God has made great promises to those who live for Christ. Consider what Paul wrote about living for Christ: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you” (Philippians 1:21-24). Notice from this text that Paul lived for Christ: “For to me to live is Christ” (v.21). Because Paul lived for Christ, he enjoyed wonderful blessings and promises. These same blessings and promises are given to those who live for Christ today. Consider the following blessings:
When Christ is your life, there is no reason to fear death (v.21). Paul affirmed that to die was “gain.” Generally, people fear and dread death. Death is referred to in Scripture as the “king of terrors” (Job 18:14). When Isaiah told Hezekiah, king of Judah, to set his house in order because he would soon die, Hezekiah did what most would do. He wept and prayed to God (Isaiah 38:1-3). However, Jesus came and makes it possible to face death with calm confidence and assurance (Hebrews 2:14-15). When faithful Christians walk through the “valley of the shadow of death,” we can pass through that valley in peace.
When Christ is your life, you can anticipate going to be with Christ (v.23). Notice from the text that Paul had a great desire to die (“depart”) because at death, he would go to be with Christ. Sometimes, one who is enduring great suffering and pain may desire death to escape the trial of affliction. However, Paul had a higher, purer motive for wanting to die. He desired to depart so that he could be with Jesus. All who live for Christ will be with Him in eternity (II Corinthians 5:8)!
When Christ is your life, you can anticipate going to a place that is far better than living in this world (v.23). The term translated “far” is a word that suggests there is something “much” better—infinitely better—than anything the world has to offer. At death, those who have lived for Christ will be happy; free from temptation; free from sin, sorrow and trials. Heaven is far better!
In view of these great promises, there is little wonder that Paul wrote: “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). When Christ is your life, there is great reason to rejoice! Is Christ your life?
Chapman church of Christ