Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 1

What does a Christian’s life achieve?

Philippians 1:22

A fruit tree lives for just one purpose: to produce fruit. That is not merely the reason why the farmer plants it (Luke 13:6-9); it is also the reason why God created it (Genesis 1:11-12). In science we learn that a plant uses all its energy, in the end, for this purpose.

The Bible also describes the results of a good person’s life on earth, as fruit (Psalm 1:1-3; John 15:5). It is as if, like the tree, God has planted him on the earth for this purpose (Isaiah 61:3). God wants him to produce the results from his life that give honour to God.

The word-picture of fruit does not only mean that other people will trust God because of that person’s life. The ‘fruit’ also means that the good person’s life, in itself, will bring honour to God. In other words, a good person’s right attitudes and actions give honour to God (Galatians 5:22-23). Even when other people see nothing, that good person’s right attitudes are truly pleasing to God (Matthew 6:1-6). Those right attitudes are a wonderful result of the fact that the person is living for God.

It is only during their lives on earth that Christians can work for God in this way. It is like a soldier, who can only fight for his king during an actual battle (compare Ephesians 6:10-18). At other times, the soldier serves his king in other ways. So, Christians will serve God in heaven, of course – but here on earth, they have a special opportunity to work for him.

Of course Paul wanted to be with Christ in heaven. However, he was also very eager to complete the work that Christ had given him to do on earth. He could not say which he preferred – but of course, he wanted most to serve God wherever God wanted him to be.

Next part: Heaven is so much better (Philippians 1:23)


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© 2020, Keith Simons.