To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain
Philippians 1: 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.
Paul expresses in these few brief sentences his answers to a couple of life’s greatest questions. “What is the meaning or purpose in life?” and “What happens after I die?”
The meaning and purpose of life is summed up in the statement “To live is Christ”. Meaning and purpose for the believer is to know Jesus and to make Him known. To do this, we live our lives as a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:2), poured out for Him as we make Him known to others in our family, our community, and even to the ends of the earth.
When we die, Paul boldly proclaims that it will be “better by far”! The believer has the precious promise of glorification where we will be made new, made whole, and in perfect eternal communion with our God and Savior. It will indeed be better by far!
But until then, as long as we live, we are to be engaged in “fruitful labor” for the advancement of God’s kingdom on earth. God has prepared good works in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10) But we will only be fruitful by abiding in Christ and allowing His work to be done in and through us.
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Yes and Amen.