TWO PARABLES Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
With few exceptions, when the Lord spoke of people being punished at His appearing He was referring to His servants, the Christians. Two warnings helpful for us to consider are the parable of the ten virgins and the parable of the talents. They exhort us concerning the need for diligence during our discipleship.
Table of Contents
At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. (Matthew 25:1—NIV)
We can tell when the episode of the ten virgins is to take place by the three opening words: "At that time."
Moving backward to the twenty-fourth chapter we find the same three words.
At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:30—NIV)
As far as we can tell, the two parables we are discussing will take place at the coming of the Lord.
Notice the question asked by the disciples at the beginning of the twenty-fourth chapter of the Book of Matthew:
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3—NIV)
The twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew is the answer to their question about the coming of the Lord. The two parables at the beginning of chapter twenty-five take place at this time, according to our understanding.
"What will be the sign of your coming?"
It is interesting that the Greek term for "coming" is parousia, the same Greek word used exclusively in First and Second Thessalonians for "coming."
According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. (I Thessalonians 4:15—NIV)
"Till the coming of the Lord."
It seems the common usage of parousia in First and Second Thessalonians presents a real challenge to those who would seek to convince us that the fourth chapter of First Thessalonians is describing a special secret "rapture" that takes place prior to the historic coming of the Lord, described in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew.
So we see that the episodes of the ten virgins and the talents take place at the parousia of the Lord, on the occasion of His historic return to the earth.
Let us point out the sequence of events.
Matthew 24:15-22 tells us of the great tribulation, or great distress as the New International Version refers to it. The great tribulation, according to Matthew, will take place after the Gospel of the Kingdom has been preached as a testimony to all nations, and just before the parousia of the Lord.
Immediately after the tribulation the historic coming, or parousia, of the Lord will take place. The great signs in the heavens will be given. These signs are as the fig tree putting forth leaves, telling us that summer (the coming of the Lord) is at hand.
When the Lord comes He will call His elect, saints, His warriors, to Himself. They will be drawn from one end of the heavens to the other. This is the answer to the question posed by the disciples.
After the Lord appears and the elect are gathered to Him, the wrath of God will be poured on the wickedness of the world. It will be as the days of Noah. This will be the time when two are working together, one is taken and the other left.
So the sequence is: the Gospel of the Kingdom is preached to all nations; the worldwide tribulation takes place; the Lord returns; the wrath of God is poured on the wicked.
Now we are ready to discuss the two parables. At that time . . .
At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. (Matthew 25:1—NIV)
We are speaking about the Kingdom of Heaven. This is important to note because our tradition has residence in Heaven as our goal. The Lord Jesus did not appear on earth to tell us about our going to Heaven but about the coming of the Kingdom to the earth. Right now the Kingdom is in Heaven. When the Lord returns with His saints the Kingdom will come from Heaven to earth.
The coming of the Lord is the coming of the Lord to the earth. It is not the going of the Church to Heaven. This change in concept is radical in the present hour but soon will be as accepted as going to Heaven is now. This is because the time is near.
We know the ten virgins represent Christians because they went out to meet the Bridegroom. This would not be true of unsaved people.
We think the "lamps" represents the Bible, the Word of God, or the doctrinal beliefs of the believers.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. (Matthew 25:2-4—NIV)
Notice that this parable does not have to do with sin, as we usually think of sin. Ordinarily we do not view carelessness as sin. Yet Hebrews warns us against neglecting our salvation.
"Oil" often is used in the Bible as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. We think this is the portrayal here. In any case it is the Life of Jesus Christ that is at issue.
How can people have the Word of God and yet not have the Life of Christ, the Holy Spirit, dwelling in them? Easy! It happens every day.
We refer to people who speak in tongues, or who have at some point in the past spoken in tongues, as being "Spirit-filled." In many instances they are not Spirit-filled at all. They spoke in tongues at some point in the past but ever since have been living in the flesh for the most part.
Do you know anyone like that?
