We are Free in the Gospel
Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard[b] and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. Philippians 1:12-14
The Palace Guard was an exclusive unit of soldiers reserved for the emperor of Rome. Their detail was to handle all emperor security affairs, including the overseeing of any prisoners of the emperor. What Paul did or said to end up a personal prisoner of the emperor, we have no idea. You can bet its gospel related. Its widely viewed that this type of imprisonment that Paul faced was not one where he lived out his sentence in a prison cell, but in fact chained to a Palace Guard at all times.
Instead of being resentful Paul found this predicament as advancement for the gospel. Even the guards could testify to this through their time with Paul. What may have been considered a punishment for being a follower of Christ was in fact a blessing for the guards. They got to experience the love of Christ, through the way Paul lived in his circumstances. What do you suppose the chains were like between the two? Was it taut or more likely filled with slack? Paul was probably not a burden to the guard, and expressed personal care towards the guard’s well being. Paul saw this restriction allowed by God as a focused mission to witness to these men and their families; to show them how important Christ was over his physical freedom.
So what a joy it must have been to
send this letter to Philippi and share of how God is using his imprisonment to further the Glory of His kingdom. Not only to the guards but also to other believers, who are inspired to hold
firm to the gospel.
We will never fully comprehend the reach God’s love will extend through our persecution or trials we may face. But when we choose to live for Christ within suffering we may see the deepening of our dependency of Christ and inspire others to do more of the same. Our walk can affect other’s walks with Christ. Let us spur each other into boldness through our fellowship.
Rick Terletzky Excerpt from "Philippians: Devotional Commentary" ©2019 Kingship