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Philippians 1:21 – For to me to be living is Christ

01-01-2023 - Posted by Hans

For to me to be living is Christ, and to be dying, gain.

Paul is convinced that Christ will be magnified in his body, “whether through life or through death.” To clarify this, he declares that to live for him is Christ and to die is gain. Many interpreters think that Paul means by this that to die would be gain for himself. But that explanation misses the purport of Paul’s statement. After all, what matters to him is that Christ will be magnified in his body, “…whether through life or through death”. Paul’s death, that is, his dying, would be gain for Christ, since He will be magnified in it!

Meanwhile, verse 21 provides an excellent summary of Paul’s philosophy of life. Every believer can say: my life is Christ (Col.3:3,4). But that is not the same as: “to live for me is Christ”. That Christ is my life tells how God reckons. But to say that “to live for me is Christ,” tells here how Paul reckoned. He did not live for fame, for pleasure or for money. He had met the resurrected and glorified Christ! And in that Light, all that is earthly loses its luster.