Philippians 1:21-24 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
‘For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’ Here Paul expresses perfect resignation to whatever he had to face (1:21-24). His life was about living for Christ to the fullest and death was to be united with Him forever! What a testimony.
‘I wot not’ [Greek: gnorizo] translated make known 16 times; declare 3 times; certify (Gal. 1:11); give to understand (1Cor. 12:3), and do to witness (2Cor. 8:1).
‘Am in a strait’ [Greek: sunecho] am being pressed. I am under pressure between two desires, that of living and of dying.
‘Betwixt’ [Greek: ek] of, out of, from, with. Out of 921 times used it is only translated betwixt here, and between (John 3:25).
‘To depart, and to be with Christ …’ Seven outstanding facts are noted here (1:21-24): To live means gain to Christ (1:21). To die is personal gain (1:21). There is no gain for man or God if one went into extinction of being, unconsciousness, or soul sleep. All are unscriptural. To live in the flesh is to continue bearing fruit (1:22). This proves that one dwells in a body. Having a desire to depart (1:23). This confirms the fact of the departure of one at death. To be with Christ (1:23; 2Cor. 5:8). Far better (1:23). A far better place and state of being (Rev. 21:4; 22:3). To abide in the flesh is more needful for Christians than to die (1:24). This explains what departure from the body means – that at death the body dies and the inner man leaves the body to go to paradise if one is a Christian, or to hell if one is unsaved. The body without the spirit is dead (Jas. 2:26); to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2Cor. 5:8); to depart is to be with Christ (1:23) and be in paradise with the spirits of just men made perfect (Luke 16:19-31; 2Cor. 5:8; 12:2-4; Rev. 6:9-11).