Verse of the Day Devotion: Philippians 1:21  

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:21

Paul in this verse is declaring his devotion to Christ.  He starts with “To live is Christ”.  His sole aim in life was to glorify God through Christ.  This was his reason for living.  His aim was not honor for himself, nor was it learning, riches, or pleasure.  It was only to glorify the Lord Jesus.  His purpose in life was to know Christ as completely as possible: to know His character and plans so that he would be able to live it himself and teach others this same thing.

This would allow him to imitate Christ as much as it was possible for him.  It is important to understand that people look at us to see if we are living the same life we are proclaiming to them.  It was through this that he was able to reach many and help them give their lives to Christ.  His goal was to truly be like Christ.  As the theologian Albert Barnes proclaims in his commentary on the book of Philippians, “a purpose to which he devoted himself with as much singleness and ardor as ever did a miser to the pursuit of gold, or a devotee of pleasure to amusement, or an aspirant for fame to ambition.” As much as anyone else sought fortune and fame, he sought a solid relationship with Christ whereby he became like his teacher.

And secondly, to die is gain.  This idea is frequently used by the Greek and Latin classic writers.  With them, the sentiment had its origin in the belief that they would be freed from all their suffering and sadness and would find themselves in a happy world beyond the grave.  However, what they believed with conjecture and uncertainty, Paul along with all Christians believe with assurance.  John in the Book or Revelation puts it this way for us.  “Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!'” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.” Revelation 14:12-13.  When we die, we do not remain in the grave.  On the contrary, we are freed from this body and can now rest from all our labors.  We will no longer be working and becoming physically weary in our goal of doing good and promoting Christ by evangelizing all we come into contact with. 

Do we live in this same manner?  Do we believe to live is Christ and to die is gain?  What a beautiful way to see our life here, where we live in the presence of God through Christ, where His Spirit resides in us and we are in constant fellowship with Almighty God here on earth, knowing that when we die, it is actually a gain for us.  We will be freed from sin.  Here, we are subject to its sorrow, but in heaven there is no sin at all.  And we will be set free from the power of temptation.  We will be delivered from our enemies as well as our sufferings.  Indeed, this will be truly a gain for us all.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

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