GRACE; HEAVEN; CHANGE; THE KINGDOM
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
There is no doubt we Christians are entering a new era. We are not entering a new Bible or a new revelation. What the Spirit of God is revealing now has always been in the Book. We just could not perceive it—most of us.
To the present hour God has assigned righteousness to us when we put our faith in the Lord Jesus. Minimal emphasis may have been put on any actual change in our behavior. This no longer is the case.
Table of Contents
Imputed Righteousness and Heaven
A Window of Opportunity
GRACE; HEAVEN; CHANGE; THE KINGDOM
Repent, then, and turn to God, so your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, And that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. (Acts 3:19-21—NIV)
Notice that Christ must remain in Heaven until it is time for God to restore everything. This does not mean everyone eventually will be saved. It is speaking rather of the promises given through the Hebrew Prophets.
The Hebrew Prophets spoke of a wonderful day in which the Spirit of God would fill the earth and Paradise would be restored. The Prophets spoke also of the coming of the Kingdom of God to establish justice on the earth.
The restoration the Prophets spoke of includes actual change, not merely an imputed righteousness or a legal state in which God will see the earth and its peoples “through Christ,” but an actual removal of sin from the earth and the establishing of a righteous Kingdom.
In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. (Isaiah 2:2-4—NIV)
I know some teach that the above refers to a Jewish kingdom on the earth while there is a Gentile church in Heaven. The concept of two churches, two kingdoms, two elect of God, a Gentile church and a Jewish kingdom, is so manifestly unscriptural that I will not mention this further.
Suffice it to say there is only the one Kingdom, only one Church, only one eternal Tabernacle of God, one olive tree, one Seed of Abraham through whom the nations of the earth are to be blessed. That one Kingdom, Church, Tabernacle of God, olive tree, and Seed of Abraham, is the Lord Jesus Christ and those who are part of Him, whether Jewish or Gentile by natural birth.
I have written much on the subject of imputed righteousness versus actual moral transformation of character, the new creation. However, today I see this issue more clearly than ever. It has come to me forcefully that we are moving into a new era, an era in which Christianity passes from a “heavenly religion” into a solid, substantial transformation of people into Kingdom righteousness, in preparation for the return of the Lord Jesus to govern the earth.
The Apostle Paul stressed the imputing (ascribing) of the righteousness of the Law of Moses to every individual who would look up from the scroll of the Law and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Such ascribed righteousness, acting apart from an actual change in the believer, seems to be the mainstay of the Christian Church throughout its history, with some exceptions.
But if you will think about it, legally imputed righteousness does not fulfill the declarations of the Prophets. The Prophets spoke of actual righteousness, actual holiness, actual love, peace, and joy. The Prophets spoke of the restoration of that which was lost through the sin of Adam and Eve.
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)
The above verse is speaking of the believers in Christ. God has known us from the beginning of the world. God has predestined us for something. What is it?
God has not predestined us to go to Heaven.
God has predestined us to be changed into the image of Jesus Christ.
Now, by no stretch of the imagination can change into the image of Jesus Christ be construed as ascribed righteousness. While ascribed righteousness may serve as a covering while we are being changed into the moral image of Christ, there is no way in which we can interpret the above verse as meaning we are going to be saved and go to Heaven by imputed righteousness.
Imputed righteousness is righteousness apart from change into the image of Christ. If we have been predestined to be changed into the image of Christ, then we are not saying we have been predestined to be righteous by imputation.
It would be impossible to estimate the damage that has been done to the Christian churches by the unbalanced presentation of imputed righteousness.
Recently a manifestly wicked politician who attends church and declares himself a Christian was heard to define God’s grace as “unmerited favor.” He was showing how he, in spite of his reputation for immorality, will go to Heaven to be with the saints of all ages because he is saved by “grace.”
I think he attends a Baptist church. If so, I trust his pastor will remind this national leader that by no means is he a cross-carrying disciple of the Lord Jesus. He is not a Christian. He is a disgrace to the name of Christ.
If the pastor does not do this then he himself is a disgrace and a false prophet.
The Baptists are as good as anybody. But all of us Christians must come to understand by defining grace as “unmerited favor” we are destroying God’s Church.
