For none of us lives to himself, and no man dies to himself.…
I. NO MAN LIVETH TO HIMSELF. This is essentially characteristic of the true Christian; for a man who lives to himself, by the sentence of the text, is not a Christian. The Christian —
1. Regards the great end of his being. Human existence must have an object. God acts not in anything without design. What am I? and, Why am I? are questions we ought frequently to ask; and he who acts according to the answer which the Scripture gives, will live not to himself, but to the Lord.
2. Habitually respects the approbation of God.
(1) Through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ. For no man can be acceptable to God but through that.
(2) Through the active employment of that moral power which faith in Christ gives to maintain that character, and to do those works which God approves.
3. Feels an interest in the cause of Christ. To live unto ourselves is quite incompatible with this. We must renounce either the one or the other. "If any man will be My disciple, let him deny himself."
4. Is concerned for the temporal miseries of his suffering fellow-men. He who lives to the Lord will follow His example in going about doing good. Nor is this work of charity obstructed by the most earnest concern for the salvation of men.
II. NO CHRISTIAN MAN DIETH TO HIMSELF. This is his reward for not living to himself. God takes his cause into His own hands, and binds up his death with His own plans.
1. It may be in judgment to others. So many prayers are lost to the world; an influence is withdrawn; a light is quenched; one fewer is left to stand between the living and the dead. It may be in judgment to families who have refused admonition, and to unfaithful churches, and to nations. Properly, indeed, do we often pray that God would spare useful lives.
2. It may be hastened in mercy to him. The righteous are often taken away from the evil to come.
3. It is deferred, in many cases, in mercy to others. He is sometimes to endure the evil to come, and his private feelings are to give place to the public good. Thus Jeremiah was doomed to weep over the destruction of his people. St. Paul desired to depart; yet it was needful for him to continue.
4. In all cases God is glorified by his death. Perhaps in extreme suffering we may show a power of patience, a great triumph, an abundant entrance into the kingdom of our Lord. Perhaps our death may be a calm dying into life; a summer wave gently rippling to the shore. It is enough. Let us live to Him, and in our death we shall glorify God.
III. HE IS THEREFORE THE LORD'S IN LIFE AND DEATH, to do His will, to be acknowledged, guarded, blessed, and honoured as His. The Christian man is the Lord's —
1. In life. Life includes —
(1) Our earthly blessings; and they are given as far as they really tend to our advantage.
(2) Our afflictions; for these we have comfort, support, and a glorious issue.
(3) The period in which we are to be trained up for the maturity of holiness.
2. In death. The Christian man has served in the outer apartments of the house; he is now called into the presence-chamber.
Parallel VersesKJV: For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.