“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21)
In Romans 6:3-10, Paul uses baptism as a metaphor to teach about the believers union with Christ. He says in verse 4 that we were buried with Christ by baptism into death and raised to walk in newness of life. Fast forward three years where we find Paul sitting in a Roman prison. It was the first of his two imprisonments in Rome and the location from which he wrote four letters, including one to the church at Philippi. It’s always been interesting to me that Paul’s letter to the Philippians, a letter written from prison would be considered his most joyful letter, but it is. Paul found great joy in serving Christ. His was an inward joy that was unaffected by circumstance.
There are certainly implications of having the gospel in our lives. The apostle Paul was completely sold out to Christ. From the time of his conversion, everything he did and everything he incurred was for the sake of advancing the gospel. As a result, he found himself in some difficult situations. Paul knew there would be consequences for his commitment to Christ, but he also knew that ultimately, his was a win-win situation. He would either be released to continue his ministry, or should he die, it would only deepen his union with Christ.
The apostle Paul is great example of many things. He is not only a wonderful example of God’s grace, but also of the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. As committed as he was to the persecution of Christians before his conversion, he was equally committed to proclaiming Jesus after it. Are you that committed to Jesus? Am I? Is ours a view that there’s much more to look forward to than what we see? Do we really believe that this life is only preparation for the next? God has done amazing things for us in Christ. Let us live in light of that truth with the full understanding that our union and our destiny are secure. And because they are, let it influence our commitments today.