For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
That which a man loves supremely is that for which he lives — money, fame, pleasure, etc. The lofty altitude of moral nature to which we have to aspire is to find in Christ our only reason for living. Apart from this, the yearning aspirations and voids of humanity can never be satisfied.
I. LIFE IN CHRIST COMPREHENDS ALL TRUE LIFE — science, air, beauty, music, all that adorns the saint, strengthens the worker, sustains the sufferer. All life rooted in Christ will bear all manner of fruits and be beautiful with all the hues of heaven. Into what base are our life roots struck?
II. LIFE IN CHRIST CAN SEE THE ULTERIOR PHASE OF WHAT MEN CALL DEATH. The eye of true life can see clear through the dispensation of dying, and behold the "gain;" can see straight through the troubled night of the final act of man upon earth, and gladden itself with the sight of the morning glory that falls forever on the hills of heaven. To die is mystery; speculation; life's most desperate venture; annihilation-this is the creed of those whose life is not centred in Christ. Compare this creed with the gain which Christianity discloses.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.