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The Christian salvation is not a preserving of what we are but a changing of what we are. We are to be transformed, and the process of change often is painful. God has a purpose in our pain. If we are not transformed we cannot possibly enter the Kingdom of God, for there is neither sin nor self-seeking in the Kingdom.
Following and obeying the Holy Spirit as He leads us through hardship and tribulation brings down our old nature and raises up a new creation. A transformation takes place and we are changed into the image of the Son of God.
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:18)
In the third chapter of II Corinthians, Paul discusses the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant. The old covenant was written on tables of stone. The new covenant is written on the tables of the heart.
What we term the “New Testament” is not actually the new covenant. Rather, it is a set of inspired writings written by men in whose hearts the new covenant was being engraved; or, more accurately, men who themselves were becoming the new covenant.
The new covenant is God’s laws put in our minds and written in our hearts by the Spirit of God. If we are to have the Spirit of God write God’s laws in our minds and hearts we first must adhere carefully to the written words of Christ and His Apostles.
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. (Romans 6:17)
If we obey the written words to the best of our ability, asking the Lord to give us wisdom and strength, then the Spirit will form Christ in us. Christ is the Word made flesh. The saint is the flesh being made the Word of God.
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:10)
Having Christ formed in us is the same as having the Word of God written in our minds and hearts. As Christ is formed in us the new covenant is formed in us. The result of having Christ formed in us is that we begin to keep the laws of God because of the new nature that is being created in us.
Because of Calvary there no longer is a veil between us and the Glory of God. We are being permitted to behold the Divine Glory. It is shining in our heart as Christ is being formed in us. The saint is a mirror that reflects Christ’s Glory.
As we see the glory in ourselves and in other people we are changed, continually passing from a lesser glory to a greater glory. This eternal change is being wrought by the Spirit of the Lord.
The Christian salvation basically is a change, a complete transformation of what we are.
There are at least two ways of thinking about salvation. One way is to view salvation as a preservation of what we are and what we hold dear. The other way is to view salvation as a death and resurrection of what we are and what we hold dear.
The former view is more popular than the latter. No doubt it is the concept that salvation is a preservation of what we are that has given rise to the tradition of going to Heaven to enjoy life there. Our hope is that some day we will be free of afflictions and troubles and go to a land where all is peace and joy. We desire to be saved in the sense of being preserved.
There indeed is a paradise to look forward to. However, the Christian salvation is not a preserving of what we are but a changing of what we are. We are being “changed” into the image of the Lord. It is this total transformation of all that we are, including even our body, that is the new covenant God is making with His people, both Jewish and Gentile.
He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. (John 12:25)
Salvation is not a saving of what we are, it is a saving of us from what we are.
We are to be changed. We are to be transformed, and the process of change often is painful. But apart from our transformation there is no new covenant. The new covenant has to do with change—radical change.
We do not have to change ourselves, although we do have to do what the New Testament teaches us. We are required to put off the old man with his deeds and to put on the new man who is being created in Christ’s image. We have to choose to do the Lord’s will each day, with the Spirit’s help. But the actual change is performed by the Spirit of God. This is how the new covenant operates.
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (II Corinthians 4:6)
God has placed within our heart a light—the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God. One day the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the water covers the sea. But today the knowledge of the glory is in the heart of the individual who has been born again. It is the face of Christ within us. As we gain glimpses of that glory we are transformed—little by little, command upon command, rule upon rule.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (II Corinthians 4:7)
Here is the problem as far as the natural man is concerned. We possess the Glory of Christ but we are in an “earthen vessel.” Because we are in an earthen vessel we are subject to weakness and frustration.
We much prefer to be in control of what is going on in our lives. But God cannot work His powerful works of redemption while we are in control. Therefore we continually are being brought into a state of helplessness. The process of rendering us helpless is not always enjoyable, but neither is it intensely painful if we seek to work with the Spirit instead of against Him.
