What does it mean that for “me to live is Christ”?






Living as a Christian Through Faith in Christ

I. Introduction

“For me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21). Here, Paul’s statement comes at the end of some context. He is in prison because of the slander and lies of the Jews, and he is looking forward most likely to his death. He knows people are preaching the gospel out of spite and envy just to add to his affliction, and yet, he is full of joy. He attributes this to the “supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:19). He says, “This shall turn out to me for salvation through your prayer and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, that according to my earnest expectation and hope, as always, even now Christ will be magnified in my body with all boldness, whether through life or through death. For me to live is Christ!” (Philippians 1:19-21).

Paul had an earnest expectation and hope that he would not be defeated by his circumstances, but that as always, Christ would be magnified and put on display in them. He knew how to draw on the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:13), and for Paul, the manifestation of Christ “in my mortal body” was very real (2 Corinthians 4:10-11). That was how he lived. He lived by the Spirit, which is life, which raised Christ from the dead and now dwells in the believers, giving life to his mortal body (Romans 8:11). This Spirit not only literally raised him from the dead several times when he was stoned during various riots (Acts 14:19-20; 2 Corinthians 11:25-26), but the Spirit was the comforter who filled him with the comforts of God, ministering Christ directly to Paul as a satisfying drink, so that later in Philippians he called himself a “drink offering” (Philippians 2:17), which is a picture of the new wine that causes us to rejoice and joy in Christ, or as Peter says it, “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).

The Spirit, which is the life of Christ as living water for us to drink and be satisfied (John 4:14; John 7:37-39) is the source of our joy and the secret of the Christian life. To live Christ is to live more and more dependent upon Him to satisfy us and not rely on our natural strength or our own righteousness or our own wisdom to get us through any situation. We look to Him! This is to live by faith! (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3-4).

II. Living through faith in Christ

A. Not about works or law-keeping.

B. Deep understanding and appreciation for the Gospel message

  • Christ’s death and resurrection

C. Christ as the source of righteousness and power for sanctification

  • “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” (Romans 3:21-22)
  • “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

D. Living a new life in the Spirit

  • “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

III. The Gospel is about Jesus Christ

A. Not about the individual

B. Importance of understanding and believing in new identity in Christ

  • “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Keywords:

  • Christ
  • Christian life
  • gospel
  • grace
  • law versus grace
  • sanctification

I. “For me to live is Christ” means living through faith in Christ

  • A. Not about works or law-keeping (Galatians 2:16)
  • B. Deep understanding and appreciation for the Gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
  • C. Christ is the source of righteousness and power for sanctification (Philippians 3:9, 1 Corinthians 1:30)
  • D. New life in the Spirit through Him (Romans 8:11)

II. The Gospel is about Jesus Christ, not the individual

  • A. Importance of understanding and believing in new identity in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • B. Christ is the center of the Gospel message (1 Corinthians 2:2)

       

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