A Joyful Endurance
May 28, 2017
The apostle Paul finds himself writing this letter from prison. One might expect someone in such circumstances to be distraught or eagerly awaiting release, but not Paul. Instead, he concludes that what he has experienced has been for “the advance of the gospel” (v. 12). He then goes on to call for even greater boldness among the Philippian believers, ultimately culminating in one of the most well-known passages of the letter: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (v. 21). This is the perspective of a man who has been deeply transformed by the power of the gospel. It also serves to recalibrate our thinking of what it means to follow Christ. Do we see suffering and hardship as normative? Do we really believe that death is gain? Surely this is folly to the wisdom of this world, but it is the foundation of hope for those who desire to live a life “worthy of the gospel of Christ” (v. 27).