Each day is a day's march nearer home , until in the end when our temporary camp in this world is forever struck and exchanged for our permanent residence in the world of glory.
Phil 1:23 refutes the false doctrine of soul sleep , the teaching that the dead exist in a state of unconsciousness until their resurrection.
When believers die, they immediately depart to be with Christ, like the penitent thief on the cross, to whom Jesus said,
"Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23) Moses and Elijah's appearance at the Transfiguration (Matt 17:3) and the fully conscious martyred Tribulation believers (Rev 6:9-11) also refute soul sleep.
The New Testament uses sleep as a metaphor for death . Stephen "called on the Lord and said, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!' Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them!' Having said this, he fell asleep ” .
The believer's supreme hope is to be with Christ throughout all eternity, and to depart to be with Him begins that blissful experience. (morning/eve)
“ Very much better ” translates a double comparative in Greek, expressing the highest superlative.
Therefore, as far as believers' personal satisfaction and joy are concerned, going to heaven is obviously very much better than staying on earth.
Like Paul, all believers should "prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord " (2 Cor 5:8).
2 Corinthians 5:6-10 6 “Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord -
8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord .
9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him .
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ , so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-10
At the end of the millennium, we will be freed from the pain, sorrow, and suffering of this present life and ushered into the Lord's glorious presence .
There we will experience the marvelous freedom of eternal righteousness and glory and serve Him day and night in His temple;
and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over us .
“ We will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on us, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be our Shepherd,
and will guide us to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from our eyes.” (Rev 7:15-17)
We will no longer see God through "a mirror dimly, but face to face ," no longer know "in part, but . . .know fully just as we also have been fully known”.
Because we "are children of God, . . . we will then be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is" (1 John 3:2).
Job's confidence will be ours: "Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God ; Whom I myself shall behold, and Whom my eyes will see and not another.”
Philippians 1:23 23 “But I am hard-pressed from both directions , having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;”
Philippians 1:24 24 “ yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.”
To remain on, to abide -- to continue somewhat longer . for your sake -- Greek, " on your account "; in order to be of service to you, I am willing to forgo my entrance a little sooner into blessedness; Heaven will not fail to be mine at last.
As long as the Lord had work for him to do on earth, that is where Paul wanted to be .
Paul would gladly postpone his heavenly blessings for the sake of continuing to serve earthly saints.
Paul's " heaven on earth " was helping others ! While he longed to be with Christ, he eagerly yearned to remain and help these believers grow in Christ.
Philippians 1:25-26 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith,
26 “so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.”
It was Paul's conviction that, he would "remain and continue with them”.
There is a word-play in the Greek that can not be reproduced in the English. The word for to remain is menein ; and that for to continue is paramenein.
The point is this; menein simply means to remain with; but paramenein ( para , is the Greek for beside) means to “ wait beside a person ever ready to help ”.
Paul's desire to live is not for his own sake, but for the sake of those whom he can continue to help.
Paul is practical. He still has work to do . These folk need his ministry. He wanted to get out of prison and go to be with them again.
People who are always saying, "Oh, if the Lord would only come," should get busy ! This is the only place where we can do any work that is going to count for a reward for Him.
This is the stage on which you and I play our part. We should want to stay as long as possible .
Philippians 1:27 27 “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the G ospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel;”
Paul knew that it does not take long even for a faithful church to slip into indifference and eventually into moral and doctrinal error.
He calls on the Philippians to maintain their spiritual commitment, to continue to behave in a way that is consistent with the power of the Gospel.
Regardless of what happened to Paul, he implored them, “ Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ”, What truly mattered was their consistent, holy conduct .
Above all , Paul wanted their lives to reflect worthily on the Gospel of Christ.
It is a truth the apostle reiterates implicitly throughout the letter and explicitly in the next chapter , admonishing them:
"Prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,
among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain" (2:15-16).
Politeuomai( conduct ) is the main verb in verses 27-30, which in the Greek is a single sentence.
It comes from the root word polis (city, ‘metro polis ’), which in earlier times usually referred to the city -states to which inhabitants gave their primary allegiance.
The verb carries the basic meaning of being a citizen(city-zen)
It means being a good citizen , one whose conduct brings honor to the political body to whom one belongs.
Roman society, like Greek society before it, was highly community-conscious .
The individual was subordinate to the state, and a person's skills, talents, energy, and endeavors were devoted first of all to the interests of society at large.
It was not a coerced subjection , as in modern totalitarian states, but was based on a willing sense of interdependence in which citizens took great pride.
A responsible citizen was careful not to do anything that would bring disrepute on his polis (citi).
And he tried always to be considered an honorable citizen , so that he would never be removed from the list of citizens.
Paul may have had that sense of dedication in mind in using the term politeuomai (to conduct ).
If the citizens of Philippi were so devoted to the honor of their human kingdom, how much more should believers be devoted to the kingdom of Christ (Col 1:12-13)?
Colossians 1:13 13“ For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son ,”
Therefore, Paul charged them to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ, to live as faithful citizens of heaven (3:20).
20 “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;” Philippians 3:20
The church , though imperfect, is the earthly manifestation of that perfect and eternal kingdom of heaven in this present age (Col 1:13).
Heavenly conduct is characterized by being "blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world" (2:15).
To live in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ is to live a life consistent with God's revealed Word .
That includes living a life that corresponds to the divine truth Christians profess to believe, preach, teach, and defend. In other words, it means living with integrity in every facet of life.
The church's greatest testimony before the world is spiritual integrity .
When Christians live below the standards of Biblical morality and reverence for their Lord, they compromise the full Biblical truth concerning the character, plan, and will of God.
By so doing, we seriously weaken the credibility of the Gospel and lessen our impact on the world.
God's people have always been at enmity with the world , because the world is at enmity with God (Rom 1:28; 5:10; Eph 2:3).
But the world can hardly be expected to embrace a faith whose proponents so little emulate its standards of holiness and fail to manifest the transforming power of Christ.
When the unsaved look at the church and do not see holiness, purity, and virtue, there appears to be no reason to believe the Gospel it proclaims.
When pastors commit gross sins and are later restored to positions of leadership in the church; when church members lie, steal, cheat, gossip,
and quarrel ; and when congregations seem to care little about such sin and hypocrisy in their midst, the world is
understandably repulsed by our claims to love and serve God. And the name of Christ is sullied and dishonored .
The point here is that those who belong to Christ through saving faith in His Gospel should demonstrate that power by their changed lives (2 Cor 5:17).
Paul’s appeal therefore was that whether he was to come and see them or remain absent , they were to trust the Lord and live worthy of Him.