God’s grace is His virtue, wisdom, and power operating through the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive people their sins and then turn them away from sinful behavior and make them new righteous creations, living a holy life, sternly obedient to the Father. Any other definition, especially one that counts the believers as righteous when they are living in sin, is more of Satan than of God.
No, the definition of Divine grace as “unmerited favor” is so grossly unbalanced as to be horribly destructive of the Kingdom of God. Paul must be turning over in his grave like a pinwheel in a hurricane.
The essence of the new covenant is change. We have been predestined to be changed—changed into the image of the Lord Jesus. This means we are to be filled with iron righteousness, fiery holiness, stern obedience to the Father, courage, love, joy, peace, infinite patience, and self-control. We are to be like our Father in these aspects.
Change is painful and unsettling. But until we are changed from our adamic, sinful lusts and self-seeking we are neither competent nor qualified to return with the Lord Jesus Christ and establish the Kingdom of God on the earth.
Are you changing each day? Are you walking in continual repentance, always looking to the Lord Jesus so the Holy Spirit may guide you in putting to death the deeds of your sinful nature? If not, you are not being changed. You are not being saved, because salvation is change.
Are you walking in the light of God’s Person and will? To walk in the light is to pray each day, read your Bible, gather together with fervent saints, present your body a living sacrifice, to give of your means as you are able, to obey the written Word as well as the Word given to you personally.
If you are walking in the light of God’s Presence at every moment you are having fellowship with the Father, and the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is cleansing you from all unrighteousness.
But if you are not praying each day, are not reading your Bible, are not gathering together with fervent saints, are not presenting your body a living sacrifice, are not giving of your means as you are able, are not obeying the written Word as well as the Word of God given to you personally, then you are not having fellowship with the Father. The blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is not cleansing you from all unrighteousness.
What I have just written is the true grace of God. The grace of God being preached today in Christian churches is, more often than not, Satan’s interpretation of grace. Satan loves the current interpretation because then he can do as he will with the personalities of the believers because they think God is seeing them only through Christ (an unscriptural concept).
Will we American Christians ever recover from our present delusion concerning God’s grace in Christ? Perhaps we will, but we may have to suffer severe judgments before we are willing to admit we have been mistaken.
The Holy Spirit is calling for repentance today, but our doctrine of “grace” prevents our doing much serious, prolonged repenting. When our lusts return in force we suddenly remember we are “saved by grace and not by works of righteousness we have done.”
And so the demons rejoice and have a field day with our personality. How many pastors today have left their families and have gone to live with a young woman? How many pastors today have been caught in immoral acts? How many pastors today are hooked on pornography? This is because of the teaching that grace is unmerited favor.
May the good Lord deliver us before we all are hurled away from the Face of God.
Another passage is as follows:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: (II Corinthians 5:17,18—NIV)
Are we a new creation by imputation, by unmerited favor? Has the old gone and the new come by a legal act of God but not in reality? Has the old sinful nature really gone and the new Nature of Jesus Christ actually come so all things in our personality are of God?
No, Paul is not speaking of imputed righteousness but of moral transformation. The Kingdom of God is in moral transformation, not in legally ascribed righteousness.
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)
I’ll bet you never heard Romans 8:29 or Second Corinthians 3:18 emphasized. If you did you have a rare pastor or teacher.
You may have heard that if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, but the implication was that by taking the four steps of salvation you automatically are a new creation. The old parts of your personality have disappeared and you now are filled with Christ by imputation. It hasn’t really happened, it is just that God has said it is so and therefore it is a fact. Christ has done it all for you. All you have to do is to continue in your former way of life and wait to be raptured into Heaven.
No painful daily change required. Just believe and Christ does the rest. How neat!
Can you imagine the Lamb having a Bride who is without spot by imputation? She really is a wicked witch, an ungrateful, disobedient, lazy wretch. But all that Jesus sees is a lovely, meek, helpmeet.
Can you imagine Christ having a body that is perfect by imputation but actually sinful and rebellious?
Can you imagine God having a temple that continually rebels against His will but is acceptable by imputation?
Can you imagine Christ having brothers who hate the ways of righteousness and holiness?
Can you imagine a new Jerusalem filled with unrighteous, unmerciful, proud people who are holy only by imputation?
