Absent From the Body, Present With the Lord :: By Candy Austin

2 Corinthians 5:6-8 “Therefore we are always confident, 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 confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

In a previous article I talked about the ‘erroneous misconceptions’ people have about the afterlife, such as thinking that everyone goes to Heaven when they die and that we all become ‘another one of the angels’ up there. If people would ‘know and read’ their Bibles, they would find that ‘old wives’ tales’ and ‘handed down through the ages’ sayings of the ‘traditions of men’ do not line up with the Word of Truth! Let us look to what the Creator of the Universe has to say about our final Destiny. God’s Holy Word tells us everything we need to know if we would only look to Him for the answers!

From gotquestions.org: “What does it mean to be absent from the body?”

Answer: The phrase “absent from the body” is found in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8. Paul states that he is confident in his eternal destiny and longs for the day when he can be “absent from the body” and be present with the Lord he loves and serves. To be “absent” from one’s body simply means to die because, at death, the spirit is separated from the body and moves into its eternal abode—either heaven with the Lord or hell, separated from God for eternity.

In the same way, Christians are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the presence of God. 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. When a born-again believer dies, his soul goes immediately into the presence of the Lord. There, the soul consciously awaits the resurrection of the body. To the church at Philippi, Paul wrote from a Roman prison:

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you” (Philippians 1:21-24).

Paul’s desire in life was to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. If he lived, he could continue to labor for the Lord. If he faced execution, he would depart this life and be with Christ. He desired to be with his Savior, but if he remained on earth, he could continue to minister to others.

There are some who believe in soul sleep, meaning that when a person dies, his body and soul sleep in the grave, awaiting the resurrection. But if this were true, why would Paul not want to live to minister as long as possible, rather than sleep in a grave? And if it were true that the body and soul are never separated, it would be impossible to ever be absent from the body and present with the Lord.

We conclude, then, that believers who die are indeed absent from their physical bodies and present with the Lord in conscious bliss awaiting that grand resurrection day! Source

Only those who are Truly Born Again by Believing (True Saving Faith) in the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ on their behalf (for their Sins) will be in Heaven (Present with the Lord) when their physical bodies die (Absent from the Body).  Contrary to popular ‘secular belief,’ we do not become angels when we die!

So… No… your loved one that passed is not another angel ‘flying high’ in Heaven looking down and watching over you! They are either in Heaven or Hell depending on their Salvation in Christ! They are either enjoying Paradise with our Savior or are agonizing in Torments separated from our Lord Jesus Christ for all Eternity!

From gotquestions.org: “Do we become angels after we die?”

Answer: Angels are beings created by God (Colossians 1:15-17) and are entirely different from humans. They are God’s special agents to carry out His plan and to minister to the followers of Christ (Hebrews 1:13-14). There is no indication that angels were formerly humans or anything else—they were created as angels. Angels have no need of, and cannot experience, the redemption that Christ came to provide for the human race. First Peter 1:12 describes their desire to look into the Gospel, but it is not for them to experience. Had they been formerly humans, the concept of salvation would not be a mystery to them, having experienced it themselves. Yes, they rejoice when a sinner turns to Christ (Luke 15:10), but salvation in Christ is not for them.

Eventually, the body of the believer in Christ will die. What happens then? The spirit of the believer goes to be with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8). The believer does not become an angel. It is interesting that both Elijah and Moses were recognizable on the Mount of Transfiguration. They had not transformed into angels, but appeared as themselves—although glorified—and were recognizable to Peter, James and John.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul tells us that believers in Christ are asleep in Jesus; that is, their bodies are dead, but their spirits are alive. This text tells us that when Christ returns, He will bring with Him those who are asleep in Him, and then their bodies will be raised, made new like Christ’s resurrected body, to be joined with their spirits which He brings with Him. All believers in Christ who are living at the return of Christ will have their bodies changed to be like Christ, and they will be completely new in their spirits, no longer having a sin nature.

All the believers in Christ will recognize one another and live with the Lord forever. We will serve Him throughout eternity, not as angels, but along with the angels. Thank the Lord for the living hope He provides for the believer in Jesus Christ. Source

2 Corinthians Chapter 5, KJV

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.