How can we tell when we actually are living in the Spirit, when we have oil enough to keep our light going?
I like the following verse. It tells us a lot about the Spirit-filled life.
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, (Ephesians 5:19)
The person who is living in the Spirit is continually talking to the Lord, singing to the Lord, thinking about the Lord, going about his or her business singing spiritual songs and often speaking in tongues—sometimes prophesying.
Speaking in tongues is God's way of bringing us into His rest. God's rest is the place where we are living in God's Presence, doing His will in every matter great and small.
When we are speaking in tongues our spirit is speaking instead of our carnal brain.
Now if you will notice, when you are living in the flesh it is much more difficult to talk in tongues. Try to talk in tongues while you have been using profanity. Try to talk in tongues when you are on the phone criticizing a fellow believer. Try talking in tongues when you are in a rage. Try talking in tongues while you are fornicating. Try talking in tongues when you are at a party.
You will find that talking in tongues, singing in the Spirit, worshiping the Lord, are a different part of your personality than your ordinary fleshly life.
We Christians, regardless of the circumstances we are in, regardless of the tasks we are performing, regardless of the decisions we are making, should be able to sing in our heart to the Lord, worshiping Him. This is what it means to live in the Spirit rather than in the flesh. It really is not as difficult as it may sound.
The foolish virgins had a touch of life when they came to Christ and received eternal life. But they were counting on that one experience to qualify them for the Lord's appearing.
The wise virgins kept themselves filled with the Holy Spirit.
The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. (Matthew 25:5—NIV)
One of the main problems with the Christian life is boredom. We start off in the grand parade and then the years begin to roll by and nothing happens. Sometimes churches maintain an endless series of activities and special speakers to keep the people interested. While such events may attract people to the services it does not result in their being discipled. After the entertainment is over we notice that little of eternal substance has transpired.
The experienced Christian understands very well that the Bridegroom is a long time in coming!
"At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ (Matthew 24:6—NIV)
The Lord comes at midnight, at the moment we are least prepared. We have to be ready at all times.
When the Lord appears we will have to take a step of faith. "Come out to meet Him." We usually think of events such as the coming of the Lord, or the resurrection from the dead, as being sovereign interventions in which we are carried out of ourselves. If this were the case the Lord would not warn us to "remember Lot's wife."
Enoch was translated by faith. It is seldom that God takes matters out of our hands, preferring that we respond in faith and obedience. So it shall be in the Day of the Lord. All of our past experiences and habits will work together to direct what we do in that day..
Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, "Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.""No," they replied, "there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves." (Matthew 24:7-9—NIV)
The virgins were awakened by the mighty signs in the heavens, by the lightning shining from east to west, by the sound of the trumpet, by the sign of the Son of Man appearing in the sky.
The five foolish Christians suddenly realized they had been living in the flesh. They became aware there was no Life of Christ in them. "Our lamps are going out"!
One of the arguments used by the "rapture" adherents that the historic coming presented in Matthew could not be the coming that will surprise everyone is that it is announced by the great signs in the heavens. How then could it overtake us as a thief, they reason.
But Matthew 24:7-9 shows us that even though the careless Christians knew the Bridegroom had come they still were caught unprepared and could not go to be with the Lord.
There may be several days or much longer between the signs in the heavens and the actual appearing of the Lord, or no interval at all. Even so, those who were caught living in the flesh will not be able to prepare themselves in time.
The foolish, careless, fleshly Christians went to the consecrated believers for spiritual help. But the consecrated believers realized they had just enough grace for themselves. (The Lord showed me this in a personal revelation.) They realized even the righteous are saved with difficulty.
Although I resisted the concept at first, over a period of years I began to believe and teach that not all who call themselves Christians will be ready to go to be with the Lord when He appears.
After wrestling with this thought, I finally asked to Lord to show me plainly in the Scripture that not all Christian church people will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air at His coming.
