Have you ever considered that in a very few words the Scriptures describe the blessedness of those who have gone to be with Christ? Yet these few words are adequate to convey to our hearts the eternal blessedness of that experience.
WHERE ARE THEY? This is a question the Scriptures answer in regard to any Christian loved ones who have gone before. Two words sufficiently cover this point; they are found in Philippians 1:23, “WITH CHRIST.” Do you remember Peter’s writing in his second epistle, chapter 1 and verse 18, of being “with HIM on the holy mount?” On that occasion he expressed the great joy of that privilege, saying, “Lord, it is GOOD for us to be here.” He was right, for the glory of Christ’s presence is unequalled. Then David the Psalmist declares in Psalm 16:11: “In Thy presence is fulness of joy.” Does not Colossians 3:4 tell us that the eternal blessedness of departed saints is to be “WITH HIM in glory?” How precious must the words of Jesus have sounded in the dying thief’s ears, “Today shalt thou be WITH ME in paradise.” What blessedness, “WITH CHRIST!”
WHAT IS IT LIKE? This is another good question to raise. Again, two words in the same Philippian chapter fully describe it, saying, “FAR BETTER.” There is the suggestion that the glory of being with Christ has no comparison on earth. In contrast to all earthly things, the privilege of being in His glorious presence is supremely higher. The revised version of the Scriptures renders the words, “VERY FAR BETTER.” J. N. Darby’s translation reads “VERY MUCH BETTER.” Moffatt’s rendering is, “FAR THE BEST.” The saints who have gone before are really enjoying a grand time in His presence; not one longs to be back here on earth. Their new circumstances, they answer, are “FAR BETTER.” It almost makes one’s heart long to be with them, does it not ?
HOW DO THEY FEEL? Surely it is not amiss to ask this. I believe they would answer in the words of 2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are willing to be absent from the body, and to be present “WITH THE LORD.” The Revised Version renders the word “present” as meaning “at home.” Oh, they answer, “We are AT HOME !” Young’s translation suggests, “To be among one’s own people, to be AT HOME.” So another two words would tell of their blessedness, “AT HOME.” Not one is a stranger to the other, though they have never met before. What a company of happy people in His Presence, “AT HOME.” No hunger or thirst in that HOME, no scorching trials of earth, no tears of grief and pain. They are “AT HOME,” the place of the “living fountain of water” (Rev. 7:16-17).
ARE THEY EMPLOYED? This should be another question to consider. What is the answer? Two words again cover it, “SERVING CHRIST.” “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and SERVE HIM day and night in His temple” (Rev. 7:15). “His servants shall SERVE HIM, and they shall see HIS FACE.” Yes, SERVICE and WORSHIP are their constant occupation. The service is better than any ever done on earth; the adoration, fuller than any ever rendered below to His blessed Person and Work. How glorious to be thus employed in eternity! Will it not be grand when we also enter upon our heavenly employment in His eternal Presence!
Eight words! But oh, how full of meaning they are: “WITH CHRIST,” “FAR BETTER,” “AT HOME,” “SERVING CHRIST!” Let us remember that we who are still here should find encouragement to go on faithfully for HIM, from the words of Hebrews 10:37, which say, “For yet A VERY LITTLE WHILE He that comes will come, and will not delay” (JND). Then will be the reunion morning, in the land where partings shall never be known, for we shall all be “WITH CHRIST.” Moreover, “So shall we EVER be WITH THE LORD.”