“Therefore we are always confident, 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 confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

“For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Charles Spurgeon Study Bible Notes:

5:1 “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” Our affliction is light compared with the glory that is so soon to be revealed to us and in us. How soon our mortal life must end! But does the brevity of life cause us any anxiety? Oh, no! “We have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” And once we reach that blest abode of all the saints and look back on our earthly experiences, we will feel that any affliction we had to endure was light, indeed, compared with the unutterable bliss that will then be our eternal portion.

5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” The apostle mentions here a great general principle. Walking implies the possession of life. We can make a dead person sit in a certain position, but to walk necessitates the possession of inward life. It is appropriate, therefore, to ask whether one has the life of God within. In the sense that the term “walk” is here used, the ungodly person does not walk at all. Walking is also a position that signifies activity. As genuine Christians we do not merely learn; we practice what we know. We are to be engaged in displaying to others the blessings we have received and are to exhibit in our daily actions the fruits we have gathered from communion with God. “We walk” is more than some can say. They can affirm, “we talk; we think; we experience; we feel” – but true Christians say, “We walk.”

Walking also implies progress. A person who walks makes some headway. True believers are always making advances; we are to be going from faith in its beginning to faith in its perfections, waxing stronger and stronger. There is a progress to be made in every Christian grace. Persons who do not make any headway give cause for suspicion as to whether they know much about the divine life at all.

Walking also implies perseverance. When a person only takes a step or two and then stops, we do not call that walking. The true Christian keeps on going. Further, walking is the ordinary manner of the Christian life. Running is not best for progress; it cannot be kept up for long; it fatigues and tires. But walking is that kind of progress in which a person continues hour after hour, and after a night’s rest he rises again to walk on as before, until reaching the goal.

This text also contrasts two principles: walking by faith and walking by sight. We naturally walk by sight. But any child or fool can walk by sight. There is something exceedingly ignorant about believing only what can be seen. Even in common life, the eyes cannot see nine out of ten things that are the most wonderful. And this is most decidedly the case with regard to spiritual things. Further, walking by sight is a deceptive way of walking. The eyes do not see anything, and they often deceive. And again, the principle of sight is a changeable one. We can see well enough in the day, but what do we do in the night when we cannot see?

The principle of faith does best in the dark. And those who walk by sight walk alone. Walking by sight is just this — “I believe in myself.” Whereas walking by faith is this — “I believe in God.” Lastly, a caution is implied in the text: we are never to mix the two principles — “We walk by faith, not by sight.” – Charles Spurgeon Study Bible

Bottom line, when we pass from this life… cross over… look beyond the veil… and are ushered into eternity, we will be in one of either two places. The Word of Truth, God’s Holy Word, The Holy Bible tells us the Saved, the Redeemed, the Truly Born Again will immediately be in the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ where there is ‘Fullness of Joy’ Forevermore! Where eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love Him!

1 Corinthians 2:9 “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

The Lost, the Unredeemed, the Unbelieving (Fearful, Unbelieving, Abominable, Murderers, Whoremongers, Sorcerers, Idolaters, Liars, Unrighteous, Fornicators, Adulterers, Effeminate, Abusers of themselves with mankind, Thieves, Covetous, Drunkards, Revilers, Extortioners). Basically, the Unrepentant, those who refuse to turn from their Sin and turn to Jesus Christ, who will not change their minds from Unbelief to Belief, will find themselves in a place where the worm dies not, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, where there is no more Chance or Hope of a life with God ever again! It is a place of ‘Total Separation’ from the Only One who Died to Save you! It is a place of ‘Absolute Despair and Utter Hopelessness’!

Therefore, my admonition to you is to choose wisely! The choices we make in this life determine our standing in Eternity. Once this life is over, there is no such thing as the ‘demonic teaching of reincarnation.’ According to God’s Word, man lives and dies once; and after this is the Judgment! Choose wisely… because there is no going back once you take that final breath!

Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

Until next time… Maranatha!