On the 18th April 1521 Martin Luther, the German Reformer stood before the Diet of Worms (a political assembly gathered at Worms in Germany). Luther was summoned to the diet to answer for the contents of books he had written against the teaching of Rome. As Luther stood before the august assembly he was by no means a tower of defiant human strength; he was afraid for his life. But Luther was bound in his conscience by the teaching of the Word of God, and he stood therefore with trembling dogmatism as the first Protestant leader of the Reformation and made his famous “Here I Stand” speech.
In Philippians 1:21 Paul makes his famous statement: “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” This was pretty dogmatic, and so we look for proof or for some foundation for it and we find it in the previous verses (19–20). Paul is in prison facing death. There are those at Rome preaching the gospel out of envy and strife seeking to hurt Paul. But Paul is confident that the Lord will vindicate him—“this shall turn to my salvation.” This is a direct quotation from the Greek translation (Septuagint) of Job 13:16 where Job, in similar conditions said, “He also shall be my salvation,[for an hypocrite shall not come before Him].”
Like Job, who said, “though he slay me,” Paul knew that “whether it be by life or by death” God would vindicate him. His “earnest expectation and hope” was not, as we might think, deliverance from prison or extended life, but that God would vindicate him. He would have the imprimatur of the Infinite on his life. Paul knew Whom he believed (2 Timothy 1:12) and what he believed about Him, and in this calm assurance he could dogmatically affirm, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Reading: “For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.”—Philippians 1:19–20