What does Paul mean by "to live is Christ"?
If we look at the verse that comes right before it, we receive a clarification of exactly what Paul means. Verse twenty states:
According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death."
Philippians 1:20, KJV
In other words, just as I explain in such articles as "Are You A Burning Ember For The Lord?" and "Are You Crucified With Christ?", Paul is saying that through his life, and his dedicated service to the Lord, Jesus is being magnified. Why? Because as Paul tells us in the aforementioned verse, he is boldly preaching the Gospel to the lost. Consider these related verses:
"And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes."
Mark 1:21-22, KJV
"But, lo, he speaketh BOLDLY, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?"
John 7:26, KJV
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, KJV
"Now when they saw the BOLDNESS of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus . . . And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all BOLDNESS they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with BOLDNESS."
Acts 4:13, 29-31, KJV
"Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men."
Acts 5:29, KJV
"But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached BOLDLY at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake BOLDLY in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him."
Acts 9:27-29, KJV
"Long time therefore abode they speaking BOLDLY in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands."
Acts 14:3, KJV
"And he began to speak BOLDLY in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly."
Acts 18:26, KJV
"And he went into the synagogue, and spake BOLDLY for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God."
Acts 19:8, KJV
"And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth BOLDLY, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak."
Ephesians 6:19-20, KJV
"According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all BOLDNESS, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death."
Philippians 1:20, KJV
"So that we may BOLDLY say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."
Hebrews 13:6, KJV
"He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light."
John 5:35, KJV
"Quench not the Spirit."
1 Thessalonians 5:19, KJV
"Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
Mark 8:38, KJV
So, as with the Apostle Paul, while it would indeed be personal gain for us Christians to die at this very moment, the truth of the matter is that the Lord needs us here and now on the Earth, in order that the Gospel of Salvation might be preached to this increasingly lost generation.
Our Heavenly Rewards will indeed come in God's chosen time, but for now, Lord help us all to remain faithful in whatever tasks He has given each of us to do, so that when that Great Day of our Heavenly Graduation finally arrives, we will hear the longed for:
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant . . . Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord".
Matthew 25:21, KJV
Are you a burning ember for the Lord? Are you letting your light shine for Jesus? Remember this: