Today You Shall Be with Me in Paradise :: by Dan Payne

Losing someone you truly love is a very difficult hardship. However, those of us who believe in eternal life have a heavenly perspective when it comes to earthly death.

Consider the following Scriptures:

“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 3:2-4).

All believers have already “died” as far as our earthly “lives” are concerned. The earthly life of sin leads to death for everyone so the only way back to life is through Christ’s death and blood sacrifice.

“For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died” (2 Corinthians 5:14).

Since Jesus Christ already died the earthly death that leads to our spiritual life, our earthly death is not death at all if we have already died in Christ to sin. All believers will always be spiritually alive with Christ.

“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).

Do you see that? Whether we are awake and walking or asleep, we are still alive and spiritually safe with Jesus. That is the primary reason why believers do not have to bear the same sorrow as those who have no hope in Christ.

There is a very special hope and joy for those of us who have lost fellow believers; we will join them in heaven with the Lord Jesus.

“For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living” (Romans 14:7-9).

Just imagine the joy of our fellow brothers and sisters who have already gone to be with the Lord in heaven. Think of their excitement as they experience the Lord in all of His heavenly glory.

Let those of us who are still alive on the earth should not lose sight of the sheer delight of those who have gone on to heaven before us. Focusing on this knowledge can be the hand that reaches down and pulls us back up to our feet when we are hurting.

After we stand we will continue on our earthly walk with the Lord, for that is His will for us:

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Colossians 2:6).

The Lord fully understands that we who are aware of the joys of heaven compared to the trials of earth would rather be in heaven. He does not want us to be overwhelmed with grief when we are temporarily separated from loved ones or as we await our own exit from this earthly life. He wants us to be of good courage and strength:

“Therefore, being always of good courage, and 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 of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8).

The apostle Paul (like so many of us), longed to be delivered from the earth and at home in heaven. The hope of being in heaven one day, provided the courage and strength he needed to continue walking by faith.

“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13).

Be of good courage, God is abundant in strength and understanding:

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them. Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:3-5).

Who can resist the promise of deliverance given by Almighty God?

“And He said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise’” (Luke 23:43).