2 COR. v. 8. “We are confident, I say, and willing rather
to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord.”
IT would be impossible to set forth in clearer terms the
apostle’s conviction that the intermediate state is one of
consciousness and bliss. To depart would be to be with
Christ. The sunset and the sunrise are one.
While we are yet whispering “Depart in peace,” another
voice has already said, “Come, thou blessed of My Father.”
The language of Paul’s preference befits the lips of every
I. The prospect of this great transition. In the willing-
ness expressed here there are four main elements.
1. A higher claim acknowledged. Who could be well
pleased to be absent from the body? Those only who
are conscious of this higher claim. A thousand objects of
interest and affection seem to say, “Thou art ours,” but
Christ bends from on high and says, “Thou art Mine.”
2. There is the acceptance of a necessary condition.
We know that the veil of flesh must be rent, before we can
pass from a world of sin to be for ever with the Lord.
3. The providence of God makes it easier for us all by
the changes, the sorrows, and the trials of life.
4. There is the longing for promised deliverance. In
the hour of youth and strength we accept the necessity,
but in conflict and feebleness we yearn for the deliverance.
II. Its influence upon our life.
We are “of good courage,” this strikes the keynote of
our text. With the spirit of courage is combined the spirit
of service, and the triumphant confidence becomes, whether
here or there, the inspiration of faithful work.
S. G. G.