TO LIVE IS CHRIST/ TO DIE IS GAIN
Paul wrote the book of Philippians, as well as some other books, while in a Roman prison. He was in prison awaiting a decision about his fate. He might be released and would, therefore, be able to continue preaching. However, the decision could go against him, and he could be put to death. The attitude that Paul had while facing these two alternatives is very interesting. In Philippians 1:21, he said, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
First, Paul said for him to live is Christ. This meant that if he lived, Christ would continue to be seen in his life. Paul would continue to serve and exalt Christ; he would live for Christ. If Paul lived, his preaching would continue to help other people such as the Philippians. In verse 24 he said, "Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you."
On the other hand, Paul said that if he died it would be gain. This is contrary to what most people would say as death is usually thought of as a loss instead of a gain. However, Paul looked at death as an avenue which would allow him to leave this life, with its hardships, persecutions, and pain, and go to a place of rest, joy, and peace. It would cause him to have a new union with Christ; he would be able to enjoy the rewards of the afterlife.
For Paul to live was a great advantage for those he taught. However, even his death would work to his good as he would be with Christ. We need to make sure that we live in such a way that we too can say, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Sadly, for many, to live is Satan and to die is loss.
If you are not a Christian, you need to become one. If you are a Christian, you need to be faithful so you can view life and death as Paul viewed it.
By Mike Johnson
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