HC#42 – Philippians 1:12-26
Remember the first question of the catechism. What is your only comfort in life and in death? The goal of this catechism is to give comfort. This question is designed to forward our comfort because death is something that often scares and frightens people. We need to understand then how Jesus Christ is our comfort in life and in death.
Paul deals with that question quite well in Philippians 1, and especially in verses 19 through 21. Paul knows Jesus Christ is his deliverance no matter what he faces. Christ has already suffered and paid the price for everything. Paul has been purchased by Christ, so now Paul’s goal is simply to live for Jesus. No matter what happens it is all for the glory of Christ. Not just the wonderful victories and the good times, but also the suffering is for Christ and for His glory, and even death. Christ is still the deliverer even if Paul dies. No matter what happens in the flesh or in this life, Paul desires it to be for God’s glory, and Paul can face it with courage. Living is for Christ, or rather Christ living in us, and dying is gain because we enter into the everlasting to meet our savior face to face. For Paul it is a win-win scenario. If Paul lives, then he can continue to serve Jesus and proclaiming the gosple to those who need to hear it, but if he dies, then he enters heaven. A win-win! This comes out even more in verse 23 where Paul states his desire is to be with Christ and thus he is looking forward to death. How different is that from most of our understanding? Paul clearly has great comfort and understands his own death is simply an entering into the presence of Christ forever.
No matter what your age, examine your own view of death. Do you have the same mind as Paul? Do you see death as gain? Do you see living here on earth as Christ living in you and your life as an aid to others? Ask God to give you Paul’s attitude about life and death.