While Paul was imprisoned in Rome for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, he wanted the Philippian church to know that this was part of God’s divine will for his life. He was very thankful for the care packet they sent to him by Epaphroditus because it was an expression of God’s grace working through their hearts. Paul’s love for this church grew each time he looked at the scars he bore upon his body, remembering the great struggle and suffering he went through before this church was planted. Paul wanted them to have peace and assurance that God’s will was being accomplished though he was in chains. Paul was a very humble man putting the needs of the church before his own needs. He considers himself to be the chief of sinners, one in whom evil was continually present, and could not ever get over the fact that The Lord loved him and chose him unto salvation. The Lord gave him a new heart, with a new set of desires, and called him to preach the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ to all of the world. Oh, what a confident expectation the apostle Paul had, concerning his death, for he knew that his righteousness would not stand in the presence of a holy God on the day of his death, but through the righteousness of Jesus Christ alone his salvation was procured and sealed.
Though the feeling of sin still raged in the apostle’s mortal body, he refused to obey its lust. For the Holy Spirit had inscribed upon his conscience that He had been justified by grace through faith in the work of Jesus Christ. He was no longer a foreigner, but now a son and the impending judgment of God that once terrorized his soul had been quenched. Though the struggle against the desires of the flesh is real, he now had victory over his carnal cravings, and his name was written in the Lambs book of life never to be removed. As it is written, “Death has been swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Therefore Paul could say with all boldness during his hardships and imprisonments, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
How blessed is every Christian who understands that God does not justify them by their righteousness, but that of the righteousness of Jesus Christ? That sin is no longer counted against them, past, present or future, for they have been clothed in the righteousness of Him who hung on a cross and was raised from the dead. William Mason penned, “For, thanks be to God, we have victory over death. Christ is our gain in death. We shall lose nothing by it but sin and sorrow; we shall gain eternal glory. We shall be ever with the Lord. I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord.” “Rejoice O child of The Living God, and don’t be fearful of death, for divine love cast out all fear, and brings you peace and rest.” “Though the hosts of death and hell, “All armed against me stood; “Terrors no more shall shake my soul, for My refuge is my God.”
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21 NASBS