For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
How often do we as Christians look at a passage like this on from Philippians and look around at all of our stuff and wonder how Paul could make a statement like this. He said that for him to live is Christ, and to die is gain, that the only reason to keep living is to win more people to Christ, and that his desire is to die so he can be with Christ, which he says is far better. How many of us can make a statement like this, and mean it?
Below is an excerpt from a sermon by Thomas Watson, the Puritan pastor and writer. In this excerpt he tells us that there are nine things that end with the death of the Christian, and give us reason to look forward to the day that we will "depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!"
"I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!" Philippians 1:23Print This Post
It is the desire of a true saint to be gone from this present world, "I desire to depart." What a wicked man fears--that a godly man hopes for! The worldling desires to live in this present world forever; he knows no other heaven but earth--and it is death to him to be turned out of his heaven. A wicked man does not go out of this world—but is dragged out!
But a soul enlivened and ennobled with a principle of grace, looks upon the world as a wilderness wherein are fiery serpents, and he desires to get out of this wilderness!
The bird desires to get out of the cage, though it is made of gold. Just so, the saints of God have looked upon themselves as imprisoned in the body, and have longed for a jail-delivery. "Oh, that I had wings like a dove, that I might fly away and be at rest!" (Psalm 55:6).
It is no wonder that a true saint is so earnest to be gone from this present world--if we consider how beneficial death is to a child of God. Death puts an end to all his evils! In particular, there are nine evils which death will put an end to:
1. Death will put an end to a believer's SINS.
2. Death will put an end to a believer's TEMPTATIONS.
3. Death will put an end to a believer's FEARS.
4. Death will dry up a believer's TEARS.
5. Death will put an end to a believer's TROUBLES.
6. Death puts an end to a believer's CARES.
7. Death will put an end to all our NATURAL imperfections.
8. Death will put an end to the imperfections of GRACE.
9. Death will put an end to a weary PILGRIMAGE.
Though death is a bitter cup, there is sugar at the bottom. Death is the believer's best friend; for it brings him to Christ, which is far better. "I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!"