Philippians 1:21 says, “For to me, to live is MASHIACH , and to die is gain.” Most people focus on the second part of the verse, “to die is gain,” and contemplate the joys of heaven. But we should not overlook what comes before. The importance of the phrase “to live is MASHIACH” cannot be overstated. In all honesty, this phrase should be central to every Believer’s life.
In this statement, the apostle Paul is saying that everything he has tried to be, everything he is, and everything he looked forward to being pointed to MASHIACH. From the time of Paul’s conversion until his martyrdom, every move he made was aimed at advancing the knowledge, gospel, and called out assembly of MASHIACH. Paul’s singular aim was to bring glory to YAHUSHA.
“To live is MASHIACH” means that we proclaim the gospel of MASHIACH. Paul preached in synagogues; he preached at riversides; he preached as a prisoner; he preached as an apostle; he preached as a tentmaker. His message was constant: “YAHUSHA HA’MASHIACH and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). He brought the message of MASHIACH’s sacrifice to kings, soldiers, statesmen, priests, and philosophers, Jews and Gentiles, men and women. He would preach to literally anyone who would listen.
“To live is MASHIACH” means that we imitate the example of MASHIACH. Everything that YAHUSHA did and said, that’s what Paul wanted to do and say. The called out assembly benefitted from his godly example: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of MASHIACH” (1 Corinthians 11:1). What would YAHUSHA do? That’s what we want to do.
“To live is MASHIACH” means that we pursue the knowledge of MASHIACH. We want to know MASHIACH better and better each day. Not just a set of facts about MASHIACH, but MASHIACH Himself. “I want to know MASHIACH—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11).