“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
To Me to Live Is Christ
The mind of the Spirit for you and me today is that we should be channels for the flowing forth of the eternal life that is in Christ, in the midst of the world. He would have a stream flowing forth from us, telling of the God who is its source and of the Christ who supplies it.
For what reason does Christ show that all He possesses is ours? Merely that we should be saved? No! He might then have waited till the eleventh hour before He had called us. No, He wants the eternal life to be told out in a world where Satan is master, so that He can point angels, principalities and powers to the church, to learn in us the manifold riches of God’s grace. As children of the Father’s house, who have known the bosom of the Father, who are members of the body of the glorious Head in heaven, let me ask you if the character of the Head is seen in you? Are you seeking to make the wilderness resound, not merely with the name of the Lord Jesus, but with lives conformed to His character and to the life of the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven? God has His wishes for His saints, and shall not my heart respond to His desires?
See to what an extent Paul carried this. To some it seems a strange thing to press the life of Christ on people, but of what value is a beautiful watch without hands? And what is a saint if not showing forth Christ, or a vine if it bears no grapes?
To Die Is Gain
The Apostle could say, “To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). What was Paul about when he wrote that word? He felt that he was for Christ, and Him only, whether in life or in death. He could say, “I have only one object — Christ. And I have only one desire — that Christ should be magnified in my body.” If, therefore, they had beheaded Paul, would he have lost anything? No! Christ would have been magnified in his body still. What sort of testimony was that in Caesar’s court? A Roman knew how to face death as a display of courage. However, to go forward to it in the thought that death was gain, because there was a Jesus who had been crucified between two thieves, who was the joy of a man’s heart, a natural Roman could not have understood.
Let me ask you: Since you have known Christ, Christ’s heart, Christ Himself your treasure, your life, Christ everything that God could give you — has your thought been, “To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”? It is our privilege while passing through this scene. How it changes death, if to die is gain, Christ being magnified in it! That is what a life of communion with God gives to a man. He is ennobled by God, most truly.
If the life of Christ is flowing out through me, I am like the hands of a clock through which the life of the works within shows itself. Is that bondage? Is it legality for Christ to say, “Your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and I expect you to show it”? If this is bondage, would to God there were ten thousand times more of it.
George V. Wigram was a biblical scholar and author. The first [volume] to appear, in 1839, was the Englishman’s Greek and English Concordance to the New Testament, and it was followed in 1843 by the Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance to the Old Testament. These volumes have largely aided intelligent, if not scholarly, acquaintance with the background of the Bible in both its parts, so that their issue by Wigram was a signal service of his rendered to the Church of God…