God deliberately has placed us in bodies of clay—animal bodies that keep us humble and weak so God’s power may predominate. Even with this humbling, our Christian journey is filled with trouble so the wisdom and power working in us may be of God and not of us. Salvation is of the Lord and He will not give His glory to another.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; (II Corinthians 4:8,9)
Troubled! Perplexed! Persecuted! Cast down!
The true saint finds that his faith and trust are being challenged every day of his sojourn on the earth. Sometimes he despairs even of life. But if he does not turn away from the Lord, the Lord always provides a solution for every distress. The older saints know this well.
It may be true that the difference between victory and defeat in the Christian life depends upon the manner in which we respond to tribulation and suffering. If we perceive tribulation and suffering as being from the devil, an unnecessary evil we must not be allowed to experience, we may miss God’s will for our life.
God often places the believer in a “prison” of circumstances. The saint may be restricted for long periods of time—perhaps decades. It is in such prisons that our transformation into Christ’s image takes place.
If we fret and complain, hoping to find some way to escape the unpleasantness, we finally will be tempted to break God’s laws; for in order to escape God’s prisons we must break God’s laws.
It has become fashionable today to teach the Lord’s people that it is not God’s will for them to suffer, that being children of God they should be enjoying the best the world has to offer. What is the motive for such unscriptural teaching? It is difficult to conceive of a doctrine more opposed to the concept of transformation.
There is another way to view our distress, and that is that our pain is the means the Lord is using to reveal His glory within us.
We are not teaching by this that we should welcome every affliction and not pray diligently to the Lord for deliverance, not exercise faith, not believe for release. We should and must keep on pressing toward total victory in Jesus. The righteous individual suffers many afflictions but the Lord shall deliver him out of them all and bring him into abundant joy.
We enter the Kingdom of God through much tribulation. The lives of the men and women of God of all ages teach us that the Lord’s people often are sheep for the slaughter. Those who live a godly life in Christ shall suffer persecution.
But God has a purpose in our pain. He is carving us into the image of His Son. We are being changed. The distressing experiences are working for our good. It is through our weakness that the Life of Jesus is being revealed in us, and it is by holding fast to that eternal Life that we are brought into the image of the Son of God.
If we are not transformed we cannot possibly enter the Kingdom of God, for there is neither sin nor self-seeking in the Kingdom of God. We must be changed. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit in us.
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (II Corinthians 4:10)
Paul sought to share Christ’s sufferings, to be changed into the death of Jesus. What is the death of Jesus? Trouble, perplexity, persecution, being casting down.
Sometimes we Christians think about the tribulations of the Apostles and consider that we never could endure such hardships. The truth is, the troubles we ourselves are experiencing this minute are the sort of problems to which Paul was referring. We miss the transforming work of God because we perceive our own cross as being a needless harassment to us, or to God’s work, while we regard the sufferings Paul described as being a Divine intervention that resulted in the revealing of Christ.
Our own problems will result in the revealing of the Life of Christ if we will allow the Lord to use them in that manner.
Right now we have trouble. Right now we are perplexed. Right now people may be viewing our attempts to do good as coming from evil motives. Right now we perhaps are being cast down by pressures that nearly are unbearable—that are unbearable except for the Life of Jesus that keeps on enabling us to be victorious even though the victory may be only for one moment at a time.
What is taking place as a result of our bearing about in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus? Change. Change in us and change in those who are being touched by the Divine Life that is lifting us up. This is how we become the new covenant of God, not only in our own relationship to the Lord but also in bringing others into the same transforming relationship. Here is the image of God and here is fruitfulness—two of the four elements of the Divine decree (Genesis 1:26-28).
For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (II Corinthians 4:11)
The purpose of the transforming work of the new covenant is to reveal the glory of the Life of Christ. In what mirror can we look and behold the glory of the Lord? In the mirror of the saint as the Life of Jesus keeps on enabling him to rise above trouble, perplexity, persecution, heavy burdens, and every other form of death that is pressing him into the Lord.
All true new-covenant ministry flows from the cross. Our words do not transform people. It is the eternal Life of Jesus that keeps on raising us up from death that transforms those to whom we are ministering. It is not our words but the Presence of God that brings Divine Life to people.
