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Thursday, October 23, 2014

For To Me To Live Is Christ, And To Die Is Gain

But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. 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. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1: 12-20

Some preach Christ even of envy and strife, and some of good will. And what this means is worthy of inquiry. Paul was under restraint, and many of the unbelievers wanted to stir up more vehemently the persecution from the emperor's wrath. This might be increased at the spread of the Gospel, and all his anger might fall on the head of Paul... Some of them through envy, that is envying my reputation and constancy, and from desire of my destruction and from the spirit of strife, work with me; or else from the expectation that they will draw to themselves some of my glory. And some of good will, that is, without hypocrisy, with all earnestness... O cruelty! O devilish instigation! They saw him in bonds and cast into prison and still they envied him... What does that I'm set for the defense of the Gospel mean? It is, They are preparing for the account which I must give to God, and assisting me... so my defense may be easy; for if many are found who have been instructed and have believed, my defense will be easy. So it is possible to do a good work from a motive that is not good. And not only is there no reward in store for such an action, but punishment. St. John Chrysostom. Homily  II on Philippians 1 

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