| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 46 - Page 178 of 249 Index | Zoom | |
The Plan of God.
(Being a series of studies in the Scriptures, made for broadcasting in America.
They have the beginner and even the unbeliever in mind,
and are an attempt to present the Truth of the Scriptures in the simplest possible way.)
The Epistle to the Philippians (4).
pp. 16 - 20
We concluded our last study with the magnificent reaction of the Apostle Paul to the
activities of his enemies at Philippi, who were seeking to add affliction to his bonds,
doubtless out of jealousy and animosity. "What of it?" he exclaims. Whatever is
happening, Christ is being proclaimed! This was what really mattered to the Apostle,
who could rise above the rigours of his imprisonment and the petty behaviour of these
people. He was sustained by "the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ" and their
intercession for him (Phil. 1: 19). Whether his "salvation" mentioned in verse 19 meant
his deliverance from prison, or the final salvation with eternal glory (II Tim. 2: 10), the
context does not make clear, but there is room for both conceptions. The latter one
certainly fits in with the following verse, in which the Apostle mentions his "earnest
expectation" and the hope of not being "ashamed", which looks forward to the Lord's
future assessment of his service.
"According to my earnest expectation and hope, that in nothing shall I be put to
shame, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my
body, whether by life, or by death" (Phil. 1: 20 R.V.).
It would seem that Paul had Job 13: 16 in mind, where the LXX is identical. "This
is also shall be my salvation" (R.V.).
The one thing that is dominant in Paul's thought right through this section is the
proclamation and exaltation of Christ; self is completely left out. "Christ shall be
magnified" is the note that is stressed right through; whether he lives or whether he dies
is not the first concern of the Apostle. Either can contribute to the glory of the ascended
Lord Jesus as He wills.
At first glance, verse 21 seems to contradict this:
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
Whose gain? Christ's or Paul's? Most expositors seem to think it is Paul's, but this
would contradict the very spirit of this context. It would introduce a self-motive which
was completely lacking in the Apostle's mind here. Even if chapter 3: is remembered
with its stress on the "prize of the high calling" (3: 14), we must not assume that this is
the only theme that is brought forward in this epistle. Paul has certainly avoided the
spirit of Peter when he said "Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed Thee; what
shall we have therefore?" (Matt. 19: 27). The Companion Bible note on Phil. 1: 21 is,