For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
I. LIFE IN CHRIST. Life for this man is —
1. Negatively. Not(1) the life of the beasts that perish. Meat, drink, clothing, are the means of preserving life; but not the objects for which we live. A disciple of Christ lives on them, but not for them.
(2) To acquire a great property. Property is useful in fulfilling some of the ends of life, but when it comes to be an end in itself it is no longer a blessing.
(3) Pleasure. He will not occupy the day in chasing thistle down.
(4) Honour. He has gotten the favour of God.
(5) In refusing and avoiding these things. Strip them all off, and you are no nearer a true life in the Lord. Life consists neither in having them nor wanting them.
2. Positively. His life is not a life with Christ, nor even in Christ. His very life was Christ. His former self was lost. Henceforth he lives Christ. His common life, when he lies down and rises up, when he labours and rests, in private and public.
II. DEATH IN CHRIST. The substance of the inheritance beyond we know from verse 23 is the same Christ. What are the gains?
1. Peace instead of war. Here Christ and conflict; there Christ and peace.
2. Here Christ and ignorance; seeing in part, through a glass darkly; there Christ and light.
3. Here Christ and sins; there Christ and purity.
4. Here Christ and pain; there Christ and perfect joy.
(W. Arnot, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.