Read: Philippians 1:19-26
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! Phil 1:21-22
The Christian view of death is given in just four words in this passage: with Christ, far better. That sums it up. But before we look closer at that, it’s important that we see what this man’s view of life is, because these are not the words of a man who is sighing after heaven but resigned to living on earth. This is not the utterance of someone who is fed up with living and couldn’t take life any longer so now the only hope is that heaven is close at hand. For Paul, to live is Christ, and that is exciting! Living, he says, means fruitful labor, in which I can take the greatest delight. The prospect of continuing to live is not an unwelcome prospect here, in fact he says I hardly know which to choose, both prospects are so enticing and inviting. The Christian is not so neurotically desirous of death that he no longer wants to live. We sometimes give the wrong impression. We sing these wonderful songs about the glory up there but sometimes, unfortunately, Christians leave the impression that this is really all they’re living for is what comes at the end.
The Christian does not live with some unutterable longing to escape, to evade life, to run from it. No! Paul is not at all saying that! He says, to live is Christ — I love it! And evidently the Spirit of God tips the scale here in favor of life, so he goes on to say, convinced of this I know that I shall remain, and continue with you all — because you need me and I will have the joy of coming to you again. But facing the possibility of death does not mean he is tired of life, but that death can only mean a more wonderful and deeper companionship with Christ. That is what makes life worth living. He says, to die is gain, and you can only say that if you are prepared to say, to live is Christ!
Continue reading Ray Stedman – To Live or Die?