Immediately the parable of the ten virgins came to mind. Here the Scripture states plainly that a substantial part of the believers (five out of ten!) will not be ready for the Lord to come. Here it is in the New Testament. Plain as day. Numerous church-going believers will not be caught up to meet the Lord when He appears because they are living in the flesh, counting on a previous experience to save them.
The objection that the five foolish virgins were not believers is not supported by the text. These were people who believed Christian doctrine (the lamp), who at one time had the Life of Christ in them (their lamp had been burning), who knew the Bridegroom was coming and wanted to go to be with Him.
They were Christians in theological belief but had not maintained the Life of Christ. So it is today that numerous Christian believers in America are living in the flesh, not in the Spirit. They will not be prepared to be caught up to meet the Lord when He comes although their doctrine is sound..
Apparently the foolish virgins were accustomed to going to the wise for support, just as today fleshly believers count on the strong Christians to help them out of their problems. But it will not be possible in that day.
When the Lord appears, only those who are qualified to appear with Him will be resurrected (or transformed) and caught up to meet the Commander-in-Chief in the air. These are the Lord's victorious saints, His "mighty men," His overcomers. The rest of the dead will not be raised until the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.
But what about the foolish virgins? As we will see in the next parable, the parable of the talents, when the Lord appears He will demand an accounting from those who were not ready. They will not rule with Him. They will be sent to the outer darkness.
"But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. (Matthew 25:10—NIV)
It will not be possible for the believers to prepare themselves at the last minute. During the period of time that it takes them to prepare themselves spiritually, those who were ready will go up to meet the Lord.
Then we see the five most dreadful words in the Bible: "And the door was shut."
How would you like to have that happen to you? You were doing your best to get yourself right with the Lord, realizing you have been behaving carelessly and neglecting your salvation. Now you begin to pray and cry but you know within yourself you are not being heard. You realize the fervent Christians have been lifted from the earth and you have been left behind to be judged along with the other hypocritical believers. And you do not really know how you will fare when you are judged.
You realize now that the teaching you have heard about how grace will take care of your foolishness was not correct, not coming from the Lord. If that part was not true, then you do not know where you are spiritually. You do not know what to expect from now on.
If you do not desire to be placed in such a position in the future, go to the Lord right now and make sure that as you go about the house, or on the job, or in school, or on the road traveling, the song of the Lord is bubbling up in your spirit. You know you are with Jesus and He is with you. His Life, His "oil," is burning brightly in your lamp and you are storing up more of His Life every day so you will never get caught unprepared in the future.
Does that sound like wisdom to you?
Later the others also came. "Sir! Sir!" they said. "Open the door for us!" But he replied, "I tell you the truth, I don’t know you." Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. (Matthew 25:11-13—NIV)
Even though they were virgins whose light had been burning at one time, that is, they were believers, doctrinally sound, who had been alive in Christ, the Lord will not know them at His appearing. This concept is so contrary to today's Christian belief it demands thorough consideration before we keep on telling the congregations they need have no fear because Jesus loves them so much He is excusing their laziness and indifference to spiritual things.
If we expect the Lord Jesus to know us in that day we had better make certain we are living the victorious life, denying ourselves, carrying our cross after the Lord. The way we feel or the fact that we once have spoken in tongues is no guarantee of being known by the Lord when He comes.
God is the God of the now. Today is the day of salvation. If the righteous person begins to act wickedly he will die in his sins. His past righteousness will not be remembered. By the same token, if the wicked person begins to act righteously he will live. His past wickedness will not be remembered. This is what the Bible teaches.
Change is possible today. We should take advantage of it. In the Day of Christ the holy will remain holy and the filthy will remain filthy. There will be no opportunity for change at that time.
Today is your only chance. Change now. Tomorrow may be too late. "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour."
"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. (Matthew 25:14,15—NIV)
The word "Again" signifies we still are referring to "at that time," that is, at the time of the historic coming of the Lord.
