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To Live is Christ and To Die is Gain

19 because I know this will lead to my salvation through your prayers and help from the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 20 My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all courage, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:19-21)

From verses 19 to 26, Paul shows that through trials and tribulations, Jesus Christ can be exalted in your life. As a reminder for context, Paul was writing this letter while in prison, being taken care of by believers and specifically Timothy. In verse 19, Paul acknowledges the wonderful faithfulness of the believers at Philippi who were praying for him to be released from prison, as well as being encouraged by the “help from the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” Paul, although in chains, saw how God was working through even the very prison he resided.

Then, in verse 20, Paul acknowledges the reality that he may not be released from the prison, but instead, will be executed. Yet, through it all, one of his priorities is to keep his testimony pure, “My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything.” In order to accomplish this, Paul prays for “courage,” which can be supplied by God. Paul’s desire in the end is that “Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” As Anders writes, “What was required to avoid shame and ensure exaltation of Christ? Courage! The internal strength to live for Christ or die for Christ, whichever was required. Only such courageous living exalts Christ.”

Finally, we get to verse 21, a very popular verse, an anthem for Christian living written by Paul, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” It shows that Paul’s entire purpose for life is for Christ. And when he would die, Paul knew for certain that he would leave behind all the suffering of the world and be in paradise forever and ever in the presence of his Savior, Jesus. Therefore, death isn’t something to be feared. In light of Paul’s mentality and purpose for living, may we live courageous lives like Paul, serving the Lord with everything of our beings. May we be prayer warriors to encourage one another. Finally, even in the tough times, especially facing death, may we remember that death isn’t the end for a believer, but rather, a welcome home for eternity in heaven with the Lord Jesus and all the other believers that have come before.

Blessings,

Isaac De Guzman

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