Calculate your spiritual gains and losses
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain—Philippians 1:21 (KJV).
Oh happy, happy soul, who can say with Paul, “in life, in death, Christ is my gain!” Truly, if you believe on the Son of God, you may. You also have the same right and the same reason [to do so] as he had. Paul was a poor sinner, even as you are; but Christ was all his gain: so he is to you, and to everyone who believes in him. Come Christian, let us, like the wise merchant, calculate our accounts of loss and gain, and see the sum total. In self-righteousness before God, peace with God, love to God, hope in God, power to please God, enjoyment of God, the life of our souls, yes, our souls by themselves are totally lost. We are all a lump of sin, bankrupt sinners, insolvent debtors to law and justice, and are in danger of lying for ever in the prison of hell. Awful loss!
What is our gain? Inestimable riches! Nothing less than precious Christ, and a precious salvation! Oh is his dear name enrolled in the book of our hearts? Can we read Jesus there? Then in Christ we have perfect righteousness before God, full acceptance with God, free access to God, love from God, peace with God, hope of enjoying, yes, present fellowship with God; we are his children in Christ Jesus; all that he has is ours; every attribute and perfection of Jehovah is engaged for us; his Spirit is ours, to make us holy and happy here, and to lead us to eternal happiness hereafter. “But,” says the poor believing sinner, “I am brought to a standstill in my calculations; though Christ is my gain, yet I have not entirely lost my burden, sin: sin is still alive in me.” Don’t stop, oh soul: continue balancing your books.
Though we have sin and feel sin raging and rebelling, what then? In Christ we have gained a sacrifice for it, and redemption from it. His precious blood has taken away all the guilt of sin from us, and all the wrath due to us from the justice of God. So it stands upon record in the court of heaven, and the Holy Ghost is witness of it on earth. Therefore, record this in the court of conscience: Faith can show a discharge from the guilt of sin and the curse of the law. “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin” [Romans 6:11]. Dead indeed, how emphatic! Yes, as much dead to sin as a corpse buried underground; and as much alive to God in Christ, as though you had never committed one sin, nor have any sin in you. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death” (Romans 8:2 NASB). Thus in Christ we gain a perfect victory over sin and the law. But say, will sin destroy our mortal bodies? let it; this is all it can do; it cannot hurt our immortal souls; for, thanks be to God in Christ, we have a complete victory over death; Christ is our gain in death. We shall lose nothing by death but sin and sorrow: but we shall gain eternal glory. We shall be with our Jesus (John 17:24).
About the author and the source
As a boy, William Mason (1719–1791), while outwardly moral, had no peace with God until he attended a Wesleyan chapel and found his righteousness in Christ. As a preacher and author, he rose at four in the morning to ransack Scripture for promises and to write the meditations that appear in his Spiritual Treasury.
William Mason. A Spiritual Treasury for the Children of God. New York: Deare and Andrews, 1803.