The Lord Jesus, the Anointed One of God, left the earth and ascended to Heaven to sit at the right hand of God. When He ascended He sent down His tremendous anointing to rest on His saints. But instead of each saint having the entire anointing the Holy Spirit gave to each person the ministries and gifts that would enable the person to fulfill the work the Holy Spirit had for him or her to do, the work of bringing each believer to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Sometimes it seems there are congregations in which virtually none of the members have any idea what their talent is, what it is that God has given them to do. The Pastor and the platform ministries perform most of the activities of the service. This is why Christ is not formed in the believers.
We know the Holy Spirit has given every believer one or more Kingdom talents. We know we are to present our body a living sacrifice each day so we may discover what it is we are to do to help build the Kingdom of God. No believer is exempt. To sit in church Sunday after Sunday without discovering what our talent is and not using it is to risk dreadful punishment "at that day."
God does not give each believer the same amount of "money."
Some are given five thousand dollars, some two thousand dollars, to another one thousand dollars. This does not seem fair. We have to realize status in the Kingdom of God is determined by the Lord, not by what seems fair to us. Our only responsibility is to be utterly faithful with what we have been given. That is enough for us. The Lord is not impressed by our importance but by our faithfulness.
God gives to each according to his or her ability. We were not all born with the same ability and God understands that and deals with us accordingly.
The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. (Matthew 25:16-18—NIV)
Notice that it was the person who had received only one talent that did the wrong thing. Those given more were diligent with what had been assigned to them. This is so true of people. Since they do not believe they have been given any great gift, like the pastor or evangelist, they do not use what they do have believing it is not important.
The truth is, every member of the Body of Christ without exception is absolutely essential to the health and operation of the Body just as is true of our physical body. When one member is not functioning we all suffer!
Notice also that in the parable of the ten virgins and the parable of the talents we are not dealing with sinning Christians—sinning in the customary usage of the term. The foolish virgins were foolish, not wicked sinners. Yet the Lord did not know them. The person with the one talent was not a wicked sinner. Yet his fate was horrible. His only sin was not using what he had been given.
We Christians need to understand this concept thoroughly. Grace does not cover foolishness or neglecting to serve the Lord with one's gifts. You would think from today's preaching that a believer could be foolish or neglectful and bear no serious consequences because of Divine grace. The truth is, the consequences of being foolish, careless, lazy, or neglectful, even though we do not regard these as serious sins, are as horrible as one can imagine. We disregard this scriptural truth at our period.
After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. "Master," he said, "you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more." His master replied, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!" The man with the two talents also came. "Master," he said, "you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more." His master replied, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!" (Matthew 25:19-23—NIV)
Notice that the reward for being diligent with a small responsibility was to receive more responsibility. We would assume the reward for being diligent would be to go to Heaven to live in a mansion. But God is seeking people who can accept responsibility.
Now, why is this? We must remember that many angels of high rank in Heaven followed Satan in rebellion. Even today we are not wrestling with the lower ranks of angels but with rulers and authorities in the heavens.
Because of God's displeasure with the angels He has removed them from all places of authority. From now on they are servants. God has created a new race of creatures who are not angels. He has given to them, with Jesus Christ as their Head, authority over all the works of God's hands. The angels are their servants.
Therefore the sons of God are being trained, trained, trained continually, night and day, day and night.
If you will read the New Testament with this in mind you will see that the bulk of the passages are not directed toward our going to Heaven to recline on a couch in a mansion. They are directed toward our being conformed to the righteous image of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is so we may be fit to govern the creation.
The purpose of the Church Age has not been primarily to save the nations of the earth. That will come later, according to the Prophets. The purpose of the Church Age is to perfect the Church so it can serve God as a governing priesthood over the works of His hands.
Therefore when an individual uses his talents well his reward is more talents so he can govern with Jesus Christ the saved nations of the earth.
When Paul was beating his body into submission it was not so he could go to Heaven and live in a mansion, it was so he could rule with Christ.