If you believe such is the case I think it might be helpful to throw out all your books on Dispensational theory and read the New Testament once again.
It is true that we have a wonderful sense of renewal when we really come to Christ for salvation. There may be a honeymoon period in which we are walking on the clouds. But sooner or later we return to earth and find that most of our old personality is very much alive.
The essence of the new covenant is change, a transformation of our character, our mind, our words, our actions, our motivations.
There is a new creation. We were forgiven by an act of God. We shall be transformed by the workings of God. But to be transformed we have to do all that the New Testament commands.
We are never transformed by forgiveness. Forgiveness is one matter. Transformation is another. We are transformed as we walk each day in the light of God’s Presence.
Perhaps you have been at a track meet and have seen the runners jump the hurdles.
This is the way it is in the Christian life, except that you do not run toward the hurdles. You remain in your place before the Lord. The hurdles come to you. Most are small hurdles. A few are gigantic. As you look constantly to the Lord He assists you over the small hurdles and over the gigantic. You can do nothing in your own strength. But you indeed have to serve the Lord with all your might at all times. If you do not you will stumble when the hurdles come. You will not live in victory.
There are no desirable promises held out to the losers, only to the winners. Crowns are held out to the winners, but the losers are facing the outer darkness. The losers never, never, never receive the crowns of life and righteousness by grace. The crowns go only to those who live in victory by following Jesus Christ every day with utmost attention and diligence.
Imputed Righteousness and Heaven
Let us review for a moment the Christian belief that the purpose of salvation is to bring us to Heaven. This is not a scriptural concept. Neither is it a restoration of that which was promised by the Hebrew Prophets.
However, the idea of Heaven is well suited to the concept of imputed righteousness (grace) as being the main aspect of the Divine salvation. The belief is that God cannot change man, but since God wants man in Heaven God has decided to ascribe to man, on the basis of his confession of faith, the righteousness of the Law of Moses. It is just as though we had kept the Law of Moses perfectly. Now man is free to go to Heaven, all his sins being forgiven.
This is why we preach going to Heaven even though this expression is not found in the Old or New Testaments.
You see, we know intuitively that the Kingdom of God is not a legal state of imputed righteousness. But because of our wicked, rebellious nature we do not preach actual change into the image of the Lord, or the Kingdom of God, but going to Heaven by grace.
But this is not at all the message of the New Testament. Perhaps the grace-Heaven message has served God’s purposes to the present hour; but now the Spirit of God is ready to move us forward into actual change into Christ’s image—that to which each member of the Body of Christ has been predestined, according to the Bible.
The Apostle Paul did not preach going to Heaven. Paul preached righteous behavior, the coming of the Lord, and the Kingdom of God. It appears we have not been able to perceive these emphases although they have been in the Bible all the while.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; Idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions And envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21—NIV)
Now I know my readers are well acquainted with this passage. But let’s think about it once more.
First of all, when we read the Book of Galatians we can see that Paul is not speaking to the unsaved people of Galatia but to the Christians of Galatia.
Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—And all the brothers with me, To the churches in Galatia: (Galatians 1:1,2—NIV)
Now, no student can maintain reasonably that Paul is speaking to the unsaved, or to Jews, or to anyone other than Christian believers.
But look what Paul is stating! There is no way in which we can reconcile the above passage with most of today’s Christian preaching and teaching.
The acts of the sinful nature of everyone, including the believers, are obvious.
We are immoral, filled with strife and selfish ambition. Our sinful nature is revealed in drunkenness and orgies, or in criticism, gossip, slander, and malicious backbiting.
Each one of us has a sinful, adamic nature. On this we all agree.
What we do not agree on is how God deals with our adamic nature under the new covenant of grace.
The prevailing teaching is that God has forgiven our sinful nature and is ready to take us to Heaven by grace. Isn’t this what is commonly understood from today’s preaching?
But the Bible does not state God is ready to take our sinful nature to Heaven by grace. We are preaching unscriptural traditions. How long are we going to keep doing this?
The Apostle Paul faithfully declared the Words of Jesus Christ.
Paul says, “If you live according to your sinful nature you will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
We are so filled with our traditions we do not know what the Kingdom of God is, thinking it has something to do with Heaven.
