For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
A vine is growing; it grows in good ground; it grows strong. It draws the sap of the ground, and bears much fruit; but the fruit is bad. It is bitter to the taste, and poisonous. Another vine grows near it — a good vine — all good. They take a branch of the good vine, and bend it gently towards the wild vine, and they lay a strong hand on the wild vine, and bend it towards the good vine. They touch. They are fastened — the branch of the good vine to the stem of the evil. As yet this produces no change on the wild vine; but it is some needful preparatory work. They now make an opening in the stem of the wild vine, and another in the branch of the good vine. They place them into each other at the wound, and bind them up. The wounds heat, and the two have grown into each other. The next step in the process is to cut off the head of the wild vine, and leave instead the now engrafted branch of the good. Then the branch of the good is severed from its parent stem. The root of the evil tree remains; but its head now is the new and the good tree. "I live," murmurs the root and stem of the old evil tree far below." I live — you live; you have no leaf, no flower, no fruit: all the life is in the new tree. "I live," still humbly murmurs the old root out of the ground; "nevertheless not I, but the new good tree liveth in me; and the life that I now live in the ground, I live through the new and good tree, which loved me, and gave itself for me." This cutting, and bleeding, and binding, and grafting process took place while the patient was prostrate and blind outside the gate of Damascus.
(W. Arnot, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.