Then the man who had received the one talent came. "Master," he said, "I knew you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you." (Matthew 25:24,25—NIV)
This is no great sin, is it? He was afraid because he knew the Lord is a hard man.
Do we of today realize the Lord is a hard businessman? Do we think because He is loving that He is not hard enough to shut the door against those who are foolish? We American Christians do not have a true vision of Jesus Christ.
The first class of people in the Lake of Fire are the fearful. This is because fear is the opposite of faith. It was fear that drove the Israelites back into the wilderness for thirty-eight years.
We might think the Lord would have a tender heart toward a person whose only sin was he was fearful. But this is not the case. God is looking for rulers who move forward victoriously in Him. These are the ones whom God rewards.
Jesus did not want His talent back. He wanted the talent back plus interest. He wants to see the image of Christ in us, not just a recitation of how we took "the four steps of salvation."
His master replied, "You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so when I returned I would have received it back with interest." (Matthew 25:26,27—NIV)
Hard words! Harsh words! It is difficult to imagine the Lord Jesus saying this to someone whose only sin was hiding his talent. Would we picture Jesus responding this way to a Christian? Do we believers in America really understand God's plan of salvation, the Gospel of the Kingdom of God? Sometimes it appears we are preaching "another gospel" from that presented by the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles.
"You wicked, lazy servant." Christian people in America are living in the flesh, not serving the Lord in many instances. And they are being told there is no problem because they are "saved by grace and not by works of righteousness they have done." They are told God sees them only through Jesus. They are told once they have accepted Christ they can never be lost. They are told they will hear nothing negative at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
In other words, multitudes of Christians are being lied to Sunday after Sunday.
American Christians, perhaps for the most part, are facing a very grim future when the Lord returns. They think they are going to be caught up to Heaven in a "rapture." This is not true. They are going to give an accounting of how they used that which the Holy Spirit had given them.
Wicked! Lazy! Yet his only sin was that of burying his talent, not using that which had been given him by the Holy Spirit.
Again, to imagine this is happening to an unsaved person is not in accordance with the text. We are speaking here of the servants of Jesus Christ who have been given the talents of the Kingdom of God. To deny this is to deny the plain words of the Scriptures.
Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. (Matthew 25:28,29—NIV)
We tend to think only of Heaven and Hell. There are other punishments. One of them is to have your gift taken from you and given to another.
Notice that it was given to the individual with the most talents, the person with ten talents. This is God's way. He is looking for rulers, for people of responsibility who will govern His Kingdom well, bringing forth the fruit He is looking for.
God knows if he gives a person five talents, and he doubles that, and then gives him another talent, he will take the eleven talents he now has and double that. God wants the increase.
The person of little ability who had been given one gift now has nothing—no ability by which to build the Kingdom of God. He is destitute having nothing to show for his life. How tragic! If he had used the little he had wisely and faithfully he would have receive the blessing from the Lord and given more responsibility. Now he has nothing—absolutely nothing!
But this is not all!
And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:30—NIV)
These are hard words! "Worthless servant"! How would you like to be considered a worthless servant? I wouldn't!
"Into the darkness." This may or may not be Hell. I do not know. But it seems to me from the Scripture that only the Lord's servants are thrown into outer darkness. Do you know any exception to this?
There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth because of our realization of what could have been true. Here we sit in a cave in the outer darkness, being able to see in the distance the kingdom of light where Jesus, the saints, and the little children are rejoicing in the Glory of God. We do not know how long we will be denied the Presence of God—perhaps forever! And all because we wasted that which the Holy Spirit had given us when we became a Christian.
To have the door shut in one's face, to lose one's gifts, to be driven into the outer darkness, are terrible, terrible fates. Yet they are assigned to people for no reason other than being careless with their salvation.
"How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?"
At the time of the coming of the Lord we will not be able suddenly to be filled with the Life of Christ or to begin to use our talents. We must live the Christ-filled life now—today. We must discover and use our talents faithfully today. Tomorrow will be too late for some of us.
