostle expresses his deep desire to continue his life of service to the Lord. He also assures the brethren at Philippi that he had complete faith in the promises of God and that if it was God’s will that he die in prison at Rome it would not matter, because he knew that he would receive an abundant reward in Christ’s future kingdom.

The apostle shares his inmost feelings with his beloved brethren, telling them it would be difficult for him to choose between life and death. Although life was full of suffering and hardship, and knowing that death would bring an end to those trials, nevertheless he had no personal choice, but was willing to leave the entire matter in God’s hands. Paul continues, “If I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me, and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better.”—Phil. 1:22,23, New American Standard Version

The apostle was dead to his own will, and content to remain in his present state of uncertainty as long as it was the will of God. He counted his present life as of little value other than to serve the Lord and his people. Paul’s desire to sacrifice his life for the children of God is brought clearly to our attention when he said, “But it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.”—vss. 24,25, New International Version

There is an important lesson in the apostle’s words for every Christian believer today. No one knows how long he has to continue in the present life. Only those things that are done in full confidence and faith in the Lord are of any lasting value. Let each esteem the true value of serving the Lord’s people wherever there is opportunity, and leaving the results in the mighty hand of God. As the apostle said, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (vs. 27, NIV), and thus fulfill the same desire expressed by Paul: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”—vs. 21

Dawn Bible Students Association
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