The glory being revealed through our death changes us and those who hear us.
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inner man is renewed day by day. (II Corinthians 4:16)
Our outward life is our flesh and soul, the life of the natural man. It is our personality—that which we are until the Life of Christ is formed in us.
It may be true that most Christian people almost completely misunderstand the Divine redemption. They are under the impression Christ died in order to forgive what they are and bring them to Heaven to live forever in the paradise of God. They perceive the tribulations of this life as unnecessary harassments sent by the devil out of spite. They conceive of belief in Christ as a ticket to a better life in Heaven (and, according to contemporary preaching, a more prosperous life on earth in the present hour).
But the Divine redemption is not the forgiving and preserving of what we are. Redemption is not a forgiving of our behavior and a transferring of our personality to the spiritual paradise.
Redemption is the perishing of what we are and the forming of a new creation. It is true also that redemption is not the removing of the new creation from the earth. We go to Heaven when we die only because our Life, Christ, is in Heaven. When our Life returns to the earth, then we also will return to the earth. Our land of promise is the earth.
The Divine redemption is not a transfer from earth to Heaven. What would that accomplish? What good would that do us or anyone else? Rather the Divine redemption is a transformation of what we are. If we have not been transformed we have not been redeemed whether or not we escape Hell when we die.
Our outward man, our soul and body, “perishes” every day because of trouble, perplexity, persecution, and heavy burdens. Our circumstances continually are frustrating and grieving us, resulting (if we hold steady in prayer and faith) in the death and resurrection of our ambitions, motives, thoughts, and everything else that moves and guides a human being.
Why are pain, bewilderment, and imprisonment necessary? They are necessary because apart from them our original personality continues to govern our behavior.
After we receive Christ a new personality begins to enter us, a personality born from above. Its ambitions, motives, and thoughts are contrary to those of our old nature. The new man is Christ in us. He is the Kingdom of God. In order for Him to grow, our old nature must be struck down continually.
Our old nature will fight furiously for its life, but it must be killed for it cannot inherit the kingdom of God. It is the new man who is blessed of God. If we will allow the Lord to crucify our old nature, the Lord will renew and bless our new nature each day. This is how we grow in Christ, how Christ grows in us. This is the Kingdom of God—the transforming of our inner man into the image of the glory of the Lord.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (II Corinthians 4:17)
Here is a direct statement of the relationship between our tribulations in this world and the glorious inheritance that is our goal. Our momentary, light affliction is achieving for us a state of joy beyond all human comprehension.
Notice the expression, “eternal weight of glory.” A weight of glory. What is this weight of glory?
Since the following verses (Chapter Five) discuss our body from Heaven, we conclude that the weight of glory is a body of glory fashioned from the substance of eternal, incorruptible resurrection life.
As we are being transformed upon the earth, a body corresponding to our transformed personality is being prepared in Heaven.
Every death and resurrection we experience in Christ is adding “weight” to our body being prepared in Heaven. We are experiencing the fashioning of our own resurrection from the dead. Our body in Heaven is being transformed as we experience the sufferings and the resurrection power of Christ.
The bodies of people on the earth often do not fit their true natures. It is not uncommon to find a giant of a man in a small body, a weak individual in a powerful body, an ugly woman in a beautiful body.
But this will not be the case in the resurrection from the dead. At that time, each person will receive a body that reveals what he has become through Christ. Here is the perfect justice of God. It is entirely fitting that our resurrection body should be fashioned in Heaven as our inner man is being renewed upon the earth.
It is folly to attempt to avoid all suffering and imprisonment while at the same time hoping to receive glory when we “get to Heaven.” If we are not transformed by the Life of Jesus we will be naked in the Day of the Lord. It is now that our inheritance is being fashioned. We will lose our inheritance if we wait to go to Heaven in order for the work of transformation to take place.