Heaven is a place. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God through Christ through the saints that will come to the earth when the Lord appears from Heaven.
This is what John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and all the Apostles of the Lamb preached: the Kingdom of God is coming from Heaven to be installed on the earth.
Do we preach the coming of the Kingdom today? We do not. We preach that the Lord is returning to take His Church to Heaven. Yet there is not one passage of Scripture in the entire Bible that states the Lord is returning to take His Church to Heaven, much less that He will overlook the sinning of the Christians and take them to Heaven by grace.
Do you care that the truth is not being preached today? I do. The result of the wrong preaching and teaching is that the churches in the United States of America are filled with believers living according to their sinful nature. Therefore heavy judgment shall come upon us unless there is radical, lasting repentance—a turning away from the sinful behavior that has resulted from our unscriptural teaching.
Why is it true that if we follow our sinful nature we will not inherit the Kingdom of God?
It is because there is no sin in the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God through Christ through the saints.
“Your kingdom come, Your will be done in the earth as it is in Heaven.” The Lord’s prayer does not refer to imputed righteousness. It refers to the doing of God’s will in the earth.
Where do grace and Heaven fit in, because they both are mentioned in the New Testament?
Heaven is that part of the spirit realm where the Throne of God is, where Jesus Christ is, where the holy angels are, and where our new born-again nature is.
I think our spirit and soul go to Heaven when we die, if we are abiding in Christ, but there is not much scriptural support for this. In any case, we go to be with the Lord, and He is in Heaven, and so we will leave it at that. But much of our thinking about Heaven is not found in the Scriptures and is largely mythological.
Heaven is a place of rest, apparently, where we wait for the Lord to return to earth and establish His righteous Kingdom, fulfilling that which was spoken by the Hebrew Prophets.
Where does the grace of imputation fit in (there are many other forms of grace found in the New Testament). Where does the grace of forgiveness fit in the plan of salvation?
The grace of forgiveness does away with the guilt of our past sins, leaving us without condemnation in the sight of God.
So far so good.
But—and here is where the massive error in Christian thinking enters. The moment we repent, are baptized in water, and know our sins have been forgiven, we then are to follow the Holy Spirit each day in the work of changing us into the moral image of Jesus Christ.
Imputed righteousness is not a new way in which God relates to man. Imputed righteousness is the Divine provision designed to get us started in the program of transformation of our personality.
We enter the Kingdom of God each day as we turn away from our sinful nature, through the Lord’s help, and overcome the problems of that day.
If we do not turn away from our sinful nature but are overcome by the problems of the day such that our fallen nature exercises its lust, spite, anger, drunkenness, lying, slandering, gossiping, profane, filthy speaking, then we are not entering the Kingdom of God.
Furthermore, the blood is not cleansing us. The blood of Christ cleanses us only as we walk in the light of God’s Presence, having fellowship with the Father. The blood of Jesus Christ does not keep on cleansing us when we are living according to our sinful nature. This is not scriptural.
As I stated previously, the way of salvation, of transformation through Jesus Christ, has always been in the New Testament. But there come seasons of refreshing from the Lord, windows of opportunity we might say, when Christ is ready to bring us to a new level in the Kingdom of God. We are entering one such season right now.
A Window of Opportunity
No, the promises of the righteous Kingdom of God are not fulfilled in us merely on the basis of ascribed righteousness. There is much, much more to come. In the day in which we are living the Spirit of God is showing us how to move toward the actual possession of that which has been declared in God’s Word.
We are moving from the legal imputation of righteousness to the actual righteousness of the members of the Kingdom of God, the righteousness that reveals itself in a transformed character.
Let’s take a look at some passages and see if the Word promises us that we will enter actual righteousness, actual transformation of personality, before Christ has finished saving us.
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27,28—NIV)
Think about the above. To those who are looking for Jesus He will appear, bringing salvation. Thus we see that a major part of our salvation will come in the future, and the implication is that the salvation will consist of the removing of our sins.
I do not think this is speaking of the historic second coming of Christ to the world, because in His second coming “every eye shall see Him. Rather, the above sounds more like what Christ said to His disciples:
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:21-23—NIV)
I believe the Lord Jesus is coming to His people today in order to give them total victory over sin. This is not His appearing to the world, but His appearing to His disciples to prepare them to be revealed together with Him when He returns in His historic second coming.
