Devotional Thought for Today – 10/06/21

Rutherford Quote - Earthly Suffering Small Compared To the Glory Of Heaven

Philippians 1

Context: First it is important to remember that Paul is under arrest and house confinement in Rome while writing this letter. He is literally suffering for Christ. Matthew Henry breaks down the chapter this way: He begins with the inscription and benediction (v. 1, 2). He gives thanks for the saints at Philippi (v. 3-6). He speaks of his great affection and concern for their spiritual welfare (v. 7, 8), his prayers for them (v. 9-11), his care to prevent their offence at his sufferings (v. 12-20), his readiness to glorify Christ by life or death (v. 21-26), and then concludes with a double exhortation to strictness and constancy (v. 27-30).

In the most glorious of statements (verses) Paul writes:

21 For to me, to live {and suffer} is Christ [He is my source of joy, my reason to live] and to die is gain [for I will be with Him in eternity]22 If, however, it is to be life here and I am to go on living, this will mean useful and productive service for me; so I do not know which to choose [if I am given that choice]. 23 But I am hard-pressed between the two. I have the desire to leave [this world] and be with Christ, for that is far, far better; 24 yet to remain in my body is more necessary and essential for your sake (AMP. {added}

What a dilemma, going on living and serving others, or die end your suffering and be with Christ. How would you choose?

Again Matthew Henry comments on these verses: Death is a great loss to a carnal, worldly man, for he loses all his earthly comforts and all his hopes; but to a true believer it is gain, for it is the end of all his weakness and misery. It delivers him from all the evils of life, and brings him to possess the chief good. The apostle’s difficulty was not between living in this world and living in heaven; between these two there is no comparison; but between serving Christ in this world and enjoying him in another. Not between two evil things, but between two good things; living to Christ and being with him. See the power of faith and of Divine grace; it can make us willing to die. In this world we are compassed with sin; but when with Christ, we shall escape sin and temptation, sorrow and death, for ever. But those who have most reason to desire to depart, should be willing to remain in the world as long as God has any work for them to do. And the more unexpected mercies are before they come, the more of God will be seen in them.

Other Resources:

8 Ways God Works Suffering for Our Good – Tim Challies

Spurgeon’s advice for suffering Christians

The fellowship of his sufferings

The Seminary of Suffering

The Sweet Surprise of Suffering

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