For we know 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. (II Corinthians 5:1)
Our mortal body will die physically. It will fall into the ground and wait for the hour of the resurrection from the dead. When it is time for the body to be raised, its elements will flow together. It will be made alive, and our soul and spirit will reenter it.
Then we shall be judged (if we have not been judged beforehand). If our transformation has been total we will be clothed with a body of glory that corresponds to our renewed inner man.
If there are questionable areas concerning our behavior in the world we will be dealt with accordingly.
Here is one of the fallacies of the doctrine of the pre-tribulation “rapture.” The concept of the rapture implies that grace will operate at the time of the resurrection such that the untransformed believer will receive a body of glory anyway, whether or not he has been faithful in overcoming the challenges that have been presented to him.
We know of no passage of Scripture that teaches grace will operate at the time of the resurrection. Grace operates now as God forgives us and enables us to become a new creation in Christ. But all the Scriptural passages of which we are aware teach clearly that when Jesus comes He will reward each one of us according to our works.
And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. (Revelation 2:23)
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (Revelation 22:12)
A Kingdom law is involved here. It is that we shall reap whatever we sow. The blood of Jesus gives us an opportunity to be forgiven and to begin to sow to the Spirit of God. But it is not true that the Divine forgiveness will operate in the Day of Resurrection such that we do not reap what we sow. Divine grace operates now, not in the Day of Resurrection.
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:8)
Another fallacy of the concept of the “rapture” is that we all shall receive glorified bodies and after that stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. We shall be changed into incorruptible life, rise to meet the Lord in the air, and after that be judged. How can that be? If the glorified body is our reward, if the eternal weight of glory is given to us in terms of what is found when we are judged, how is it we can receive the reward before we are judged?
Is it true that God will clothe an untransformed believer with an all-powerful body like that of the Lord Jesus Christ, and after that judge him? What if the judgment reveals he has disobeyed the Lord in many areas? Does the Scripture teach he will be clothed in glory in spite of his laziness and be forever with Jesus as one of the ruling saints? Is this what the Lord and His Apostles taught? Or is it not true, rather, that our traditional teachings concerning Divine grace have made Paul’s doctrine a basis for unclean, rebellious behavior?
The perishing of our outward man and the renewing of our inner man are accomplished by the work of Divine judgment. If the power of the rule of our outward man has been overthrown, and our new inner man is ruling, then God’s judgment has done its work. When Jesus returns, there will be those who immediately are glorified and from then on are always with the Lord. There is no area of their personality in which the sin and rebellion have not been confessed and renounced.
Spiritually they have died and been raised again while still in the physical body. Their sentence is to be in and with the Lord Jesus forever and to receive a body of such surpassing glory that the sun by comparison is a flickering candle. The Father and the Son already are in restful union with them while they yet are alive on the earth.
Our heavenly body is “an house not made with hands” (II Corinthians 5:1). Our new body is created as a spiritual counterpart of the death and resurrection taking place in us today. What is being sown to death on the earth is being raised in Heaven before the Throne of God. This is occurring now.
When we overcome trouble through the grace of God in Christ, a part of our soulish life dies and a corresponding spiritual element is raised up in the heavens. When Christ works in the midst of our perplexities, our soulish confidence and abilities die and the Life of Christ is added to our spiritual house in the heavenlies.
When the Spirit of the Lord strengthens us during persecution, power and breadth of spirit are added to us in the spirit realm. When the resurrection life of Christ raises us up in spite of prolonged imprisonment and sometimes great pressure, a crown of life is added to our body in the heavens.
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: (II Corinthians 5:2)
The last act of redemption, the conquering of the last enemy, is the raising of our physical body from the dead and the clothing of it with eternal life. The resurrection of our mortal body is the climax of the Divine redemption in Christ.
The clothing of our resurrected body with the house fashioned as the heavenly counterpart of our earthly struggles is an important part of our inheritance, of the reward the Lord Jesus will give us at His appearing.
Having received our heavenly body, we now have been transformed completely. We are a new creation. All the old has passed away. Everything we are has been made new and is of God. This is our reconciliation to God. This is the marriage of the Lamb.
