“Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:20b-21 (NASB)
The Apostle Paul dedicated his life to work for the exaltation of Jesus Christ from the moment of his conversion to believe Jesus was the promised Messiah. Another version uses the word ‘magnified’ to describe Paul’s main purpose – the glorification of Christ. So Paul could say “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” After years as a prisoner in Rome, his appeal was still pending before Caesar, he was at a fork on the road in the journey of his life. On one hand, he knew he could be martyred. He was ready for that. Or, he might gain his freedom (we don’t know the details). He did not fear martyrdom and saw benefit for others if he remained. Paul declared in either outcome, dying or living, Christ would be magnified. Both of these options, continuing to live for Christ, or gaining his access to glory through dying would result in Christ being glorified. This is to what God calls us in our lives. As believers we are promised that dying is a glorious thing, and remaining alive on earth is opportunity to bring glory to Christ through our obedience and service. It is a win-win situation.