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Sunday, 22 February 2009

St Paul on a similar subject to Socrates

This is from his lovely letter to the Philippians. He hasn't been convicted by a court, like Socrates, but thinks he may be. His question isn't about what lies beyond death - he knows that it's Jesus. He is just wondering whether it's being selfish to want to be with Jesus immediately, or whether he really ought to do a few more years' hard labour for the gospel in this life.

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

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