Paul did not make his statements in the comforts of a church.
No. His hands, I imagine, would barely make a fist before all was said and done.
Paul wrote his words in the midst of pain, persecution, and uncertainty.
must not think that Paul's theology comes from thoughtful, playful
brilliance. No, the words he chooses in his letters, and Philippians
specifically, came from the education he received at the end of whips
Pain gave Paul a different perspective.
I continue to read, ponder, memorize, and meditate Philippians, I come
across a powerful truth. The words he speaks come across at first
glance as witty, clever, and creative--I think nothing could be further
from the truth.
The words he speaks are words that come
not from wit, but deep, hard fought conviction. He bled for these
words, beaten to believe what he now speaks.
know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of
Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.
you are like me, you read this and take comfort. I have read this
literally hundreds of times, and until recently I have always read this
one way: God is going to free me. I was convinced that Paul spoke of
his conviction of God freeing him from his chains.
could be further from the truth. Verse 20 Paul clearly says that he
wants to honor God whether he lives or dies--whether he is freed or
not. So what is he saying in verse 19?
Paul's words speak knowledge that only someone who has bled for Christ would know: Life and Death are Deliverance.
If God frees me to keep living and preaching, it was God's deliverance.
God allows my life to end, I am finally free in the more real sense.
Free from the pain that following Christ entailed, free from
persecution, freed and in the presence of Christ!
Deliverance--by life or death.