To die is to gain
If you heard someone say, "I’d be better off dead!" you would think that they must be in the depths of depression and misery and that they are no doubt suicidal.
But what would you think if a person who apparently enjoyed life and had every reason to live made such a statement?
The Apostle Paul, who found great satisfaction in serving Christ and bringing others to know and serve Christ, said, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. " (Phil 1:21)
Had Paul become such a religious fanatic that he had become mentally unbalanced?
Not at all! We have every reason to believe that the Apostle was in the best of mental and spiritual health.
In fact, it is a sign of sound spiritual health when one is able to perceive that to be with Christ is far better than to remain here on earth.
Those who do not have that perception, know nothing of the reality of Christ and of heaven.
What happens when a person dies?
We all know what happens to the body.
It ceases to breathe, the heart ceases to beat and decay sets in which necessitates its burial.
But the vital question is, what happens to the soul?
If a person has been savingly joined to Christ, then at death, his soul is ushered into the presence of God.
Christ said, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die."
In essence Christ was saying, "If you believe in Me, you never really die."
For the true child of God, death is but the means of being taken out of this world into the eternal presence of God where He "shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."
When one is assured of that, he can say, "To die is gain."
It is far different with those who are not savingly joined to Christ.
For them, to die is not gain, but rather it is the loss of everything, including their soul.
We must point out that the Apostle not only said "To die is gain," he also said, "For me to live is Christ."
Those who have some other purpose in life other than knowing and serving the Lord, they cannot view death as gain.
For them, death is to lose whatever it is they are living for.
Those who are living to accumulate wealth, to achieve worldly position and power, will lose it all at the moment of death.
But their most serious loss will be their soul.
Christ asked, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"