For me, to Live is Christ
Pastor Jon Hueni | February 21, 2021
Pastor Jon Hueni | February 21, 2021
A world in pandemic panic mode, due to the fear of death, needs to meet believers in Jesus Christ who can say with great confidence what the apostle Paul said when he was staring his own death in the face, "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, or magnified, in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
So some simple questions this morning, Paul, What is life to you? What's living all about for you? What gets you up in the morning keeps you going till night? (What is) your central aim, your number one priority, your passion that drives you? Maybe you could even sum it up in just one word?
"Oh, that's easy, because to me, to live is Christ. Christ. It's all about Him. The real living Person, the eternal Son of God, who became a man to save us and died and rose again and now forever lives for us. It's about knowing Him. It's about loving Him, worshiping Him, trusting Him, obeying Him, serving Him. It's about doing His will, seeking His honor, spreading His gospel, making Him known. To me, life is Christ."
So what about you (reader)? What is life for you? Is it Christ? Is He the center? The sun of your solar system? Or does life still revolve around you? Is it Jesus in the morning, Jesus in the noon time, Jesus when the sun goes down? Does He have His fingers in every aspect of your day and life? Is He the center of your least ambition? The focus of your greatest endeavor? Is He your best thought by day or by night? Is His love your soul's chief treasure? Is is smile, your chief delight? Is Christ the one word summary of your life?
Paul, another simple question for you...What is death to you?
"These really are simple questions, John, for to me to die is gain. It's profit. It's better, indeed it's better by far!"
So, again, let me ask you (reader). What is death to you? If it came calling for you today, would it be gain for you or loss for you? Which?
Now, Paul would be the first to tell us that his life was not always Christ. The first part of his life was all about himself, wasn't it? Serving self, pleasing self, making a name for himself. And Paul used religion to that end. You remember, he was rising to the top. He was the rising star in 1st century Judaism. Why? Because he was persecuting and killing the followers of that "false messiah", Jesus, as the Jews thought of Him. Paul's living for himself and all the while thinking he's serving God. That God is pleased with him. Thinking his own religious deeds and works are piling up enough merit for him to get into heaven at last. That was the way Paul began and continued his life. So, Paul would tell us very frankly, "Life to me was not always Christ. And therefore, death to me was not always gain.” You see, these two are intimately connected. “No, death would have been loss, eternal loss, to have died without Christ as my Lord and Savior."
But you remember how Paul met the living Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus? His eyes were open to the glory of God in the person of Christ and also opened to himself. And he saw himself as he really was for the first time, a wretched sinner with no righteousness to commend him to God, only sin that deserved damnation and judgment. He was guilty, but now with open eyes he saw that Jesus Christ fully met his need, his greatest need for forgiveness and new life. Pardon...to be right with God...it was to be found in Jesus Christ. And so he abandoned his own way, and he trusted in Christ alone, receiving Him, and His righteousness, and His forgiveness, and His eternal life. And then he had a new reason to live, a new center, a new focus, a new purpose, a new priority. Then, "to me, to live" became Christ. And from that moment on, "for me, to die" was gain. You see, the two are inseparable. To die is gain only if to live is Christ.
Now we're just getting started in this letter of the Philippians, and here we are at verse 21, "To me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” But we've already seen that Paul's life is Christ. Life equals Christ for Paul, his identity right off the bat. What's he say? "It's all wrapped up in Christ.” “Paul and Timothy...servants" (or better slaves) "of Christ Jesus.” Paul's identity can only be understood in relation to Christ. "I'm His slave. I exist to do His will."
His unity with all the other believers is based in Christ as he continues verse one, "...to all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi.” So Paul's a man in Christ, but he's not the only man in Christ. All other true believers are in Christ. And so Paul's unity with every other is found in Christ. That's his identity, that's his unity.
