Reading: “Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ” —Philippians 1:23
Sin is not only present with you at all times, but in you. Christian, you know this, and feel it, and indeed groan under it; and the consciousness of it is enough to make you go humbly all your days. If sin is felt for what it is, all other afflictions are nothing to this affliction. It is, however, a soul-supporting thought, that under all, and in all, Jesus is your hope. And while sin is always present with you, Jesus, as your advocate and propitiation, is present for you with the Father. But though in Him, and His righteousness accepted and secure, yet the daily shortcomings and transgressions dishonor God, and deprive you of comfort here, and make the eyes run down with water, and the heart mourn continually before the mercy-seat.
And will these things always be the same, while you carry about this body of sin? Shall this perishing part of human existence be always so unfavourable to the sweet and gracious desires of the soul? Shall I never, never truly and uninterruptedly enjoy Jesus until the body is dissolved and the dust returns to the earth?
If this is true, Christian, have you not then a desire to depart, and to be with Christ? Is not the grave not only made bearable, but even desirable? What, shall I never be wholly free from sin, until I am wholly freed from the body! Would you not, then, gladly part with such a partner, as the flesh, if this partner, in its present state, so dreadfully robs you of your most precious enjoyments?
It is true, death in itself is not desirable—it is an enemy—but if you can only enjoy Jesus in fullness by dying and lose the corruptions of the body and if the grave has a commission from Jesus to destroy that part only of your body which is corrupt, is this not to be welcomed? Oh then, Christian, never look at death any more but as thy kind friend. It is to die to sin; but it is to live to Jesus. It is to be dead to all things but Jesus, that Jesus may be all things in life forever.