Philippians 1:23, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:…”
When reading scripture we often come across texts that are beyond our knowledge and capability to fully interpret. Even though we can read and gather information to the degree to understand the meanings and definitions of words, the full experience of some verses of scripture is simply beyond us. For example, let’s look at John 3:16 , “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” When reading this verse, some information can be gathered, but the two letter word “so” in this verse entails the vastness and greatness of God’s love that is beyond mere mortal minds. It has been said that there is an everlasting and inexhaustible amount of preaching found in the word, “so”.
In our study verse please pay attention to the word “far”, which is small when compared to other words in the English language, yet it carries with it information that is beyond our earthly clouded minds. How far is “far?” In my short time that I’ve spent on this earth I’ve made some long journeys, by car and plane, yet have never traveled remotely close to the distance referred to in this word “far.” The word describes the distance that is beyond the natural man’s ability of travel. The word “far” also describes the vast distance between the sufferings and tribulations associated with this world and the peace, joy and glory that will be experienced in the world to come. Here, while living in this world, we battle with the temptations of the world and the devil and deal with our carnal nature every day. We sometimes find ourselves tossing and turning upon our beds in worry as we fail to trust God as we should. Yet there is a land, a glorious place called heaven, where those problems do not exist. Jesus, in Luke 23:43, calls heaven “paradise.” Solomon, In Ecclesiastes 12:5, calls heaven a “home.” The Apostle John calls heaven a “rest” in Revelation 14:13. In 2 Timothy 4:8, the Apostle Paul calls heaven “a crown of righteousness,” or the pinnacle of his experience. I’m sure the Apostle Paul has many wonderful experiences in his service to the Lord, but he was assured by the declaration of scripture and his experience with the Lord that all of those paled in comparison to the time when he would be gathered to his people (Genesis 25:8; Genesis 35:29; Genesis 49:33; Numbers 20:26; Deuteronomy 32:50) and see Jesus Christ in glory. Truly, truly, “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us”(Romans 8:18), which is “far better.” Amen!