And thirdly, it's his joy. His joy is in Christ. Where is Paul when he writes this? He's in prison. But Paul hasn't hitched his joy to the horse of circumstance. He's hitched his joy to Christ. And that's why it's not affected, and it's not lost or robbed in prison. And his mission? It's all about Christ being proclaimed. Others were doing it more boldly due to Paul's example, and in prison, he found a new audience to tell people about Jesus. It was all about Christ, you see, for Paul. And "because of this, I rejoice", he says. So we're not surprised when we get down to verse 21 to hear Paul say, "For to me life is Christ.” That's what we've seen already in these first 20 some verses. His identity , his unity, his joy, his mission...indeed, his entire life is all wrapped up in the person of Christ. And I think we need to pause and let that grip us this morning.
These three major themes that we're looking at in the letter…our unity, our joy and our mission, they'll only be accomplished to the extent that Christ Himself is our life. That will affect each of these major themes. Christ is the heartbeat of it all. He's the source, the life-giving fountain by which our unity, our joy, and our mission are advanced and increased. So this letter, then, is not ultimately about Paul. We're going to learn a lot about him, by the way, but it's predominantly about Christ. That's the undergirding theme of these other subthemes, that we might call them. Paul's simply one stage upon which the real actor, Christ, is being portrayed. And in this letter, Paul is leading us to Christ. He's pointing away from himself to Christ. So looking at the apostle as we meet him in this letter, we may marvel at him and rightly so, but if we stop there we miss the point entirely. We're meant to ask, "What must there be in Christ for a man to make Him his life. What's driving it? What's the source of this life? What is it about this Christ that has so captivated the apostle Paul that He has become his life?” And there were no doubt many things, but I believe preeminently what the records show is that it was the Lord Jesus' love of which we sang this morning, a love like none other. Paul never got over this. "That the Son of God loved me and gave himself for me. That He would take my place, be cursed that I might be blessed. Die, that I might live and really live, forever.”
He tells us that it was that intoxicating love of Christ for him that held him in its grip. "The love of Christ constrains me. It compels me. It squeezes me. It holds me to do what? To no longer live for myself, but for Him who died for me and was raised to life.” Paul had found in Christ a love that was better than life. A love that would not let him go, and, "thus he bound me to Him.” It is Christ...it is His love in the gospel, then, that makes a man or woman, boy or girl, to say, "For me to live is Christ.” And where that's true, there's this never ending supply for our unity, and joy, and completing of the mission.
So let's think as we're considering verse 21 this morning especially, "How do you think about your Christian life?” Let's consider some pie charts. If we could have the first one. Is that the way you think of your Christian life? So you have life, your life made up of many parts. There's the family, your marriage and children and parents, your finances, your work, your rest and recreation, your entertainments, your health, your body and then your troubles. Really, the T could be in every one of those slices, couldn't it, as each slice has troubles of its own? And then your other relationships. And then there's Christ. Is that how you think of your life? Well, some people would say, "Well, no, that's obviously wrong, Christ doesn't have a big enough slice of the pie." So if we could have a second slide...there. "Now it's fixed. Now we've got it in right proportion, all these other areas of our life...but Christ has the biggest part of my life."
Well, that's to miss the point of what Paul is saying in our text. What Paul is saying is the third slide. That, "Christ IS my life. There is no part of my life but that Christ is the most important part of that. He IS my life, not just part of my life, not just the biggest part of my life, but ALL my life in its entirety.” Nothing in life is to be detached from Christ. He, the person of Jesus, is to fill every nook and cranny, every aspect of life. It's to find its purpose in Christ, its meaning, its significance, its priority focus in HIM.
So let's work that out in three lessons this morning.
LESSON 1: If Christ is your life, then magnifying Him is your number one goal. Your passionate pursuit in life. If Christ is your life, then magnifying Him is your number one goal in the whole of life. Notice how Paul puts it in verse 20, "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 magnified in my body whether by life or by death. Christ magnified by life. MY life. Or MY death."
Notice the word here for "Christ will be exalted or magnified", it's the Greek word MEGA-LUNO. Mega, we know a little about mega don't we in these days? Mega means great, doesn't it? Large. T o make large is the idea of this word. Hence, "to magnify", which most versions translate "exalted or magnified.” It's what a magnifying glass does. It makes objects look big and great. Mega.