There are several passages in the new Testament that refer to the coming of salvation in the last days.
Who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5—NIV)
We are being kept through faith until the salvation comes that shall be revealed in the last time.
Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:14—NIV)
We have the Holy Spirit as a deposit that guarantees our redemption when the time comes. A great part of our redemption—perhaps the major part—is the filling of our body with the eternal life of the Holy Spirit.
Our body shall be filled with the eternal life of the Holy Spirit after our body has been raised from the dead, provided we have sown to the Holy Spirit during the days of our discipleship on the earth.
But if we have allowed the pleasures and cares of the present world to kill our spiritual life, then, when the Lord appears, we will not be able to rise to meet Him. The door shall be shut in our face. Remember the foolish virgins!
This is true whether or not we have taken the four steps of salvation.
Most of the severe warnings in the New Testament are not to the unsaved but to the Lord’s servants. We stand by faith. But we also can be removed from the olive tree if we do not abide in Christ to the end.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30—NIV)
We have been sealed by the Holy Spirit in terms of the day when our mortal body is redeemed and we are adopted as a son of God. The great hope of the Christian life is that our body will not return to dust and perish but that it shall be raised up and filled with eternal life—the very Life of God given to us through the Lord Jesus Christ.
And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. (Romans 13:11—NIV)
Salvation is past, present, and future.
- We were saved when we first received Christ as the atonement for our sins.
- We are being saved as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
- We shall be saved when the Lord appears, provided we have sought Him each day, continually abiding in Him and bringing forth His moral image in our personality.
The Kingdom of God is not in imputation but in an actual change in our personality. God is making all things new in us. When all things have been made new, then God will place us on a new earth under a new sky.
We must be changed! Salvation is change, not a state of legally ascribed righteousness in which God does not see our actual behavior but imagines that we are righteous through Christ. Legally ascribed righteousness is not a kingdom. It cannot come to earth and bring justice to the nations.
A sinful nature cannot possibly have fellowship with God and has no place in Heaven or upon the earth. The blood cleanses us from sin, but only as we continue to walk in the light of God’s will. Otherwise we are living a fantasy, not the Christian life as exemplified by the Apostles of the Lamb.
It is time for us American Christians to wake up! We are facing terrific problems if we do not—even the outer darkness!
We have pointed out several passages that speak of the salvation to come in the last days. The purpose of this coming salvation is to complete the work of changing us from our sinful nature into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The great types of the Old Testament portray the movement of the believer from chaos of personality all the way through to the rest of God.
It seems each season of history offers a window of opportunity through which the believer can enter and move forward into a greater experience of God.
We of today are facing one such window.
Much progress has been made since the days of the Protestant Reformation. The twentieth century has seen an emphasis on the Pentecostal experience.
My wife and I were in Bible school in the middle of the twentieth century. At that time God began to speak of what He is going to do in the days to come. The principal Bible type the Lord gave us to help our understanding is the seven feasts of the Lord. Those who have read much of my writing know well that I rely on this type a great deal.
To put it briefly, the feast of Pentecost is followed by the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles. Just as we have experienced the spiritual fulfillment of Pentecost we are to experience the spiritual fulfillments of the Blowing of trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles—the last three of the seven feasts.
The primary idea of the present essay is that the Kingdom of God is not only in forgiveness and ascribed righteousness but in solid, earthly if you will, substance. The works of Satan are to be actually destroyed, not glossed over with some kind of screen. It is a real kingdom, a real rule of God that is on the horizon.
The move from the spiritual to the physical realm is portrayed by the Blowing of Trumpets. The Blowing of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) is the New Year’s Day of the Jews, but it is the first day of the seventh month of the religious year. The fact that the Blowing of Trumpets is the first day of the seventh month of the religious year signifies that the feasts that lead up to and include Pentecost are part of a religious year. The religious year begins with Passover, the first of the seven feasts.
But the Blowing of Trumpets, although it is part of the religious year, announces the new year of kings and contracts, the year of doing business in the earth. Thus Rosh Hashanah, the Blowing of Trumpets, is celebrated as New Year’s Day, while Passover, the beginning of the religious year, is observed as the memorial of the exodus from Egypt.
