As I sit and think about the Word of God, I am reminded about how much we are called to know it. And, though it doesn’t happen over night, it is essential in living this Christian walk out well. The Bible is not like the stock market. It doesn’t go up and down, changing by the votes of people. It remains God’s unyielding, unmoving Word that is firm and reliant. What we learn from the Bible then can and should be applied to our personal and communal lives. The more we know it, the more we can be sure in its promises to us and live a more sold out lifestyle in the world. With that, we will continue our study through Philippians, looking at the next three verses.
“… So that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are bolder to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.”
The Gospel has created quite a stir. Even people in the imperial guard have come to know Christ, through Paul, in his imprisonment.
There is a confidence in knowing that someone is willing to go to jail in order to preach the Word of God.
There are two different types of people: Those who preach with a positive spin in their lives and walk and those who don’t.
One of the things that bother me about this passage is how the Gospel seems to only spread as it does when Paul is in prison. Don’t get me wrong. I understand why Paul seems to be happy about his situation. I just wonder if there would have been other ways for this to be accomplished. It seems at the very bleakest moments of our walk with Christ – when we have entered into our own prisons – the Gospel is given feet to spread.
I think it is cool that the imperial guards got to hear the Gospel of Jesus. I am sure Paul spared no expense to share the Gospel with them. Since Paul was most likely chained to a guard, allowed to write letters to friends and churches, Paul must have seen it as an opportunity to embrace the moment and share the Gospel with whoever was chained to him. We will never know for sure, but I can only imagine how many people came to know Jesus through his imprisonment.
There is something about knowing your leader is in prison that evokes certain boldness and attitude that goes beyond what normally is thought to be possible. As Paul is in prison, his followers are out in the trenches sharing the Gospel and they are doing it well. There seems to be no fear in their eyes or in their speech. They are determined to push the Gospel forward.
This last part kind of bothers me too. Some people preach Christ from envy and rivalry. Who are these people? What’s their beef with Christ or with Paul? Where have they missed it? I think people who preach in ignorance are the people who turn people away from God and not to Him. Paul recognizes their downfalls but also states that there are those who are doing it well. I guess there will always be a dualistic tendency of how things ought to be done. Sharing the Gospel is no different or above the acceptation.
When we see Paul in prison, it would be very easy to look at the worst of circumstances. Does Paul though? No. In fact, Paul sees it as a unique opportunity to spread the Gospel to the imperial guards and encourage and strengthen the Church. Paul’s missionary letter is not like any letter I have ever received from any missionary. It breathes determination and assurance. The more I read Philippians, the more I am convinced that there is so much we can learn from this book. We can be challenged and convicted by its words. That is what I hope we are seeing and experiencing as we go through this book together.