If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. (II Corinthians 5:3)
Under what conditions will a Christian be found naked? He will be found naked if he has preserved his original personality. If he has not undergone the processes of death and resurrection in this world, he has no house in the heavens. When he is raised he will not be clothed with righteousness but will be spiritually 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. (II Corinthians 5:4)
The victorious saint groans in his spirit, waiting for the day in which he will be set free. Dying and going to the spirit paradise is a welcome thought. But of greater consequence is the condition in which he will find himself in the Day of Resurrection.
He is longing for release from the death-doomed body in which he now is imprisoned. He is hoping for a body like that of Jesus in which he will be free to serve the Lord without trouble, without perplexity, without persecution, without heavy burdens. Today he is in the prison of the mortal body. In the day to come he will be free to move about the creation, performing the Lord’s will in love, joy, peace, and glory.
“Mortality” is to be “swallowed up of life.”
We find the same concept in the “resurrection chapter”:
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (I Corinthians 15:35)
Our flesh and bone body will be raised from the ground. Then our body will be clothed with our body from Heaven. Our corruptible body will put on the incorruption of our house from Heaven. The glorifying of the resurrected flesh and bones with the house from Heaven marks the fullness of our redemption, our total transformation into the image of Christ.
Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest [pledge; guarantee] of the Spirit. (II Corinthians 5:5)
We are being “wrought” (fashioned) for the “selfsame thing,” that is, for being “swallowed up of life”. Our redemption is being prepared in us today. In the present hour we have the Spirit of God as a guarantee that God indeed will redeem our mortal body by clothing it with a heavenly body formed from the substance of resurrection life. God has sealed us to the Day in which we shall be like the Lord Jesus and see him as He is.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (I John 3:2)
The above verse has been used to “prove” that we suddenly will be transformed into spiritual giants when the Lord comes. But the context of I John 3:2 does not support this interpretation; neither do the exhortations of the Apostle Paul.
The spiritual change is taking place now—in this world. Only our body will be changed in the Day of the Lord. It is not possible that our soulish personality can die and a new spiritual nature be formed within us in a moment. Our body can and will be transformed in a moment, but our spiritual personality cannot be transformed in a moment. We go from glory to glory while beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord. This is what the Scripture teaches (II Corinthians 3:18).
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. (II Corinthians 5:10)
Here is the perfect wisdom and justice of God. Imputed (ascribed) righteousness is not operating here. Rather, it is the Kingdom law of sowing and reaping that is in effect.
The idea of the term “appear” is that of being revealed, being made manifest. It does not mean we will be presented before the Judgment Seat but that we will be revealed before the Judgment Seat. Imputed righteousness is not the issue. The issue is that of reaping what we have sown. It is possible that God’s mercy will decide what happens to us after we have received the consequences of our actions, but we know of no passage of Scripture that provides such assurance.
There is a Judgment Seat of Christ at which every person’s behavior in this world will be revealed. Tradition has portrayed this Judgment Seat as a kind of sports awards ceremony that takes place after athletic competition in which there are various degrees of reward. The Scriptures give a more solemn picture.
The Judgment Seat (beema) of Christ is not a sports awards ceremony but a court where accused criminals are brought. This is the way the word is used in the New Testament.
Paul still is following the line of thought he began in II Corinthians 3:18, referring to our transformation into the image of the glory of the Lord. If we have been changed in our inner man into the glory of the Lord, we will receive an outward glory that corresponds to the inner glory. As a result we will be completely in the image of the Lord.
Then Paul adds a terrifying thought. Those who have not been transformed in the inner man, but who have continued to walk in the lusts of the flesh and the ambitions of the soul, also will receive a corresponding reward.
… that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)
As we have stated, our body from Heaven will correspond to our transformed inner man so our Christ-filled inner life will be clothed with a Christ-filled outer form. How wonderful it is to contemplate that in that day we no longer will be battling a hostile, sinful body! Our body will encourage us and help us to do God’s will. It is difficult to imagine a greater reward than this, especially for those who love righteousness.