The Christian Era has been characterized by a Heaven-oriented religion, as portrayed by the religious year that commenced with Passover. But now the Lord Jesus is preparing the way for His actual, physical entrance into the earth. Therefore the fifth feast, the Blowing of Trumpets, speaks of the beginning of doing business in the earth. Trumpets has to do with spiritual warfare, for the chaotic condition of our physical planet has resulted from evil spiritual forces. God cannot do business in the earth until the enemy has been overcome.
In simple terms, the Lord is standing before your personality. He is ready to enter and drive out His enemies. He wants to prepare you to descend with Him and drive Satan and all his works from the earth.
The Day of Atonement, the sixth feast, portrays your being reconciled to God through the destruction of worldliness, lust, and self-will from your personality. Of special importance is the burning out of the self-will from you so you will be instantly obedient to Christ. Otherwise you will not be raised from the dead when He returns and you will not rise to meet Him in the air.
Why not? Because until you have been delivered from worldliness, lust, and self-will you still are part of the enemy. You are not able to work with Jesus Christ in installing the Kingdom of God on the earth. It is as simple as this!
The seventh feast, Tabernacles, which follows the Day of Atonement, signifies the entering of the Father and the Son into your personality that They might make you Their house, Their chariot. This is the rest of God. In order to be qualified to be the house of God you must be changed into the moral image of Christ and you must be abiding in untroubled rest in the center of God’s will.
You can see from the above that we still have a way to go before we have entered totally into our great salvation.
In this essay we have spoken of grace, of imputed righteousness, of Heaven, of change, and of the Kingdom of God.
We also have pointed toward some of the passages that announce the coming of salvation in the closing days of the present age.
There always is a “present truth,” a freshness of God for each generation. To cling to the old, to not move forward with God, is to make one’s self subject to decay and corruption. Yesterday’s manna is not good food.
Yet we do not remove the old landmarks. We build on what has been accomplished thus far. But we do not cling to the old. We keep pressing on, pressing on, pressing on.
Today the window is opening on the realities of the Kingdom of God. Instead of just hoping by faith that some day we will be delivered from sin, we are entering such deliverance now. We are confessing our sins. We are denouncing and renouncing them. We are resisting the devil. And we are finding that the Holy Spirit is enabling us to walk in victory.
No more do we listen to the devil saying “As long as you are in the world you have to sin.”
Rather, we are reading and believing the Word instead of the Christian traditions. The Word tells us we are not debtors to our flesh to live according to its lusts and passions. The Word tells us sin shall not keep us in bondage because we no longer are under the Law of Moses but under the Divine grace that issues the virtue, wisdom, and power that are able to break every bondage in our life.
We are learning to not run ahead with our gifts attempting to deliver “a lost and dying world.” Rather we are becoming Christ-centered rather than man-centered. We are returning to the Lord to find out how He wants us to use our gifts. We are content to be His servant. We are not trying to make Christ or the Holy Spirit our servant.
We understand now that the Christian assemblies are for God’s purpose not for man’s purpose. We are intent on worshiping God and pleasing Him whether we attract many or few people.
What a window of understanding and opportunity has opened before us! The Scriptures are yielding their meaning and they all make perfect sense. We do not have to jump here and there trying to validate some manmade philosophy, such as Dispensationalism.
We are beginning to understand that the Bible is one message, one Word of God from cover to cover. The great symbols of Judaism, such as the Altar, the Lampstand, and the Booth, are yielding their spiritual significance.
We are noticing that God always has had the same goal for man—that man behave righteously, that he love mercy, and that he walk humbly with God. The difference between the covenant of the Law of Moses and the covenant of the grace of Christ is not that God no longer desires that man behave righteously, that he love mercy, and that he walk humbly with God. The difference is that now there is virtue, power, and wisdom (Divine grace) sufficient to change the most chaotic personality into the image that God has planned for man from the beginning.
We have been saved and filled with God’s Spirit. It is time now to press forward into the Kingdom of God, into real change.
God is making all things new, including you and me.
(“Grace; Heaven; Change; the Kingdom”, 3610-1)