For The Kingdom: Joy-Filled Living In Difficult Days | Day 13
“To live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
“Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.” For most people, this saying rings true. We long for the glories of heaven, but the passageway requires death, which invokes fear and uncertainty. Like Paul, we should not fear death as a curse, but embrace life as a blessing.
A bold confidence in our eternal salvation is why we can joyfully anticipate heaven and eternity with Christ. If our hope was in this life only, we would be greatly pitied and the biggest of fools. If there is no eternal aspect to our Gospel, than we will live in fear and we will be easily defeated by those who oppose us (v. 28).
However, if our citizenship in the Kingdom guarantees us a life of incomparable joy that never ends, we have reason for great confidence and hope. It’s hard to think about death being counted as gain because of our context. However, if we were enduring great suffering, the promise of Christ in death is two fold –
- In death we experience a release from the hardships and suffering of this life.
- In death we enter into the glorious presence of Christ for eternity.
Paul’s understanding of death revealed a belief in the instantaneous entry into the presence of Christ. Paul did not believe in a “purgatory” or “soul sleep” but rather being immediately present with the Lord.
Like many of Satan’s great lies, the false promise of suicide is rooted in a half truth. For those that are suffering, the promise of suicide is that you can escape the troubles of your current circumstance. However, apart from Christ, what you are entering into is not a better situation, but a worse one. Paul knew that in his death, Christ would be magnified through his courage and commitment to the Gospel.
As believers, we should not fear death, especially dying on behalf of our Lord Jesus. However, God has given us this short speck on the timeline of eternity to make the glory of life in Christ known to a enslaved by the death of sin. When our time comes, we ought desire to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7