He who began a good work in you will perfect it - To live is Christ and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:1-26 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, 5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. 8 For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. 15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; 16 the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.
In John 3:16 Jesus says: God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. If the whole purpose of Jesus being given; to die for our sins was only eternal life, God would work it out that as soon as we believed, we would die to this life and begin that eternal life with Him. Romans 10:9 says: If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Salvation is again more than just eternal life. If we believe that God raised Jesus from death, then our salvation is also to live. In John 10:10 Jesus says: I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. Jesus came that we would have eternal life after this life and also that we would have an abundant life here and now. He died for our sins and was raised so that we too could live in the power of the resurrection. We have been saved to live. In today’s text Paul says: I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. In John 3:3 Jesus says: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! When we believe in Christ, when we confess that He is Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead, we are born again as a new creation. When a baby is born it does not remain the same, it grows into what it is born to become. If we are reborn in Christ, then our lives from that point on are about growing into what we are to become. We are redeemed from sin, but our lives are about God completing the work that He began. We grow into the fullness of the abundant life Jesus came to give. We cannot see the kingdom of God unless we are born again, but our lives are to more than see the kingdom of God. Our lives are that we would be the kingdom of God on earth. When Jesus taught us to pray, in Matthew 6:9-10 He said: “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.” Our lives are to be the fulfillment of and the answer to that prayer. In Luke 17:21 Jesus says: “Indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” That is the good work that God wants to complete in us; that the kingdom of heaven would be revealed on the earth through our lives. In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” In John 15:8 Jesus says: My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. That is the abundant life we are given in Christ; that we bear an abundance of fruit for the kingdom. That is the good work that God will complete in our lives.
Paul says: I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. We too are to live in and for Christ. Colossians 3:23-24 says: Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. All that we do in this life, all that we say should as for the Lord. To live is Christ. In Matthew 24:9-13 Jesus, describing the end of the age, says: “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” To live is Christ. To die is gain.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, thank You that day by day You are completing Your work in me. That I might live for Christ, bringing Your kingdom to earth. I am confident knowing that to die will be gain as I see and enter Your eternal kingdom in heaven. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.