I've often shared this with you. Remember the young boy that went with his father to hear the great evangelist, George Whitfield, preach? And when he came home the report he gave to his mother about Whitfield was that, "He made God look big.” Mega. And, of course, God IS big and Whitfield showed that in what he said about Him. He magnified God. He showed how great and good He is. Now, you don't have to be a preacher in order to do that. You, too, have a great BIG Savior and Lord who's majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders!
And you are one of those wonders. YOU are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus. YOU are His work of art that He is showing off in this dark world. And in seeing you and in hearing you, others are to be impressed, not with YOU, but with the greatness and glory of the Artist Himself. In that way, Christ is to be magnified as they meet up with you. You're a disciple of Christ! And in watching you and listening to you, they're to go away thinking bigger and better and more highly of your Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. Now that's how Christ is magnified in your body. "What must her Master be that sustains her joy in the midst of such sorrow? What must his Master be to make him so full of love to others?” You see? "Christ is magnified in my body.” That becomes the priority when Christ is your life. Magnifying HIM is your number one goal.
Now let's see how this works out, not just in theory, but in practice. So there's Paul. He's in prison. He's awaiting the outcome of his trial. It could end either in his freedom or in his execution. Life and death are hanging in the balance for Paul. What would be your number one concern? If that was you in prison awaiting the outcome of your trial? Life and death. What's your number one concern? "Lord, get me out of this alive!" Not Paul. What he wants more than anything else is seen in verse 20, "that Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. You see, here's something more important than life itself. That the matchless worth of Christ will be put on display in me...whether that is by living or dying. So that if I live, then let me show that Christ is worth living for. That He's worth serving with all my heart and strength and mind and ALL my life. And if I die, let me show that Christ is a master worth dying for. That His love is better than life. That there is no fear in death for those who are in Christ. So that in life or death, what does it matter if only that Christ's greatness, Christ's magnificence, can be seen in me?"
Can you see how with this attitude, Paul can't lose, can he? There's only two options and he's a winner in either one if he's able thereby to magnify his wonderful Lord Jesus. He knows that each of those two situations has its own opportunity to magnify Christ. Do you look at life that way? Is that how you look at your life? As opportunities to magnify Christ? So are you asking in your present circumstances, or, in the phrase that keeps coming up in Paul's letter, "in what's happening to you right now?” Are you asking the question, "How can the greatness and goodness of Christ be seen in me in this circumstance? Lord, I'm here by your appointment. Give me sufficient courage to magnify you here."
And if Paul can do this in his prison, we can surely do it in our pandemic. He was cut off from his usual missionary journeys. He's not going hither and thither as he used to be able to. His freedom has been slammed into a cell, into a prison. And Paul finds there are other ways to magnify his Christ. Because he's not complaining about prison, but he's seeking his number one goal in life. "That whatever I'm doing, that there, I might be magnifying and making much of Christ to others."
Are you asking what would most magnify Christ in this pandemic? Griping and complaining with everyone else on the planet? Or rejoicing in Christ that you have such a wonderful friend in Jesus? Living in dread, fear of death? Or trusting in Christ, as one who is ready and willing to die and go to be with Him. "How can I best magnify Christ in this situation?"
Go back through the pie chart of of your life. Each area...your marriage and family. "How can I magnify Christ as a wife? In good times and in the difficulties and tension times, how can I, as a wife, most magnify Jesus then? And here?”
As a husband, "How can I so love my wife in a way that would reflect upon Christ’s love for the church?
As for children, "How can I so honor my father and mother so that other people see me obey their commands. First time! Doing it all! Doing it now! Doing it with the right heart attitude!" That they will say, "Christ does make a change in children's lives.” “Even a child can be known by his actions. Whether they're good or bad.” You see the goal..."Magnify Christ!"
Or go to your money. How can I put my money to the use that will magnify Christ? Well, I can control my spending so that I can pay my bills on time and be an honor to the Savior. I can provide for my own family...which if I don't do, I'm worse than an infidel. I need to have others think well of Christ by the way I provide for them, by the way I provide for the needs of others, and by the way I advance the cause of the gospel. That's what the Philippians were doing. Remember? As soon as Paul came to town, these first people were converted, and they said, "Here, Paul, take our money and go tell others about Christ.” Is it not the best money you've ever spent, that which you've invested in the advancement of the gospel of Christ? Laying up treasures in heaven.
