EDITORIAL -- "To Live Is Christ"

Cecil Willis
Marion, Indiana

As Paul debated the relative merits of living or dying, he stated that "to me to live is Christ" (Phil. 1: 2 1). Every Christian today should be able to say meaningfully that "to me to live is Christ." But what does this expression mean? What "to live is Christ" means is best explained by Paul in that same letter to the Philippians. "To live is Christ" means:

1. TO DERIVE ONE'S STRENGTH FROM CHRIST. There are many problems and situations to bear that the Christian feels inadequate to bear alone. But he does not bear them alone. Paul said, '3 can do all things in him that strengtheneth me" (Phil. 4:13).

2. TO HAVE THE MIND OF XHRIST. Paul told the Philippians to "Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5-11). The mind of Christ was one of humble submission to the will of God. Jesus prayed "not my will, but thine, be done" (Lk. 22:42). Submitting his will to that of God, he became "obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross." The Hebrew writer stated that Jesus "learned obedience by the things which he suffered" (Heb. 5:8). Our perfection, like that of Christ, comes by learning complete obedience to God's will.

3. TO KNOW CHRIST... Paul said "I count all things to be loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ," and he sought to "gain Christ" through this knowledge (Phil. 3:8). To "know" Christ here means more than a passing acquaintance of him. It means to know him intimately. One knows Christ intimately only by doing his will. "And hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments" (I Jno. 2:3).

4. TO TRUST HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS. The Christian has learned -that he cannot be saved of his own righteousness, for the righteousness of man are as filthy rags in God's sight (Isa. 64:6). He realizes that if he ever stands before God righteous (justified) it will be through Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:9). He is aware that those who seek to establish their own righteousness in the sight of God do not subject themselves to the righteousness which is of God (Rom. 10: 3). God's righteousness is revealed through the gospel (Rom. 1: 17).

5. TO REJOICE IN CHRIST. The Philippians were told "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord" (3: 1), and to "Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, rejoice" (4:4). One of the fruits of the Spirit is "joy" (Gal. 5:22). Thus the Christian should have an abundance of well-founded joy. It is interesting to read in several of the cases of conversion that after one had obeyed Christ, "he went on his way rejoicing" (Acts 8:39; 2:46; 16:34). The only place that one can have well-founded joy is "in Christ." Those outside of Christ have no hope and are without God in the world (Eph. 2:12). Such a condition is not a joyful one.

Paul adds that Christians "should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again" (2 Cor. 5:15). And Paul practiced what he preached. He said of himself, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me: and that fife which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God who loved me, and gave himself up for me" (Gal. 2:20). Truly such a person can say, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

September 2, 1971