Paul

 

FOR ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST

 

 Key Verse:  “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6).

 We will present a short review of the great life of Paul the Apostle. Paul’s victorious life was formed by his unconditional faith in the security of a life lived for, and in, Jesus Christ.  After his “resurrection experience” on the road to Damascus (Acts, chapters 9, 22, and 26), Paul helped to define the doctrine of Christianity through Jesus Christ. Importantly, he was instrumental in proclaiming the doctrine of justification by faith. This salvation was available to not only the Jews, but to the pagan, non-Jews (Gentiles) as well. We are part of the later. The following scripture very well explains Paul’s viewpoint regarding salvation.

 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, 'The one who is righteous will live by faith." Romans 1:16

 In another statement Paul declares: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

 This is a testimony of worth because Paul was in prison in Rome awaiting a possible death sentence when he wrote those worlds. He surrendered his life and the personal plans that he had, to labor for Christ. Let’s look at the entire text beginning at Philippians 1:20 – 2l:

 “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.”

 What an amazing testimony we have in Philippians 1:21. The apostle Paul is in prison, in Rome, awaiting possible sentence of death himself.  And he writes in the immediate context these words:

 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ .And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.” Philippians 1:12-14

 “For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.” Philippians 1:19, 20

 We notice in those passages of scripture that Paul was saying very little about his own personal dilemma, rather, he was focused on the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He had learned from experience and faith that the grace of God will sustain us in every situation. He lived life from a divine perspective and depended upon the Holy Spirit to lead and guide his actions and plans.

 Paul and his companions also began the church at Philippians on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:11 -40). He wrote the letter to thank the Philippians for the gifts that they sent him and to strengthen their beliefs by showing them that true joy comes from Jesus Christ alone. He also wanted to encourage them in their faith.  Most of all, he wanted them to discover the joy that can come from a life established by walking in the will of God. Paul also knew that the Lord was with him and that he was being kept by the love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.

 Romans 5:5 (NLT) declares: “And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love”.

 Read Colossians 1:24 -29 (NLT )below:

 “I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people.  For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.”

 Justification takes away guilt and brings about peace.  Being justified by faith gives us peace with God.  This is through our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the great Peace-maker; the mediator between God and man.  This brings about a state of grace in our lives. Paul had that grace.

 After his conversion, Paul’s life was patterned after the life of Jesus Christ.  He went through much suffering.  However he declared “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

When we reminisce about the life of Paul, we are reminded of the statement of Jesus Christ:

"You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. … So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. … I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:20-24, 33).

Let’s be encouraged to walk a life of faith through Jesus Christ and pursue His will in our daily walk with Him.