Do you long to be with Christ?

We want to be with those we love.

One of the saddest things in life is to be separated from loved ones. If we cannot be with them all the time, we want to be with them when we can.

During holidays large sums are spent visiting those we love. Much automobile and air traffic is generated by those who travel great distances to spend some time with loved ones.

When I was very small, I travelled with my mother by train half way across the United States to visit my grandmother.

The saddest separation of all is death. That was the last time we saw her. She had a stroke and died shortly thereafter. She was a faithful Christian, however, so we look forward to seeing her again.

How can we have this assurance? Through the resurrection of Christ! He is the Redeemer in whom Job believed as he longed to be with God (Job 19:25-27).

Jesus came to restore our broken relationship with the Father so we may have an eternal relationship with Him. Jesus longs to be with His loved ones, and they long to be with Him.

Jesus wants His followers to be with Him forever.

He prayed: “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).

Knowing that he would be leaving His beloved disciples shortly, He assured them: “A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me” (John 16:16). “I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you” (John 16:22).

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3).

How can we be with Christ forever?

We must have a good relationship with Him now to be with Him forever.

Christ died for us that we might live with Him.

“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him” (1 Thessalonians 5:9, 10).

We must deny ourselves and follow Christ.

Because Jesus gave His life for us, we give our life to Him.

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it’” (Matthew 16:24, 25).

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23).

If we want to be with Jesus forever, we must be willing to suffer with Him: “and if children, then heirs - heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Romans 8:17).

We must die with Christ to live with Him.

“This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him” (2 Timothy 2:11). By sharing in His death, we have His life in us as a foretaste of eternal life.

“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:8-11).

“For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you” (2 Corinthians 13:4).

As Paul wrote: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6).

We die with Christ through baptism.

We are united with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection through baptism.

“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (Romans 6:3-6).

At baptism our sinful man is crucified with Christ. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and by the blood of Christ, our sins are washed away (Acts 22:16), and we rise from baptism to “walk in newness of life.” We have been “born again,” “born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:3, 5).

Previously, we were outside of Christ. Now we are in Him, a member of His body, the church: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13).

Paul reminds Christians: You were “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12); “knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus” (2 Corinthians 4:14).

Christians commune with the body and blood of Christ.

Jesus gives this loving invitation: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with Him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20).

When we break bread on the first day of the week, we have fellowship with His body and blood: “Is not the cup of blessing that we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread that we break a sharing in the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16 NET).

In the Lord’s supper we encounter the body and blood of Christ. We meditate on what He has done for us. In our mind we hear the blows of the hammer and feel the pain from the spikes that were driven into His hands and feet, knowing that He was bearing the punishment for our sins. Yet, we also rejoice when we think about the stone being rolled away and the triumphant Christ emerging from the tomb. We feel extremely close to Him and surrounded by His love. This fellowship with the body and blood of Christ is spiritual, intimate and profound.

Christians long to be with Christ.

As long as we are still in the flesh, our fellowship with Christ is limited, but we look forward to being with Him forever.

Although Paul wanted to serve his fellow saints, he longed to be with the Lord: “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” (Philippians 1:23 ESV). “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8).

He who remains faithful may walk with Christ in white.

“You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels” (Revelation 3:4, 5). “To overcome,” as used in Revelation, means to remain faithful until death.

After Christ returns, we will be with Him forever.

When Jesus comes again, we will be like Him: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

We will appear with Christ at His coming.

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17).

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).

We will reign with Christ.

“This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him” (2 Timothy 2:11, 12).

“He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:14).

“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Revelation 3:21).

What have we learned?

We want to be with those we love. Jesus wants His followers to be with Him. How can we be with Christ forever? He died for us that we might live with Him. We must deny ourselves and follow Jesus. We must die with Him to live with Him. We die with Christ through baptism. We commune with the body and blood of Christ at His table. Christians long to be with Christ. He who remains faithful may walk with Christ in white. When He returns, we will appear with Him, we will be with Him, and we will reign with Him forever.

We long to be with Christ! “O Lord, come!” (1 Corinthians 16:22). “The Lord be with you all” (2 Thessalonians 3:16). Amen.

Roy Davison

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.

Published in The Old Paths Archive