“For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
It’s fascinating to me sometimes the Scriptures God will use to begin working a certain truth and perspective deeper into my heart. This morning, His work began with the words of Jesus in Revelation 1:17-18: “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
Our Savior, who has committed Himself to never lose any of those whom God the Father has given Him (John 6:37-40), holds the keys of Death. So for those who know Jesus Christ, death is merely a gateway that leads us home. A door through which we are ushered into the presence of God, at whose right hand are pleasures forevermore and in whose presence is fullness of joy.
So yes, as Paul declares in Philippians, to die is gain for those who are Christ’s. Because through death, we finally experience life as it was meant to be: without fear, without worry, without pain or struggle or separation from God. Life that is wonderful and real and unending.
And to live here on earth—to live is Christ. Because Christ is our life. He is our foundation, and He is at the foundation of everything we do. The very bottom of it all, the core reason of “Why” should always be this: Christ. I do this, I say this, I live this way because of Christ. Because Jesus matters more than everything else. Because He purchased me with His blood, ransoming me forever for God, that God may be praised and Jesus Christ exalted.
To live is Christ. Because of what He has done to save me. Because of what He has done within me, that continual work of making me beautiful—shining light in dark places, banishing shadows of doubt, healing brokenness, cleansing all sin, leading me to repentance, giving me the desire to know and love and follow Him, forming my character to be like His and transforming my heart of stone into a heart of flesh.
Because of all of this, and much more, for me to live must be Christ. It is all about Him. Every act of pouring myself out for others, every ounce of determination to go and sin no more, to go and spread the news of His hope and salvation—mending the broken, loving the fallen, striving to rescue the captive from the bonds of wickedness and sin—it is all because of Him and all for the glory of His great name.
To live is Christ. To live is not me. It is not about my convenience or my preferences or my understanding of His plan. It is about Him. And one day, my Savior will bring me home. Home to glory. Home to joy. Home, where I truly and completely belong and where every effect of darkness is forever gone.
My Lord has the keys of Death and Hades. He is alive forevermore, and in Him I will pass safely through death, to life eternal in His glorious presence, in a place where night is no more. To live is Christ. And in Christ, to die is gain.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning,
nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’”
“And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”