Wednesday, August 26, 2009

8/27- Philippians 1:18-21 To Die is Christ Too

(actor portraying Paul in the arena in Philippi where Christians were killed by lions)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God's provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Calvin abridged: 18- “But in every way”- God sometimes accomplishes an admirable work by means of wicked and depraved instruments. He rejoices because the kingdom of Christ is increasing. Yet had Paul controlled who was to be ordained, he would not have ordained those who were worthless as ministers. 19- “for I know that” – Paul’s confidence is derived from the assurance that all things contribute to the advantage of God’s true worshippers (Rom. 8:28) even though the whole world with the devil as its prince, should conspire together for their ruin. Paul’s deliverance is first caused by God’s spirit and secondarily by our prayers. “Spirit of Jesus Christ” means the Spirit is common to all of us who believe. 20- “I eagerly expect”- this expectation comes from hope. We should also seek this hope so that we will not be put to shame. Hope is in subjection to the promise of God. “Christ will be magnified”- by our full assurance. 21- “For to me to live is Christ” It is not that Christ was life to Paul and death was gain; rather Christ is the subject of both clauses- he is declared to be gain in him both in life and in death. Paul is indifferent whether he lives or died. Let Christ be with us and he will bless our life as well as our death, so that both will be happy and desirable for us.

Thoughts: Paul was assured that God will work to his advantage. This assurance was there whether he lived or whether he died. To too many God is only good when we live or when we are blessed in this life. Way too much attention is given to this life, so that we are blinded at finding ultimate peace. “Health care” is a two worded button pusher in our day. Yet we live longer than any other society on the face of this earth. We should always try to improve this life, but this life is not all there is. In 1900 the average American lived to 45. Now we are pushing 80. Do we desperately need more health care on average? At the same time, we go to church less, have less faith, have given up on meaning, and depression is more contagious than the swine flu. For many of us, we can’t say what Paul said. We can say to live is Christ, perhaps, but we cannot say “to die is gain” and mean it. We hold on to this life and avoid our crosses too easily.

Prayer: Lord, help me to believe that whether I live or die, you will work all things for my good- which is also your glory.

No comments:

Post a Comment