What about the workplace as you're driving to work? Nobody's driving to work anymore! As you're walking into your study or wherever you do work at your house, are you asking, "How can I bring people there at my workplace to see the worthiness of Jesus?” By the way I work? By my interactions with them? My care for them? My witness to them? My rest and recreation? My entertainments?” It's all connected to Christ, you see. What would honor Him? What would speak well of Him (and show) that He's my greatest joy? How do I conduct myself in that area?
"My health? My body? What would most magnify God in the way I treat my body?”, remembering that it's the temple for the Spirit of Christ? And so I must be concerned about the sleep I give it, and the food I give it, and the exercise I give it. I must do something...for, as Paul says, "so that Christ may be magnified in my body, whether by life or death.” Everything we do, folks, is in the body. Therefore, we must relate this to Christ as well. Learn to take care of His temple without turning the temple into an idol and worshiping it. And if your health is poor. You must ask then as well, "How can I magnify Christ in poor health?” And if it's not poor health, "How can I use this energy of my body to serve Him?
Troubles. That's a slice of life that none of us ever escape. It actually plagues each slice of life. Troubles are not an excuse to take a break from magnifying Christ. Rather, it's just a new arena for opportunities to magnify Him. And so my ultimate goal in my affliction is not to escape from it, but to magnify Christ IN it. So in MY troubles, you and your troubles, I need to spend less time fretting about how I can get out of them, and more time thinking and praying about how I can magnify Christ IN them. Showing Him to be more than enough for me. A satisfying fountain in this desert-like world of troubles. Shouldn't He have a testimony of His greatness among people who are in trouble?
And your other relationships... Paul's already exemplified that to us, hasn't he? When even other Christians are mistreating you? They were happy that he was in prison. And trying to stir up more trouble for him in prison...his brothers in Christ. So what response would best magnify Christ in this situation? Would it be by defending myself? Arguing, complaining, caught up in their petty rivalry in order to be sure that I get the respect I deserve? Paul had that hanging right out before him, that temptation. Or would Christ be magnified more by refusing to be drawn into this conflict, and to overlook this offense, and instead to rejoice in the Lord and to pray for those who despitefully use me? It's something Christ-like to be seen in me. There's something devilish about what they're showing at this moment. Oh, but that something Christ-like could be seen in me! Him. "Though I'm belittled, He's magnified! So what does it matter?”
I trust you can see what a guiding principle this is for us in all things. When Christ is your life, magnifying Him is your priority, purpose, and pursuit in all things. Not your comfort and ease. Not what comes naturally to you. But HIS greatness, HIS glory. And that's something that can be done by all of us who are His children, everywhere and in all aspects of our life. So let's pray it in and let's work it out. Let's think about it in each of those areas.
Next, Paul opens up his mind to us and he lets us in, and we get inside and we see he's been thinking about these two possibilities of the outcome of his trial. It could be life. It could be death. And it's got him in this dilemma. He doesn't know which to prefer or to choose (as if it were his to choose) because each option has much to be said for it. He's listing the pluses on either side. And so he's considering first the possibilities of his life continuing. And he says in verse 22, "If I'm to go on living in the body, well, this will mean fruitful labor for me.” Paul has spent this part of his Christian life going around preaching up Christ. And what is he seeing? He's seeing tremendous fruit among Jews and Gentiles all over the world, "as they turned to God from their idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for His Son from heaven, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath that is coming!” What a thrill! And then to see the Word of God, under the power of the Spirit of God, transforming their lives from the inside out. Making holiness their desire. Making Christ their life. Fixing up all sorts of things in family life, in financial life, in recreational life, in the work life. All of life you see turned right side up. Paul saw the fruits of his labors. It was exhilarating work to the apostle. There is nothing like it. He would gladly go on spending and being spent in the cause of such a Savior and friend. "Life doesn't get any better than when it results in Christ being magnified in me and through me in other people's lives!"
