Philippians: The Gospel Can’t be Chained

September 13, 2017

Phil 1:12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the Gospel.

Paul is in jail in Rome, writing to his friends far across the sea in Philippi. He manifests a reaction that inevitably makes the world sit up and take notice. He understood that adversity means advance.

The manifestation of this kind of attitude is an indication of Christian maturity. The Christian who knows the God of the impossible knows that even through apparent defeat, God is still able to work powerfully. Such a Christian has begun to grow up in the Lord. She recognizes that in God, obstacles are really opportunities, and nothing can really imperil the advance of God’s Kingdom and the Gospel. That is an amazing declaration when you think about it. Nothing that is intended to defeat ever brings ultimate defeat. God will have His way despite the obstacles, and all obstacles only serve ultimately for God’s glory and our good. He is sovereign over every detail of our lives.

Think of how easily Paul could have been discouraged. There is no doubt he was tempted many times to feel sorry for himself and to wonder why God would ever let this kind of thing happen to him when all he was trying to do was fulfill God’s will. And because he was human, no doubt he DID get discouraged at times. Yet as we read the letters that come from him during his time in prison, there is not one word of complaint or doubt. Instead there is a marvelously triumphant spirit and expression of confidence. Why? When he was tempted, Paul undoubtedly fell back on what he knew about his God and trusted Him, even against all odds. His supreme treasure in life was knowing Christ and making Him known, and no one or nothing could ultimately stop him from that mission.

On this side of Paul’s imprisonment, we see clearly perhaps the greatest purpose of his imprisonment: not just the church in Philippi, but Christians through the ages have had access to Paul’s words that most likely would not have been penned without his imprisonment. God is truly working all things together for good.