Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 1
Although Christians do not need to be afraid of death (Hebrews 2:14-15), the Bible still describes death as an enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26). That is because death destroys people’s lives in a very cruel way. For wicked people, death is truly terrible. It forces them to leave their comfortable lives on earth, and suddenly to begin their punishment in hell (Psalm 73:1-19).
Even for the Christian, to die before the proper time, ends that person’s work for God before it is complete. Of course that person will still serve God in heaven; however, God gives each Christian certain tasks to do for him in this world (1 Corinthians 3:5-8; compare Mark 13:34-37). God wants to see results from that Christian’s life that will bring honour to him (to God) - Philippians 1:22. So it is wrong for a Christian to want to leave this world before the proper time. Instead the Christian must consider his present situation, with all its pains and troubles, as an opportunity to serve God. In other words, in every situation he must do those things that God wants him to do. In that way, when that Christian suffers, his right attitudes and actions will bring great honour to God.
Paul knew, better than most Christians, how wonderful heaven is. He eagerly desired to be there, with Christ. However, Paul was careful not to pray to die before the proper time. He could see that the Christians in various churches, including Philippi, still needed his help. So it seemed clear to him that his work on earth was not yet complete. Until that time came, Paul gladly chose to serve God in this world.
Next part: Paul's desire to complete his work for God (Philippians 1:25)
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© 2020, Keith Simons.