Summary: In a single verse, Paul makes a personal declaration of his faith, his service to Christ and the assurance of God’s eternal promise.
A SINGLE VERSE
Text: Philippians 1:21
In a single verse, Paul makes a personal declaration of his faith, his service to Christ and the assurance of God’s eternal promise. As we consider this verse, let us reflect on our own lives and determine where we stand in light of this statement by Paul.
Philippians 1:21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
THERE ARE DECISIONS TO BE MADE
“For to me…” Each of us must make the decision for ourselves.
a. Joshua 24:15 “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
a. John 14:31 “but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me…”
b. Philippians 2:5-8 “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Paul left behind trying to earn his way to Heaven in favor of faith in Christ. Philippians 3:4-9 (The example of Paul)
4. Each one must decide to believe on Him.
a. John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John the Baptist)
b. Eternal life is through faith in Christ.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
5. After accepting Christ, a Christian must also decide to live for Christ. Christ is to be the center of all we are and all we hope to be.
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
THERE IS A DENIAL TO BE MADE
Just as Jesus denied His equality to God and humbled Himself to obedience even to death, to give life to all who would believe, we must deny our own selves and let Christ live through us.
Luke 9:23-24 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.
John 12:24-25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.
“I have been crucified with Christ…In the Greek, the verb is in the perfect tense, indicating the present effect of a past action: “I was crucified with Christ [at the time he was crucified] with the present result that I am now still crucified.”
…and it is no longer I who live…lit., “and I live no more.” The “I” here is the old man, Paul’s old ego; such had been crucified with Christ.
…but Christ lives in me…in the place of Paul’s old life, Christ lives in Paul. Paul was saying, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (RSV).
THERE IS DEVOTION TO BE MADE
My life is to be devoted to Christ, Galatians 2:20b
“…and the life which I now live…the Christian life, now lived by the new “I,” the new regenerated self.
in the flesh…referring to his human existence or to his body.
I live by faith in the Son of God...i.e., Paul lived by Christ’s life and by the faith Christ gave him.
who loved me and gave Himself up [to death] for me [on my behalf]…referring to Christ’s death on the cross. The love which motivated that giving is the link which united Paul with Christ. The death of Jesus was not merely an act of violence, or an accident which took place in history, but rather self-sacrifice on behalf of all sinners.