Monday, October 25, 2021

"To Live Is Christ" Means What?

Does teaching the infinitive excite anybody else? That's exactly what I'll be doing in Greek class tonight.

Be aware that the significance of these little verb forms is often overlooked. Here's a shot of my Greek New Testament. 

I was in Philippians 1:21 this morning. And yes, Paul uses not one but two infinitives in this verse that we have all memorized. Does it matter that one of them is in the present tense: "For to me, to go on living is Christ"? 

More importantly, does it matter that Paul isn't just talking about having "Jesus and me" moments throughout our day? In light of the theme of the letter, to go on living must have a greater purpose. And it does. Which is another reason why I love the Bible everyone told me I should hate when I was in high school. Here's how The Living Bible (as opposed to The Dead Bible) renders the passage:

For to me, living means more opportunities for Christ, and dying -- well, that's better yet! But if living will give me more opportunities to win people to Christ, then I really don't know which is better, to live or die!

It's okay to tie this verse into the Great Commission. Paul does. Right along with my daily, moment-by-moment walk with the Lord, I am learning to simply be available on a moment's notice to share the love of Jesus with anyone, anytime. I'm learning that faith isn't only a personal experience but a shared one. It's faith partly because it's to be declared. It's joining in the lamentations of this world in order to further heaven's hope for mankind and summon God's healing in ways big and small. 

Set out, pilgrim. Set out this day to know Christ intimately and personally. "To know him" -- that's our goal. But don't stop there. Again, to cite TLB (Phil. 3:10):

Now I have given up everything else -- I have found it to be the only way to really know Christ and to experience the mighty power that brought him back to life again, and to find what it means to suffer and die with him

I cling to my Jesus now more than I ever used to. But this Jesus is a serving, giving, selfless Jesus, always putting the interests of others before his own. And because of my daily walk with him, I find myself  being changed ever more into his likeness, into the heart God has for the world.