Friday, 16 December 2016
For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Philippians 1:19
Paul’s words in this verse are debated, but the intent is not uncertain when looked at from his perspective. He says, “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance.” The word “deliverance” is also translated as “salvation.” It is the word which indicates both, sótéria. Because of this, some argue that it must mean his “salvation” from captivity. This is what one would expect, especially when translated as “deliverance.” But this is not correct because this was completely uncertain to him, as he will note in the next verse. However confident he was in his heart, he was still uncertain in reality concerning what would happen to him. This is seen in verses 25 & 26. His confidence notwithstanding, it is not speaking of specifically his deliverance from captivity.
The term “salvation” or “deliverance” is also not speaking of his salvation in regards to his state before God. That was determined when he received Christ. And so there is only a third option left to consider. His words actually quote Job 13:16, which he then applies to himself –
“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.
Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.
16 He also shall be my salvation,
For a hypocrite could not come before Him.”
Understanding this, we see that he is speaking of the simple form of the word as we would think of it. There is nothing specific in the “salvation,” such as release from captivity or standing approved before God. Rather it is the fact that through good or bad he will be delivered. If he is to be executed, he will be delivered from that death. If he is to go on living, he will be delivered from whatever trial or trouble he faces. He may have to go through those trials or troubles, but they will not be the end for him. A good example to think of is a man standing at the side of his wife who is on her death-bed. There is no doubt that she will die, and yet he says, “We will get through this.” It is a simple statement of fact that deliverance is at hand, regardless of the outcome. This is the intent of Paul’s words.
And he notes to them that this “deliverance” is to come “through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” There is an intimate connection in the Greek between the two nouns, “prayer” and “supply.” This is accomplished by the use of one preposition and one article. As Jamieson-Faucett-Brown states it –
“Through your prayer and (the consequent) supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (obtained for me through your prayer).”
He is aware that they are praying for him, and he earnestly believes that those prayers help him in the process of his deliverance. The prayers are raised, and the Spirit is returned in answer to the prayers.
Life application: We should never underestimate the power of prayer. Paul didn’t, the other apostles and the prophets didn’t, and even more – Jesus didn’t. They are all recorded as praying and expecting that those prayers were heard. If this is so, and as we are now sealed with God’s Spirit unto salvation, why should we think that our prayers are not heard? Let us be people of prayer, willing to expend those prayers for the needs of others and for the desires of our hearts as well.
Most gracious heavenly Father, Your word shows us that prayers are important in our relationship with You. There we see that the prophets and the apostles were people of prayer. And they were also strengthened through the prayers of others – both individuals and groups. And even more, Jesus prayed heartily unto You. Why should we think that our prayers are somehow unimportant to You? You have sealed believers in Christ with Your Spirit. No closer intimacy than that can ever exist! Thank You for the knowledge that our prayers are heard. Help us to be people of powerful prayer. Amen.