For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
There are only two questions that a truly wise man would think it of any essential consequence to ask in regard to himself, "What is the proper object of life?" "What is beyond life?" Here, then, only they are completely answered. Let us —
I. INQUIRE INTO THE MEANING OF THE WORDS, "TO ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST." True experimental Christianity is —
1. A life of dependence on Christ, as of children on the head of a family. This dependence is
(4) invisible, but real.
2. A life of communion with Christ; as between two dearest friends. This is
(3) private and public.
3. A life of conformity and devotedness to Christ, as servants to an illustrious and beloved master. This is entire, and embraces
(1) all the occupations of life whatever they may be, secular or sacred;
(2) all the thoughts and affections.
II. THE GROUND WE HAVE TO INFER THAT WHEN "TO LIVE IS CHRIST," TO DIE WILL BE GAIN. Because —
1. To whatever world death shall introduce us, Christ will be Lord of it. "I have the keys of Hades," etc. "I go to prepare a place for you."
2. The graces and tempers of such a life as the Christian's must be the root and commencement of the happiness of that world, whatever it be as to particulars. "Whatsoever a man soweth." "Blessed are the poor in Spirit," etc.
3. We are assured that there will be an illustrious manifestation of Christ for the very purpose of making death gain. "Our conversation is in heaven," etc. (1 Corinthians 15:42).Improvement:
1. What an unspeakable advantage has the Christian over every other character.
2. Let the Christian be satisfied that death is gain, without prying into particulars.
3. Learn the importance of keeping together what God has made inseparable. Life Christ, and death gain.
(T. N. Toller.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.