19) For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of
the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20) according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I
shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified 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 live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor: yet what I shall choose I do not know. 23) For I
am pressed between the two, having the desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far
better: 24) nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. 25) And being
confident of this, I know that I shall abide and continue with all of you for your advancement
and joy of the faith; 26) that your rejoicing may abound in Jesus Christ in me by my presence
with you again.
27) Only conduct yourself worthily of the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you,
or else am absent, I may hear things about you, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one
mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28) and being terrified in nothing by your
adversaries: which is to them an evident token of destruction, but to you of salvation, and
that of God. 29) For it is given to you on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to
suffer on His behalf; 30) having the same struggle which you saw in me, and now hear in me.
Paul knew that he would be delivered from the difficulties he presently faced. He believed in the
power of prayer. He knew that God the Father and Jesus His Son would not leave him alone:
he would not be ashamed. His faith was vindicated by his living or his death.
Paul was indifferent to his end. If he died, he died. If he lived he lived. Either way, he was well
off. If he died, he was closer to his reward: he was safe in Abraham's bosom, or Paradise. If
he lived, he could be of further service to Christ: especially to the Philippians. Which he would
choose, he was not sure; because either way, was good for him. It was a hard choice. But, it is
a choice he would not have to make, because he knew that he would live and see them again.
This would cause their faith to grow, and their joy to expand. Yes, they could all praise Jesus
that Paul would be with them again.
Notice Paul's dilemma was between what was better for him and what was better for the
brethren at Philippi. He could not choose between the two, because his love for the brethren
was as great as his love for himself. Isn't that the type of love that Christ commanded, to love
our brother (neighbor) as ourself? Yet how many of us do that? When in difficulties, do we
think of ourselves, or do we think of others? Are we more consumed with our pleasure, our
pain, our benefit and our loss? or are we concerned for the pleasure, pain, benefit and loss of
our brethren? Are we concerned merely for ourselves, or how what we are going through
effects the brethren? Paul looked at the larger picture, rather than only at his own wants and
wishes. How much better would things be in the church, if each of us did that?
Paul's plea was that the brethren would behave themselves as became the gospel of Christ.
That their conduct would not bring shame nor reproach to the gospel. This is true whether he
came to them, or was unable to come to them: it made no difference as to the behavior he
expected and wanted from them.
He wished that they would "stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of
the gospel." It is the "unity of the spirit in the bond of peace" that he spoke of to the Ephesians
[see Ephesians 4:1-4]. They were to have one attitude, one direction, one purpose. They were
to seek to do things as were revealed in "the faith of the gospel", the New Testament, that which
they had been taught in word, by pen and in deed. They were to "observe all things whatsoever"
they had been commanded [see Matthew 28:19-20]. The cause was to be foremost in what
they did: in how they thought, in how they spoke, in how they acted. They were to let the
commands of Jesus guide them in their lives, so that the decision of what should be said, or
what should be done would be decided by the words of Christ as delivered by the apostles [see
1 Corinthians 14:37]. Then they would act as a unit, they would act in concert, they would act as
This singular purpose would drive out the fear of their adversaries. "For if God be for us, who
can be against us?" [see Romans 8:31]. They would not fear one who is able to destroy the
body, but He Who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell. So whether they would imprison
them, or beat them, or ostracize them, or even put them to death: they would have no fear.
Now this would drive their adversaries absolutely crazy. They wouldn't know what to think. They
couldn't comprehend a faith which made one calm in the face of danger, that gave peace in the
face of death, that gave courage in the face of pain. They would assume insanity, rather than
"the peace which passes all understanding." [Philippians 4:6,7] Yet, for the brethren, it was the
sign of salvation and the full faith they had in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice upon the cross.
You see, the brethren realize that "all that shall live godly shall suffer persecution." They realize
that the opposition of the world is to be expected when you stand for the truth, and live according
to God's commandments. The suffering and persecution were signs that you were doing what
was right: for what righteous man of the past had ever gone through this world without such
suffering? Even Jesus, Who committed no sin, suffered at the hands of ungodly men. Is the
servant better than the Master? Can we expect to do what is right and not suffer for it? So,
rather than complaining and whining about the suffering, let us rejoice in it! For we have been
counted worthy to partake of the sufferings of Christ! It is a badge of honor. It is a mark of
distinction. It is our medal for having done what God had required of us. So even as Paul
suffered, so shall we have the honor and the privilege.