For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
1. There is no other name but Christ's which has life in it. There is no life in the world's wealth, learning, honour, love. If they do not destroy, they afford no protection or sustenance. To be Christless is to be lifeless.
2. Is it possible that St. Paul can he speaking of a mere man? This is not an accidental expression of temporary excitement. It is a sentiment that pervades his writings (Philippians 3:7-9; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 6:14). On the Socinian hypothesis all this is extravagant and idolatrous. Where do we find succeeding prophets speaking thus of Moses?
3. Paul means that Christ constituted his life. In what sense?
I. CHRIST WAS THE BESTOWER AND SUSTAINER OF IT. He was this naturally (Hebrews 1:2; John 1:3; Hebrews 1:3). On this ground Adam in his state of innocence would have said that the Son of God was his life. But Paul was thinking of Christ as —
1. The life of pardon. Distinguish the gaining of pardon and the persuasion that it has been gained. A rebel may be pardoned without knowing it, but before he can be happy he must know it. Paul knew fully that Christ had forgiven him.
2. The life of love. Pardon properly is only the capacity for living; but love is the soul's life. How this love burned in Paul towards God and towards man.
3. The life of hope. Hope is life; despair is death. The unbeliever is hopeless and therefore lifeless.
II. CHRIST WAS THE OBJECT OF THE ENERGIES OF THAT LIFE HE HAD BESTOWED. Paul had three reasons for his engrossing consecration to Christ.
1. A reason of justice. Christ had surrendered His life for him, and equity demanded that he should consecrate his life to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). Life for life: Christ gave all He could give: Paul returns all he can. Gratitude facilitates the justice, and makes the duty a delight.
2. A reason of self-interest.
(1) Unless he rendered the service, he would renounce the discipleship and be a castaway (1 Corinthians 9:27).
(2) He had respect unto the recompense of the reward of all duty well discharged (Luke 19:17-19).
3. A reason of taste. He liked the work for its own sake.
(W. Anderson, LL. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.