Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 1

‘To live is Christ, to die is gain’

Philippians 1:21

A selfish person lives for himself, for this world, and for the things in it. Often, such a person knows little or nothing about God, or about life beyond death.

A Christian, however, is someone who both knows and loves Christ. That Christian believes God’s promises; and Christ promised that there will be a wonderful life for all God’s people after the death of their bodies (John 11:25-26; John 14:1-6). In heaven, the pains and troubles of their lives on earth will end (Luke 16:19-25; Revelation 21:4). There and in the New Jerusalem, they will live with Christ, whom they love, always. So death does not frighten them, as it frightens other people (Hebrews 2:14-15). For Christians, death is not loss, but rather it is to go to their true home with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:1-8).

Therefore, during their lives on earth, Christians should never be selfish. They live in this world, not for themselves, but for Christ. Their desire is for him; their attention should be constantly upon him. They declare his message: they want other people to hear his words, and not their own words (1 Corinthians 2:1-2). They do his work: they want other people to see his power, and not their own weakness (1 Corinthians 2:3-5). Christ is present in their lives: they want their inner thoughts and attitudes to become more like Christ’s attitudes (Colossians 1:27; Philippians 2:4-5). Their hope is in him; their trust is in him; his word fills their hearts and their minds (Hebrews 8:10).

Such were Paul’s attitudes from the day when he first trusted Christ. Now, as a prisoner, who could die soon, his attitudes had not changed. If he lived, he would live for Christ. When he died, he would be with Christ – and that would be much better than anything in this life (1:23).

Next part: What does a Christian's life achieve? (Philippians 1:22)


Please use the links at the top of the page to find our other articles in this series. You can download all our articles if you go to the download page for our free 1000+ page course book.


© 2020, Keith Simons.