"At that time"! The Jews are looking for Christ; but when Christ comes it will be Jesus and the victorious saints with Him. How will they respond to this surprise?
The Gentile Christians are looking for the same Christ, supposing He will carry them to Heaven to lay on their couch in a glorious mansion. How will they respond to their being unable to rise to meet Him in the air? How will they react when He stands in front of them and demands an accounting of their use of His gifts?
In Matthew we find these significant words:
Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. (Matthew 24:28—NIV)
The carcass is the slain Lamb who will appear in the sky above us. The vultures are God's eagles who live by the body and blood of Christ.
The body and blood of Jesus Christ are the tree of life. They are the Divine Life by which the elect live. Those who truly belong to the Lord Jesus live by His body and blood just as Jesus lives by the Father.
To live by the body and blood of Christ is to look to Him for every decision we are faced with. Each day we have the choice of making decisions according to our flesh and carnal mind or making decisions by looking to the Lord.
So much of life consists of decisions! We may be in the habit of going to church on Sunday and then making our decisions during the week according to our own feelings and desires.
But the true saint looks to the Lord constantly in every matter, great and small. He does not live according to his own thoughts. More and more as time goes by He thinks, speaks, and acts according to the Lord's will. Each day he presses further into the Lord. As he overcomes the forces that would pressure him to think and act according to the world, or the lusts of his flesh, or his self-will, he is given through the Holy Spirit the very Life of Jesus Christ to sustain him. This is how he lives—by the body and blood of Jesus, not merely in his physical body, brain, and soul.
When the Lord comes, Life will call to life. The slain Lamb will call to those who live by eating of Him and drinking His blood. It is the Life of Jesus in them that will lift them to Him in the sky.
Those who are Christian in name, who have taken the "four steps of salvation," who attend church, who perhaps speak in tongues and are active in the various ministries of the church, but who do all this in terms of their own fleshly life and self-will, do not have this Life of Christ within them sufficiently to draw them from the surface of the earth.
We have supposed it is our belief in correct doctrine that will lift us to meet the Lord in the air. It is not. It is the Life of Christ, His body and blood living in us through the Holy Spirit, that will lift the saints.
We see, therefore, that God cannot be mocked. Those who have sowed to the Spirit of God throughout their discipleship will be called to the Lord "at that time." But the believers who have lived mostly in their fleshly mind and appetites will not have enough life to draw them up to Christ.
We Christians put entirely too much emphasis on correct doctrine and not nearly enough on the daily life of being crucified with Jesus and being raised with Jesus. We already have ascended to the right hand of God with Jesus, according to the Apostle Paul. Now we have to turn away from our adamic life and nourish our new born-again nature that resides in Christ with God in Heaven.
It is time for a great change in Christian thinking, in the way we regard salvation. We limit salvation to a statement of belief in Christ, water baptism, and then eternal residence in Heaven when we die. This is not the Christian salvation.
The Christian salvation, the new covenant, is a gradual change from an adamic personality to a life-giving spirit in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. The purpose of such salvation is that we might appear with Him and install the Kingdom of God on the earth, thus bringing justice to the nations.
Let us encourage each believer in Christ to turn away from the pull of the world and begin to pray, meditate each day in the Scriptures, meet continually with fervent believers as possible, and seek God until he knows what his place of service is in the Body of Christ. Whoever is called to be a saint, a holy one of God, has no other calling in life. We work hard in the world to support ourselves and those who depend on us, but the main part of our life is to be occupied with our calling as a servant of Christ.
Today's Christian doctrine is incorrect. We need to thrust aside the grace-rapture-Heaven error and begin to focus on what God has for us as we enter the age of moral horrors.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. II Corinthians 3:18—NIV)
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29—NIV)
It does not help God solve the problem of rebellion as long as you do a few things to adorn your religious life and then hope to have fun in your mansion in Heaven. God has a sinning world on His hands. God's problem is not solved until you decide to turn away from your own life and do His will without question. Only then are you fit to be one of the future rulers of the creation.