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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Going to the Father
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. (John 17:11)
There is an important difference between the goal of going to Heaven to live in a mansion, and working with the Holy Spirit as He prepares a place in Jesus for us and a place in us for Jesus and the Father. Our growth to spiritual maturity may be affected by which of the two goals we choose. The wrong goal and the wrong way will cause practical mistakes in the Christian life. A multitude of believers are holding their "ticket to heaven" while they continue to live in the flesh, instead of pressing forward each day to union with the Father through Christ, which is eternal life.
The Lord Jesus was returning to the Father in order to prepare a place in the Father for the saints. It is important to recognize that the Lord stressed that He was returning to the Father, not to Heaven as to a place.
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father, not to Heaven but to the Father, except through Him.
We know from other passages of the Scripture that the Lord Jesus indeed ascended to Heaven and is waiting there at the Father's right hand until His enemies become His footstool. However, in the passage under discussion He is emphasizing going to the Father rather than going to Heaven.
If one of our friends stated he was going to England we would wish him well. He could be going for any number of reasons—business, pleasure, to visit relatives, to buy a special product, or for some other purpose.
But if he said he was going to take a to see the Queen, that he came originally from England, from the royal family itself, and the Queen was his mother, then this would be a different matter.
The saints look forward with joy to being released from the physical body and entering the spirit Paradise. Such joy is understandable when we compare the pain, dread, and unrest of the world with the peace and beauty of the spirit realm where we will be reunited with relatives and friends.
But the more Christ grows in us the more we become aware that our Christian discipleship is not leading us primarily toward Heaven. Rather, our goal is rest in the Father through Christ. There is a practical difference between viewing Heaven as our goal and the Father as our goal.
Christ kept speaking of going to the Father, not of going to Heaven.
What is the goal of the Christian life?
What was Paul's goal?
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (II Corinthians 5:8)
"To be present with the Lord."
The Apostles of the Lamb had little to say about going to Heaven as to a place. In fact, our Lord didn't either, according to the Gospel accounts. This is true also of the Old Testament writings. In them, Heaven never is presented as the goal of redemption.
To be continued.