And so he's just about to pull the voting machine lever down and choose life, when he starts thinking about the second possibility. Oh, now he really starts salivating! For he says, "I desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is better by far! To break camp here in this vale of tears and suffering, and to go and laugh on glory's side. Ah, that's what I want! To be with Christ, the lover of my soul! To look on Him who bore the crown of thorns for me! Who drank the bitter cup of God's wrath to the dregs for me! Who purchased me with His own life's blood! To be with Him of whom I've read! Of whom I've talked to in prayer! Of whom I've heard about all my life, and to be with Him! To see him! In His presence is fullness of joy, and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore! To be with Christ, Who is all the glory of Emanuel's land!"
You see, his mind could go on and on and on, and he does so in his writings, doesn't he? Of all the advantages of why he would want to depart and to be with Christ? He says it's better by far. It's a rare triple comparative. He doesn't say it's better. He doesn't just say it's more better. He says it's much more better. There's a triple comparative. "To depart and be with Christ...much more better."
Now, he's not comparing it to hell. He's not saying that to go to heaven would be better than hell. Some people think that way. No, he's comparing it with going on living in this life, serving Christ and enjoying fellowship with Christ as he does in the body now. "No, better to leave the body in the grave for now. My soul will go to be with Christ and enjoy Him immediately. Today, you'll be with me in paradise! To be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord, which is much more better. Better than I have here now as a man in Christ, but on the Earth. Because there, no temptations will be able to reach me. I'm done with that inner struggle between my will and His will. I'm done with everything bad. And I'm beginning that new existence to be with Christ, which is far, far, far better!"
And to be privileged to die a martyrs death? Well, that would just magnify Christ. To prove to the world by sealing my testimony with my blood, that Jesus is worth dying for. That's better by far. Given that privilege.
So now he's ready to pull the lever on death, you see. That would be preferred over life. He's being pulled this way and that way, or pressured, pushed, this way and that way so that he's torn between the two. "What shall I choose? I don't know.” Thankfully, it wasn't up to him to choose, really, was it? He's just trying to share with us his thoughts about which it might be.
Are these two choices both desirable for you? To depart and be with Christ. Is that a plus for you? Is it not just a plus, but a triple plus? Much more better? And is it your desire to live for Christ such a life that HE is your life. It's love for Christ that makes either option desirable. If Christ is your life, then to live is gain. But to go and depart to be with Christ is also gain. So Paul shares with us the tie-breaking consideration. See if you can pick it out in verse 23 through 26: "I'm torn between the two. I desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is better by far. But it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again, your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me."
Tiebreaker: "What is more necessary for you?” And everything else is subordinated to that. Paul's own desire? It would be to pull the lever to depart and be with Christ. "But it's more necessary for you. Yes, I have pluses to stay here, but in the end it would be more necessary for you that I remain and minister to you.” So his own desire is sacrificed and sublimated/subordinated to their needs. What was good for them was counted more important than what was desirable for him. And that's what tipped the scales for the apostle Paul.
And that's what tipped the scales for Jesus Christ, the Son of God. You see, Paul's practicing what he's about to preach in chapter two and verse four when he says, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests...what you desire, what you want...but to the interests of others.” And that's what Christ did for us. That's what he's going to tell them in chapter two. There He is in glory, with all the perks of glory, in heaven with His father. An He subordinated all of that... for what? For what was in YOUR best interest. He saw YOUR need and He set apart His own interests, His own desires, and He came and He became nothing. He became a man. He became a servant. He became obedient to the hellish death of the cross.
Why? Because that's what was most necessary for YOU! That YOU might be saved! That YOU might live forever! And Paul is going to tell them, “That's the attitude. The attitude that is in Christ Jesus that must be in you if you would know anything of unity there at Philippi.” And Paul's imitating that same Spirit here. "I desire to depart, but it's more needful for you. And so my desire to depart is trumped by your greater need.” And that's how you magnify Christ in a self-seeking world. You go and do as Jesus did. With self-denying love. Denying yourself to serve the needs of others.
So whose interests will you serve this week instead of your own? Go back through your pie chart and ask in each area, "Whose interests, needs, will I serve at the expense of my own desires that could have been spent using that time, that money for myself?” That's LESSON 2: Magnify Christ and sacrifice your desires for the needs of others.
