by the Rev. Henry Huenemann
To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).
1Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
2Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
4Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
5For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
6Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
7Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
8For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.
9And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
10That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.
11Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
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.
There is no spiritual life outside of Christ. By nature we are all dead in trespasses and sin. "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us (made us alive) together with Christ." Paul says, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." We receive the life from him as do the branches from the vine. "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies . . . but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead." Christ says, ''I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
The one purpose and aim of Paul was to live unto Christ, for the furtherance of his kingdom and to the honor and glory of his name. He was willing to suffer and die, if only Christ might be magnified in his body, whether it be by life or by death. And in like manner it behooves us to present our bodies "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God."
Then, to die is gain. To die and to be with the Lord is far better for the believer, than to live on earth. For to him it means not only deliverance from death, sorrow, crying, and pain, but also the receiving of the crown of righteousness, and the entering upon "an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled and that fadeth not away," and seeing Christ as He is, and thus be like him.
O Lord, help us to realize that without Thee we can do nothing; but that abiding in Thee, we shall bring forth much fruit. May the fruit of the Spirit be found in us in an abundant measure, and may our Father in heaven be glorified through us. Amen.
Scripture in Devotional: Eph. 2:1, 4, 5; Gal. 2:20; John 10:5; Rom. 6:12, 13; John 10:10; Phil. 1:20; Rom. 12:1; Phil. 1:23; Rev. 21:4; 2 Tim. 4:8; 1 Pet. 1:4; 1 John 3:2.
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