Paul's Testimony

Geoffrey Cox

READ : Philippians 1:12-26

It is my . . . hope that “Christ will be honored in my body.” (v. 20)

Paul wants to reassure his friends of the creative possibilities of his suffering. His
testimony is that while he has been hurt physically by imprisonment and emotionally by the
envy of other Christians, there has still been blessing that might not have come
otherwise. “It is a strange chemistry of Providence this, to extract so great a good out
of so great an evil, as the enlargement of the gospel by the confinement of the apostle”
(Matthew Henry). Look at how Paul’s imprisonment has produced good results for the gospel.

The Good News has spread (v. 12), especially to the changing guards, for Paul has been
chained to one and then another, and so on through each watch. They have learned his
captivity is not for crime but for Christ (v. 13). The believers also have been witnessing
more boldly and preaching has increased (v. 14). Regardless of the cause or its effect on
Paul, the apostle is glad whenever, wherever, and however Christ is preached.

But Paul faces a dilemma (vv. 19-26). He knows he will be set free, but will it be to
Philippi or to heaven? Will God deliver Paul to more work on earth or to more “gain” in
heaven? His only desire is Christ’s glory. He hopes – knows – that Christ will be
honored whether he lives or dies. That is why Paul can be relatively indifferent to the
outcome of his trial.

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Make sure you can say the same now,
before the testing comes.

PRAYER

Lord, exalt Jesus in my body.