“For to me to live IS Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
A well quoted verse that will often be found underlined in people’s Bibles, but how well do we really know this verse? How many of us really live our daily life with this truth in mind? How well do we actually even know what it does mean?
I was thinking on this verse last night (a couple weeks ago now. Haha!) and questioning myself if I actually understood what Paul was saying and whether or not I could say it myself and really believe it with all my heart.
What does it mean that “to live is Christ?” I think I have often thought of this verse as to mean that I need to live for Christ, but I don’t think that is altogether what is being said here in this particular passage. Of course, we are, indeed, to live for Christ, but this particular verse says that to live “is” Christ. That means that living is equal to Christ. So then what is that supposed to mean?
From other verses it is made clear that we are dead in our trespasses and sins until we are made alive in Christ because of his grace. So this was one of the first things I thought. To live is to live in Christ because without Christ no one is truly alive. Christ is life and without Christ there is no life.
Furthermore, if life is only because of Christ than our life should imitate Christ and exemplify Christ. If Christ is who gives us life than Christ is what will be shining through us. So to live is to live like Christ. Christ is in me and I am in Christ.
But death is gain! To live, all I have is Christ, but to die is to have Christ and all the promises and inheritance that he has there waiting for me.
To live is Christ because he is truly all we have, but to die is to see at last. We see at last all that he has promised us in his word; all that we hoped for and believed in although we could not see it yet. Death is to see at last all that we had believed and hoped in plus so much more than we can ever imagine.