@Daily verse and quote Thanks for this wonderful passage. I hope it is okay with you if I post something here that I personally found helpful and uplifting. It is a bit long but worth the read, imo.
Php 1:21-23. For to me to live is Christ — As my life, both natural and spiritual, is from Christ, so to serve and enjoy him is the supreme end of my life, and I value it only as it is capable of being employed in glorifying him, to know, love, and follow whom, is my glory and my joy. But if I live in the flesh, &c. — Here he begins to treat of the former clause of the preceding verse: of the latter he treats Php 2:17. This is the fruit of my labour — This is the fruit of my living longer, that I can labour more. Glorious labour, desirable fruit! In this view long life is indeed a blessing.Yet what I shall choose I know not — That is, if it were left to my own choice. For I am in a strait betwixt two — The two things mentioned immediately. The original expression, συνεχομαι εκ των δυο, is translated by Doddridge, I am borne two different ways, it being, he thinks, an allusion to a ship stationed at a particular place, and riding at anchor, and at the same time likely to be forced to sea by the violence of the winds; presenting us with a lively representation of the apostle’s attachment to his situation in the Christian Church, and the vehemence of his desire to be unbound, as αναλυσαι may be rendered, that is, to weigh anchor, and set sail for the heavenly country. Having a desire — Επιθυμιαν, a coveting, orstrong desire, as Macknight renders the word; see on 2 Corinthians 5:4; 2 Corinthians 5:8 : to depart — To have my soul separated from my body, and to escape from bonds, the flesh, and the world; and to be with Christ — In paradise, Luke 23:43; admitted to the immediate, full, and constant enjoyment of him, in comparison whereof the nearest access to him, and fullest enjoyment of him in this world, are but absence. Which is far better — Greek,πολλω μαλλον κρεισσον, by much far better. Or, as Dr. Doddridge renders the clause, is better beyond all expression. Indeed, as the doctor observes, the apostle seems to labour for expression, using the highest superlative which it is perhaps possible to form in any language. It is justly observed by the last-mentioned writer, that this text plainly proves the separate spirits of good men are with Christ immediately after the death of their bodies, in such a manner that their state is far better than while they continue in this world; which certainly a state of insensibility, or the sleep of the soul, which some maintain, cannot possibly be. Some indeed think the apostle might speak thus though the soul sinks into insensibility at death; because, say they, in that case, the time between death and judgment must be reckoned as nothing. But, as Dr. Whitby justly observes, “could St. Paul think a state of insensibility much better than a life tending so much as his did to the glory of God, to the propagation of the gospel, and the furtherance of the joy of Christians? Could he call such an insensate state a being with Christ, and awalking by sight, in opposition to the life of faith?” 2 Corinthians 5:7-8. Certainly it is at least evident from what the apostle here says, if there be any such middle state of insensibility between death and the resurrection, he had no knowledge or expectation of it; for if he had known of any such state, he undoubtedly would have thought it a thousand times better to live, and promote the cause of Christ and religion on earth, than by dying to fall into it. Besides, how could he say that he had a desire to be with Christ, if he knew he was not to be with him till after the resurrection? This, however, will not at all disprove the doctrine which maintains that pious men will receive a large accession of happiness after the resurrection: a truth declared in many other passages of Scripture. “The use of philosophy, it hath been said, is to teach men to die. But, as Fielding has observed, one page of the gospel is more effectual for that purpose than volumes of philosophy. The assurance which the gospel gives us of another life is, to a good mind, a support much stronger than the stoical consolation drawn from the necessity of nature, the order of things, the emptiness of our enjoyments, the satiety which they occasion, and many other such topics, which, though they may arm the mind with stubborn patience in bearing the thought of death, can never raise it to a fixed contempt thereof, much less can they make us consider it as a real good, and inspire us with the desire of dying, such as the apostle on this occasion strongly expressed.” — Macknight.