Monday, June 12, 2017

Absent from the Body - Martin Wiles

Series: The Things We Say

Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8 NLT

You know what the Bible says, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

Death. Funerals. They’re both a part of what I experience as a full-time vocational minister. I don’t enjoy either of them, but they come with the territory. Death comes to the young, old, and all ages in between. Comforting those who have lost loved ones is challenging. Bible verses don’t always do the trick. I’ve seen anger, frustration, bitterness, confusion, and relief. 

However and whenever death comes, an obvious separation takes place—and separations are never easy. In an attempt to comfort, I’ve said the above statement and heard it from many others. Still, knowing a loved one is with the Lord doesn’t erase the sense of loss the one left behind feels.

Paul’s life since trusting Christ was rough. As he panhandled the gospel over the known world, his enemies hounded his steps. Stonings, beatings, jailings, false accusations, desertions by friends. He faced them all. But comfort came through his belief that if they took his life he would be at home with his Savior.

The concept of an afterlife—as most Christians now understand it, developed slowly. 

In the Old Testament, the afterlife was viewed as a shadowy existence. Not until the New Testament was the concept fully developed. A blissful place called heaven for those who’ve accepted Christ as their Savior, but a terrible place of torment called hell for those who reject Him.

While some believe nothing happens between death and the final resurrection, many—perhaps most, believe we are composed of either body, soul, and spirit or at least body and spirit. Either way, there is a part of us that lives on after death prior to the resurrection of our bodies. Believing this is a comforting thought when we lose loved ones—if they have a relationship with Christ. We may not have them anymore, but there will come a day when we’ll see them again. 

Death is not the end of our existence. 

Life continues in one of two places. Make sure your and your loved ones’ eternity is secure with God in heaven. 

Prayer: Father, we thank You for the hope of an eternity with You when we place our faith in Your Son. 

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