2 Corinthians 5:6-8. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
In 2 Corinthians 5:1-5, Paul spoke of our future bodily resurrection. We asked the question, “What happens to us when we die?” And here in verses 6-8 we get another piece of this incredibly encouraging puzzle.
Paul tells us that right now in life we are away from the Lord. He means physically. Jesus has a physical body and he is in Heaven seated next to the Father. We are not bodily with Jesus, yet. Spiritually, Christ indwells us by the Holy Spirit. But while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.
One day we will be resurrected bodily. Our new body will be both physical and spiritual, or immortal (and way cooler). Our tent will be a brick building and we will put on more clothes (see 5:1-5). We even see here in verse 10 that we will appear bodily before Christ in judgment so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
That leaves us with the question of what happens between our death and our resurrection and judgment? Paul says that we will be away from the body but at home with the Lord.
Look at that little word with. It is a deeply relational word. It is not just a word about placement or proximity. It is always used to describe people in an intimate relationship with one another. Here is a beautiful example:
John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Jesus was with the Father. Later in John 1:18 it will say that Jesus was in the bosom of the Father (they were eternally hugging). Before the incarnation, Jesus and the Father lived with each other in perfect intimacy. Perfect love. Perfect togetherness. Throughout the incarnation, Jesus walked by faith in the indwelling Spirit to maintain that intimacy with the Father. But then on the cross, on that most terrifying of days, Jesus was no longer with the Father as he bore the sins of the world.
Jesus experienced broken withness so that you might be eternally at home with the Lord.
When we die will we be separated from Jesus until the resurrection? No, we will be with the Lord. We will never, ever, experience separation from Christ. Not even in death. Not even when we are separated from our own bodies. Even then, in that instant, we will experience Christ in the spirit. No purgatory. No holding period. No “soul sleep.” No separation. Rather perfect peace and comfort, immense love and indescribable joy.
Psalm 16:10-11. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption. 11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
“To live is Christ” means that you’ll never be without him, not even when you die. This is truly the greatest promise of our union with Christ. Nothing can separate us. You’ll never be alone.
What does it mean to you that one day you will be with the Lord? How does your union with Christ guarantee this future glory?