Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 1
When a person becomes a Christian, he begins to serve God. In other words, he uses his life in a way that brings honour to God. He serves God for the rest of his life on earth and then, at once, he begins to serve God in heaven. So, that person’s death does not interrupt his relationship with God. Death can only make a change to the character of that relationship; and the effect is to make the Christian’s relationship with God closer, stronger, and much better (1 Corinthians 13:12).
On earth, there is great weakness in any Christian’s relationship with God. The Christian might suffer from doubts and fears; he might feel very guilty because of his own wrong and evil deeds. Certainly, he will be very aware of the physical weakness of his human body. He might find it hard to trust God or to obey God as he should. Although Christ is always present in his life, the Christian may often imagine himself to be far from Christ.
In heaven, all that weakness, with the reasons for it, completely disappears. There, the Christian will see Christ constantly, in all his (Christ’s) strength and power. There, the devil cannot disturb any of God’s people; there, nothing will ever tempt them to do or to think anything that is wrong or evil. There, the pain of their lives on earth has ended, and it can never return. There, God gives them great joy and great honour (2 Corinthians 4:17) – and their greatest joy and honour is to be with Christ always (Revelation 21:3).
In the original language, Paul emphasises his words in the strongest way possible. To be with Christ, in heaven, is much, much better than anything in this world. So, the Christian does not need to be afraid of death. Christ has prepared a truly wonderful home for him in heaven (John 14:2-3).
Next part: Work that Paul still needed to do for God (Philippians 1:24)
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© 2020, Keith Simons.