"Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me."
Paul, The Apostle of Grace
From his Roman imprisonment, Paul rejoiced because he knew he would be released and then return to sharing the good news of God's grace all over the Roman Empire. He was confident the prayers of the Philippian people for him and the presence of the Spirit of Jesus in him would result in his deliverance from death from the Roman government.
We see in 2 Timothy 4:17 that he was "delivered from the lion's mouth." This is a probably a reference to his being released from Roman imprisonment, rather than being fed to the lions in the Roman Coliseum for his faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul's desire was that he would have the courage to lift high the person of Christ and fulfill the task given him by Jesus of telling others about the good news of God's grace (Acts 20:23-24), even in the face of death. (2 Corinthians 4:7-5:8).
Paul knew that his time on earth was all about Jesus. His life assignment from Jesus was to reach people with grace and teach people about grace.
Yet he was torn.
Death to Paul was to be immediately in the presence of the one who loved him and gave his life for him (Galatians 2:20)...to be with the one who had abundantly poured out grace upon him (1 Timothy 1:14)...to be with the one who gave him the revelation of grace and the responsibility of telling others about grace (Acts 20:23-24).
However, life on earth meant reaching more people with and teaching more people about the good news of God's grace freely, fully, and forever given to us in Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:15). Paul understood that even though it would be better for him to be with Jesus in Heaven, it was better for others that he remain on earth so they could continue to grow in grace [the faith] and experience all the joy that flows from growing in grace, resulting in boasting more and more about Jesus and all that he had done for them.
To read Brad's other teachings on Philippians, click below.