by the Rev. Henry Huenemann
For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).
12But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
13So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
14And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
15Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
16The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
17But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.
18What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
19For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
20According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
22But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
23For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
24Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
25And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;
26That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.
27Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
28And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
29For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
30Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
Paul's great concern was that Christ should be magnified in his body, whether it were by life or by death. In other words, he was willing to live for Christ, and was also ready to die for Christ. Just so Christ would be glorified. He says, "To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Luther translates this verse, "Christ is my life, and to die is my gain;" and Calvin renders it, "Christ is in life and in death my gain." It is not our life that counts, but Christ's life in us. He is our life.
Outside of Christ death reigns. By nature we are dead in trespasses and sin. But God has made us alive. "God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ." Paul says, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." It behooves us to yield ourselves unto God, as those that are alive from, the dead. Then the aim and purpose of our life is to live for Christ, to glorify his name. Then it will be true of us, For me to live is Christ, and to die will be gain. At death we enter upon life eternal, full of joy and full of glory. In our life here on earth nothing matters much but Christ, his kingdom and his glory.
O God our heavenly Father, we thank Thee that Christ is our life; that Thou hast quickened us together with Christ, and hast raised us up together, and hast made us sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. And being risen with Christ, help us to seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Help us to set our affections on things above, not on things on the earth. We deplore before Thee that we are so earthbound and cleave to earthly things. Draw our hearts heavenward. May we have true fellowship with Thee and with our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Scripture in Devotional: Phil. 1-20; Eph. 2:1, 4, 5; Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:13.
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