Much and Christ More
Have you ever thought what it would be like if you could not
die? How terrible it would be if your body had wasted away with a terrible disease and you
could not die. I have conducted many funerals when loved ones have reluctantly said the
deceased was better off because he was no longer suffering.
On the other hand, Francis Bacon echoed the attitude of many when he
said, men fear death as children fear the dark. Apart from an intimate love
relationship with Jesus Christ no man is prepared for his encounter with death.
Moreover, death for the believer in Christ is presented in the Bible
as an improvement over the very best in this life. How wonderful it would be if Jesus came
for us on the very best day this life could offer when everything is going great. It would
not be a terrible tragedy. The apostle Pauls life was full and he could write,
For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain (Philippians 2:21
Paul did not say his death would be better by far because
he wanted to escape this life. The death of the Christian is never portrayed as an escape
or improvement on the worst of life.
The heartbeat of Pauls life was Christ. For to me to live
is Christ and to die is better yet. Christ was everything to Him.
H. C. G. Moule with keen insight said, Life and death . . .
look to him like two immense blessings, of which he knows not which is the better. On
either side of the veil, Jesus Christ is all things to him. The only difference will
be that on the other side everything Paul longed for in this life in
Christ will be more perfectly realized there.
The apostles desire was to depart and be with
Christ. He had tasted the delights of Gods righteousness and longed for freedom from
evil that he would never have in this life on the earth. He would know perfect freedom.
For the Christian death will be freedom from all sin, pain,
suffering, persecution, cares, etc.
I am sure the apostle Paul had in mind that this freedom would mean
that finally he would be like Christ in His perfect righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8). Crowned
with His righteousness! It is not our self-righteousness, but our being clothed in
righteousness that Christ imputes to us (2 Cor. 5:21).
We will know him as he is known. Every spiritual truth that has
puzzled us in this life will be clearly revealed to us in Christ. In that day we will know
as he knows (1 Cor. 13:12).
But the blessed thought, most precious of all is we will be with
Every born again believer will be with Christ. Yes, we know him and he is with us in our
present life, but oh the fullness of our knowledge of him and his wonderful, glorious
presence when we are with him clothed and crowned with his righteousness!
The Psalmist said, precious in the sight of the LORD is the
death of His saints (Psalm 116:15 NASB).
For the unbeliever death is an eternal separation from a righteous,
loving God. It is something to be feared and dreaded. However, for the believer death is just the opposite; it is also precious to
the believer just as it is to God. There will be no separation from him.
Moule says it well. For Paul it was a dilemma between Christ
and Christ, Christ much and Christ more, Christ by faith and Christ by sight. And
that is our dilemma, too.
As you read these words is it true of you? Do you long to be
like Christ? Do you long to see Him in all His gory? Do you earnestly desire to be perfect
as he is perfect?
The apostle John said, And
everyone who has this hope focused on him purifies himself, just as
Jesus is pure (1 John 3:3 NET).
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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