At present, we are working with the light of truth presented by Dr. Francis Schaeffer from his book True Spirituality where we are discussing the basic considerations of the Christian life, or true Christianity.
In The Spirit’s Power (new chapter)
Let’s continue….and again we look at what the Apostle Paul says….
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life 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
This verse falls into three different portions: ‘I am crucified with Christ’: (a break) ‘but I am still alive’ (a break) but it is no longer just me living in this body, but Christ now lives in me. And the life I now live in this body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.
Here we are told that Christ really lives in me if I have accepted Christ as my Savior. In other words, we have the words of Jesus to the thief on the cross, “today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43. Christ can say, ‘today you will be with me in paradise’ and mean it. To die is to be with the Lord. It is not just an idea; it is a reality. The Apostle Paul tells us…
For indeed we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, but that we would be clothed upon, that what is mortal may be swallowed up of life. Now he that wrought us for this very thing is God, who gave unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Being therefore always of good courage, and knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord (for we walk by faith, not by sight); we are of good courage, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:4-8
The Bible presents only two states for the Christian; to be here in the body or, having died, to be with the Lord. It is exactly the same thing as Jesus presents to the thief on the cross. The Christian is not presented, at the time of death, as being out of contact with sequence or is nowhere between his resurrection and his second coming.
There are a great number of dead who crowd into our thinking, of course, at this point. This is not just a theological question; it is a very practical one. We think of the masses of the Old Testament believing dead and the mases of the New Testament believing dead. We think of our loved ones who are involved in this. Where are they? And we have ourselves, too, to think about. We may die before Jesus comes back, though each of us should have the hope that he will be here when Jesus comes back. And if we die, where will we be an hour after death and until Jesus comes?
The world’s view of course, immediately places the afterlife as either a nothing or as being in a shrouded area: a place of sheets and formlessness, something that comes in under the door or through the keyhole as a gray mist. The new liberal theology would take the afterlife and either deny it or make it such an uncertain quality that it has no meaning to us. But this is not true of the Bible.
Let’s look at the account of the Mount of Transfiguration, Matthew 17. Jesus takes Peter, James, and John, (the living) and these ‘alive’ men see and hear Elijah, who was translated yet has a body. There is not reason to think it is otherwise. He is holding a conversation with Moses and Christ. But here is Moses as well—Moses who died and was buried. And yet he can share in the conversation and he can be seen. He can be recognized and there can be communication.
So Moses, who was dead, stood on the mountain. And here we are today, we are faced with a continuing stream of redeemed, conscious individuals who have died. We have no reason to feel they are anything but recognizable. We have no reason to think of them as lonely spirits, shut off from communication with Christ, with each other. The call to the Christian, as he looks forward to possible death, is not to be afraid, but to realize that, at the moment of death, if he has accepted Christ as Savior, he can pass into that moment, ‘today,’ whatever our today is. We do not need to be afraid to die. No doubt the central thing given is that the Christian dead are with Christ. There is no reason to think that they are out of communicati0n with Christ as soon as they die. To be absent from the body is t be present with the Lord—not merely conscious, but with the Lord. con’t tomorrow
Thoughts developed or used directly from the work of Schaeffer, Francis. True Spirituality . Tyndale House Publishers, Inc