For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
I. I ARGUE IT THUS: —
1. We have life from Him; life, therefore, should be to Him. A supernatural influence causeth a supernatural tendency. As rivers run into the sea from whence their channels are filled, so doth grace cause all the issues and outgoings of the spiritual life to return to Christ from whence they came.
2. The right Christ has to our service. We are His by every right and title (Romans 14:7-9).
II. TO MAKE THIS CLEAR LET US EXAMINE THE SEVERAL TITLES CHRIST HATH TO A BELIEVER.
1. By creation (Hebrews 1:2). Note —
(1) The absolute right that accrueth to Him from hence. We were made out of nothing by Him; all we have, therefore, is His — mind, eyes, tongue, hands, etc. His is a right both of jurisdiction as a king, and of propriety as a creator.
(2) The intention of the Creator (Proverbs 16:4; Romans 11:36). All things were made for man, but man himself for God. Our end was not to eat, drink, sleep, etc., but to live and use all things for God.
(3) The obligation left upon the creature to love and serve Him that created us.
2. Preservation, by which the title of creation is daily renewed and reinforced (Acts 17:28; Hebrews 1:3).
3. Redemption (1 Corinthians 6:20). Consider —
(1) The right.
(2) The price (Peter 1:18-19).
4. Conquest (Colossians 1:13).
5. Actual possession (1 Corinthians 6:15).
6. Resignation and voluntary consent (Song of Solomon 2:16; 2 Corinthians 8:5; 2 Chronicles 30:8).
III. THE USE. To persuade us to make it our business to honour Christ and advance Him.
(1) You must close with Him by faith, and use Him to the end which God hath appointed Him (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12).
(2) Consecrate and dedicate yourselves to Christ's use (Romans 12:1).
(3) Use yourselves as those that are Christ's, improving your time, estates, strength, relations, talents, for His glory (Zechariah 14:20).
(4) Honour Him by the holiness of your conversation (1 Peter 11. 12).
(5) Let Christ be endeared to you by all your enjoyments. Temporal and spiritual (1 Corinthians 3:21).
(6) Count it an honour to suffer for Christ's sake (Acts 5:41; Philippians 1:29).
(1) You are not your own, but are under another Lord.
(2) We have owned Christ's right in baptism (1 Peter 3:21).
(3) There will be a day of accounts when the great God of recompenses will reckon with you.
(4) The utility and profit of it.
(a) For the present an interest in Christ's intercession (John 17:9-10).
(b) Heaven in the eternity to come.
(T. Manton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.