Daily Word of Grace # 258 (June 8, 2021)
During his first imprisonment in Rome the Apostle Paul wrote his Letter to the Philippians, a letter replete with the theme of joy: “I rejoice, yes, and I will continue to rejoice” (Philippians 1:18), “make my joy complete” (2:2), “I am glad and rejoice with all of you—and in the same way you also must be glad and rejoice with me” (2:17-18), “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice” (4:4)—on and on. If this letter was written by someone imprisoned for the gospel, why does it overflow with joy and repeatedly reiterate the command to rejoice? Because the Apostle Paul had experienced the unconditional love of God in Jesus Christ, even while imprisoned, a love for which he had willingly lost everything: “Whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness of God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (3:7-10-11). Paul knew beyond a doubt that whatever he would go through, the final word on his life belonged to the One whose love he experienced so thoroughly—and so no matter what happened to him, he rejoiced and overflowed with joy.
Love and Prayers,