Sermon: To Live is Christ (Philippians 1:19-30)
Paul seems to recognize instinctively that people don’t naturally look at suffering as a cause for rejoicing. Although he states decisively that seeing Christ proclaimed causes him to rejoice regardless of his personal suffering in prison or having rivals preaching against him in Philippians 1:18, he spends the rest of the first chapter of Philippians giving a fuller glimpse into his perspective. So, he begins Philippians 1:19 with with word “for,” a preposition which gives the cause or the reason behind what he has just said about rejoicing in the midst of deep suffering.
Again, Paul here reiterates his radical perspective on life. He is not seeking peace, security, and comfort, but simply for Christ to be glorified in and through his life. It isn’t that Paul enjoys suffering, since he would far rather depart from his suffering to be with Christ (Phil 1:23)! Instead, it is that Paul recognizes the critical role that suffering plays in the life of the believer by confirming the share that we have in Christ. To Paul, suffering does not represent evidence against God’s favor toward us, but rather of proof that God is bringing us to glory by the same path that Jesus himself walked.