Now, lastly, notice the reason Paul would rather remain alive and continue to minister to them. Verse 25, he says, "It's for your progress and joy in the faith. Your progress and joy in the faith. That's why I want, in the final analysis, to stay around and continue being with you. For your progress and joy in the faith.” This is our aim as your ministers of the Gospel of Christ. This is why we continue to live and serve you. For your progress and joy in the faith.
Two things here: First...your progress in the faith. A living faith is a growing faith, and we want to see your faith growing, progressing, advancing. We want to see greater faith in you than what was there last year. Faith, remember faith...the great receiver. The empty hands that receive help from above. That receive spiritual energy from Christ in order to do and suffer His will? Faith that does that. Faith that purifies the heart. Faith that overcomes the world. Faith that works by love. Faith that sees the unseen. Faith that pleases the Lord. That's the faith we want to see growing, progressing, in you in all of its expressions. Is your faith doing that for you? Is it growing? Is it stronger than it was last year? Is it progressing? And you know how faith grows. Romans 10:17, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of Christ."
How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith. Where? In His excellent Word. So Christ has us, as your ministers here, to grow your faith in Christ by feeding you the Word of Christ. By leading you to Christ to see Him in all of His greatness. So that you will draw all that you need for life, in all aspects of your life, from Him...so that Christ will be your life. That's why we continue to live and to be with you as your ministers. And if God has kept us here to feed your faith on Christ, then He wants you here to receive that ministry of feeding your faith on Christ. But that's just one thing, one aspect.
The second aim of all gospel ministers is your joy in the faith, not only your progress in the faith, but your joy in the faith. For your progress and joy in the faith. Now, contrary to popular opinion, ministers do not exist to make you miserable. Some ministers may look like they're soaked in vinegar and give that impression, but it's all wrong. The reason Jesus gives ministers to His church and keeps them alive on planet Earth is that they might labor for the progress of your joy. Your joy. We're here to lead you to Christ for greater joy in Him. To lift your spirits from despair, and the dungeon of discouragement, depression, sadness...into the joy of your salvation, into the gladness and joy of the Lord! This is an epistle of joy, isn't it? Philippians. That's one of its chief themes. And it's in our Bibles to increase our joy. And you know what? The whole book is written to increase your joy. Because, notice, it's your progress and joy in the faith. In the faith. As goes your faith, so goes your joy. They rise together, they fall together. And we're here to see them rising together. Your faith and your joy. To so feed your faith on Christ that you will progress in faith and thereby progress in your joy. Are you happier today in Christ than you were last year? That's why we're here. And that's what we're shooting for in 2021, that your faith will progress, and right along with it your joy in the Lord will progress. And that's what we're going to see from this little epistle of Philippians. As Paul says in Romans 15:3, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him."
Where does joy and peace come from? From trusting in Him. From faith. By believing Christ. By taking Him at His Word. Joy is the result and fruit of faith. What a joyful Savior is Jesus, who delights in saving sinners and delights in the well-being of His servants. And so that's our last lesson. LESSON 3: You magnify Christ as you rejoice in him before a lost and depressed world.
Wow, that's a lot to put on you this morning, and I wouldn't put it on you if it were not the Word of God and if you did not have a sufficient ocean of supply, help from above, found in Christ. So look to Him. Look to Him. And then see to it that magnifying Him is your number one goal. And magnify Him by sacrificing your desires to meet the needs of others . And magnify Him by rejoicing in Him while others are griping and complaining, and depressed.
Let's get back to basics brothers. This is it, sisters, this is the basics. "To me, life is Christ. To me, the reason I want to go on living is that He might be magnified, and when it comes time to die, that I might magnify Him in that way as well."
And lost a person, what more could you want in a Savior than what is found in our Jesus? He's willing to save you. He turns none away. He runs to you and embraces you. So stop running from Him and run into His arms. His welcoming, open arms. He's willing and He's able. He's the only Savior. There is no other Savior. There is no other way to God. There is no other way to live the life you were meant to live and created to live. Only Jesus. None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good.