on Philippians 1 :21
For to me to live is Christ - Whether I live or die, Christ is gain to me. While I live I am Christ's property and servant, and Christ is my portion; if I die - if I be called to witness the truth at the expense of my life, this will be gain; I shall be saved from the remaining troubles and difficulties in life, and be put immediately in possession of my heavenly inheritance. As, therefore, it respects myself, it is a matter of perfect indifference to me whether I be taken off by a violent death, or whether I be permitted to continue here longer; in either case I can lose nothing.
on Philippians 1 :21
For to me to live is Christ - My sole aim in living is to glorify Christ. He is the supreme End of my life, and I value it only as being devoted to his honor - Doddridge. His aim was not honor, learning, gold, pleasure; it was, to glorify the Lord Jesus. This was the single purpose of his soul - a purpose to which he devoted himself with as much singleness and ardor as ever did a miser to the pursuit of gold, or a devotee of pleasure to amusement, or an aspirant for fame to ambition. This implied the following things:
(1) a purpose to know as much of Christ as it was possible to know - to become as fully acquainted as he could with his rank, his character, his plans, with the relations which he sustained to the Father, and with the claims and influences of his religion; see Philippians 3:10; Ephesians 3:19; compare John 17:3.
(2) a purpose to imitate Christ - to make him the model of his life. It was a design that his Spirit should reign in his heart, that the same temper should actuate him, and that the same great end should be constantly had in view.
(3) a purpose to make his religion known, as far as possible, among mankind. To this, Paul seriously gave his life, and devoted his great talents. His aim was to see on bow many minds he could impress the sentiments of the Christian religion; to see to how many of the human family he could make Christ known, to whom he was unknown before. Never was there a man who gave himself with more ardor to any enterprise, than Paul did to this; and never was one more successful, in any undertaking, than he was in this.
(4) it was a purpose to enjoy Christ. He drew his comforts from him. His happiness he found in communion with him. It was not in the works of art; not in the pursuits of elegant literature; not in the frivolous and fashionable world; but it was in communion with the Saviour, and in endeavoring to please him.
Remarks On Philippians 1:21
(1) Paul never had occasion to regret this course. It produced no sadness when he looked over his life. He never felt that he had had an unworthy aim of living; he did not wish that his purpose had been different when he came to die.
(2) if it was Paul's duty thus to live, it is no less that of every Christian. What was there in his case that made it his duty to "live unto Christ," which does not exist in the case of every sincere Christian on earth? No believer, when he comes to die, will regret that he has lived unto Christ; but how many, alas, regret that this has not been the aim and purpose of their souls!
And to die is gain - Compare Revelation 14:13. A sentiment similar to this occurs frequently in the Greek and Latin classic writers. See Wetstein, in loc., who has collected numerous such passages. With them, the sentiment had its origin in the belief that they would be freed from suffering, and admitted to some happy world beyond the grave. To them, however, all this was conjecture and uncertainty. The word "gain," here, means profit, advantage; and the meaning is, there would be an advantage in dying above that of living. Important benefits would result to him personally, should he die; and the only reason why he should wish at all to live was, that he might be the means of benefiting others; Philippians 1:24-25. But how would it be gain to die? What advantage would there be in Paul's circumstances? What in ours? It may be answered, that it will be gain for a Christian to die in the following respects:
(1) He will be then freed from sin. Here it is the source of perpetual humiliation and sorrow; in heaven be will sin no more.
(2) he will be freed from doubts about his condition. Here the best are liable to doubts about their personal piety, and often experience many an anxious hour in reference to this point; in heaven, doubt will be known no more.
(3) he will be freed from temptation. Here, no one knows when he may be tempted, nor how powerful the temptation may be; in heaven, there will be no allurement to lead him astray; no artful, cunning, and skillful votaries of pleasure to place inducements before him to sin; and no heart to yield to them, if there were.
(4) he will be delivered from all his enemies - from the slanderer, the calumniator, the persecutor. Here the Christian is constantly liable to have his motives called in question, or to be met with detraction and slander; there, there will be none to do him injustice; all will rejoice in the belief that he is pure,
(5) He will be delivered from suffering. Here he is constantly liable to it. His health fails, his friends die, his mind is sad. There, there shall be no separation of friends, no sickness, and no tears.
on Philippians 1 :21
1:21 To me to live is Christ - To know, to love, to follow Christ, is my life, my glory, my joy.