Most “Christians” are familiar with this verse and have a basic understanding of its meaning. Paul is a prisoner in Rome when he writes to the church planted in Philippi. The chapter can be broken down into 3 or 4 main topics:
Paul’s Greeting to the Church v.1-2
Paul’s Thanks and Prayer for the Body of believers v.3-11
Paul’s desire to promote the Gospel v.12-20
Encouragement to Live for as Christ v.21-30
For to me to live is Christ, – Paul boils down the objective of his life, the goal the pinnacle, culmination, call it what you will in these few words. He in effect says ‘the very substance of my being, the reason I can get up and put one foot before the other each day is only because of Christ.’
Another way to look at it would be, without Christ Paul would shrink up and die. Maybe not an immediate physical death but certainly a moral and spiritual death. Christ is truly Paul’s “Bread of Life”.
and to die is gain – Death Beckons to all mankind, is is part of the cycle of life since the fall/curse. For the unrepentant it is something (or at least should be) to be feared. Yet for Paul and all true children of God, the understanding is that death brings comfort and joy, the reason Paul says he looks to death as a Plus a Gain.
Our human nature will always surface a little bit an make the thoughts of death uneasy. For the those who refuse God’s calling upon their heart the thought of death should be more than uneasy it should be TERRIFYING.
Yet for those, secure, in the fellowship of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; death brings on a Blessing Rather than a Curse. No more have to deal with the daily grind of human work, suffering, aches and pains. Only being among saints so no more chaos, despair, or violence. Forever being in a new perfected body the job of glorifying God daily. Sounds like Paradise to me.
The question is as Death Beckons us all what will your response be when you appointed time comes?
For to me…to die is gain – Philippians 1:21
Death breaks the union between the body and the soul but perfects the union between Christ and the soul. – Thomas Watson
The wheels of death’s chariot may rattle and make a noise, but they are to carry a believer to Christ. – Thomas Watson