Philippians 1:21 (NASB) For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
When reading this verse, I am reminded of a song by Phillips, Craig and Dean named “Crucified with Christ.” (*lyrics at the bottom of blog) No matter what it took or what it cost, Christ would be honored by everything about this apostle. Paul’s commitment to Christ, his confession of him, and his understanding of the power of God to sustain the believer demanded no less. He gave his life—every moment of it—to reach and minister to as many people as possible during his journey upon earth. His purpose and ours: The believer has one great commitment in life and death—Jesus Christ.
“To live is Christ and to die is gain.” This differs from what others thought and what might have been expected. Normally, one would say to live is gain and to die is Christ, but Paul reversed these. At death a Christian gains a more intimate relationship with the Lord. The statement “to live is Christ” is magnified by the statement “to die is gain.”
Why are you living?
What is your great purpose in life?
Are you living for comfort (a good job, a nice place to live, plenty to eat, and enough money to do what you desire now and at retirement? Are you living for recognition, honor, popularity, recreation, gratification, sensuality—whatever? Are you living for family? Paul says in Philippians 1:22–26 “If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.”
Live for Christ! Disciple others. Be involved in ministry. Be on mission for Christ. Be fruitful!
This brings us to the second point of Paul. He declares that “to die is gain.” He knew better than to base his life upon these things. He knew that everything upon earth was aging and passing away including man himself. Therefore, Paul put his trust in Jesus, a Person who could save him and give him an eternal world that would never age or pass away. This is the reason he grabbed hold of Christ. Christ made it possible for men to live forever with God in a new heavens and earth. That is truly better. We live knowing that we will eventually be with Jesus forever and that is far better.
*As I look back on what I thought was living I’m amazed at the price I choose to pay and to think I ignored what really mattered ’cause I thought the sacrifice would be too great but when I finally reached the point of giving in I found the cross was calling even then and even though it took dying to survive I’ve never felt so much alive.
For I am crucified with Christ and yet I live. Not I, but Christ that lives within me.
His Cross will never ask for more than I can give for it’s not my strength but His There’s no greater sacrifice for I am crucified with Christ, and yet I live.
As I hear the Savior call for daily dying I will bow beneath the weight of Calvary Let my hands surrender to His piercing purpose, that holds me to the cross yet sets me free. I will glory in the power of the cross the things I thought were gain I count as loss, and with His suffering I identify and by His resurrection power I am alive
For I am crucified with Christ and yet I live, not I but Christ that lives within me.
His Cross will never ask for more than I can give for it’s not my strength but His there’s no greater sacrifice. For I am crucified with Christ and yet I live.
And I will offer all I have so that His cross is not in vain for I found to live is Christ and to die is truly gain
For I am crucified with Christ and yet I live!