It is true also that we shall receive the evil we have practiced in our body while upon the earth. Galatians 6:8 warns that if we sow to our flesh we will of the flesh reap corruption. Imputed (ascribed) righteousness does not prevent our reaping corruption. If the righteousness assigned to us when we accepted Christ prevented our reaping the reward of evil behavior, Paul would not have spoken as he did to the churches in Galatia.
If we have practiced hate and lust in this life, then, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, where what we have done is revealed, we will reap the counterparts of hate and lust. If we have practiced selfishness, we will reap selfishness. If we have practiced drunkenness, we will receive the fruit of drunkenness. The Scriptures teach this clearly. We ignore the Kingdom law of cause and effect at our peril!
How do we reap hate, lust, selfishness, and drunkenness? We reap our behavior by the condition in which we find ourselves in the Day of Resurrection. Those who have chosen to indulge their evil personality shall be objects of contempt in the Day of the Lord. Those who live righteously and turn many others to righteousness shall shine as the stars.
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:2,3)
Our rewards for righteous behavior are not given to us when we die but in the Day of Resurrection. The spirit realm to which we go when we die is an area of waiting. But even there we shall not be able to hide what we are. Think of the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:22,23).
Every human being will be raised from the dead and stand before Christ on the earth. At this time he will receive the reward for his conduct in this life. His judgment and the consequences he reaps will be open for all to see.
The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. (Matthew 12:41)
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. (I Corinthians 4:5)
Where do grace and mercy enter? Grace and mercy enter today. Today the grace of God will forgive us and empower us to repent. Grace will change us into a new creature. Then we shall reap the reward of the new creature.
But it is not possible that we can practice wickedness during our Christian life and then, on the basis of grace, receive the reward of righteousness. We shall reap what we are sowing today. After we have reaped what we have sown, God may, in His compassion, find a place for us in His Kingdom. Christ alone will determine the fate of each person.
But of one thing we are certain. We shall stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and receive what we have practiced in our body whether it is good or evil.
While I was teaching the other night the Lord became very real to me. I was stressing the fact that in the Day of Resurrection we are going to face the consequences of the choices we have made and the manner in which we have lived our life as a Christian.
He seemed to say: “This is something My people need to know.” I can’t state the Lord was sorrowful, although that may have been part of it. Rather it was a kind of quiet insistence. Because the Lord was so real at that moment I feel certain in the days to come He will see to it that His Body worldwide will be made aware of the fact that today we are building the structure with which we shall be clothed in the Day of the Lord.
We Christians are not to live to ourselves.
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. (II Corinthians 5:15)
We are to live always and only to the Lord Jesus. He receives us in our foolishness, lust, and disobedience. He forgives our sins. But it is not possible that foolishness, lust, and disobedience can remain in His Body. Therefore, day by day, Christ changes us. He purges out from Himself, out from the members of His own Body, the foolishness, lust, and disobedience that are present when He receives us. He is transforming His Body by means of His own Divine virtue.
Such purging and renewal is redemption. This is the coming to us of the Kingdom of God. Salvation has little to do with going from earth to Heaven but a great deal to do with the coming of Heaven to earth.
The Christian redemption is the transforming of what we are, the cleansing of our personality from the love of the world, the love of sin, and the love and worship of our own self. It is not a preserving of what we are but a changing of what we are.
Are we being changed in order that we may be able to live acceptably in Heaven? No, we are being changed that we may live acceptably in Christ wherever we are.
The Divine redemption does not consist of the flight to Heaven of unchanged believers but of the entrance of the Life of God into the believers, changing their behavior so the will of God is done in the earth as it is in Heaven. The goal is fellowship with God wherever we are.
What does it mean to be “in Christ”?
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, … (II Corinthians 5:17,18)
The Christian salvation results in a new creation. That which is mortal and corruptible passes away. That which is of Christ enters in and grows to maturity. The new creation inherits all the good of the heavens and all the good of the earth. The new creation is an eternal part of God through Christ. This is the Kingdom of God.