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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Going to the Father, #3
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)
Notice the above.
The Greek word translated abode, in John 14:23, is translated mansions, in John 14:2.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (John 15:4)
The verb translated abide, in John 15:4, is of the same root as the noun translated mansions, in John 14:2.
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)
If we explain John 14:2 in the context of the passages quoted above, we can see that Christ is not leaving the earth in order to prepare a place for us in Heaven. He is leaving to prepare a place for us in Himself; for He, and He alone, is the Father's House.
There is a 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 traditional understanding of salvation is that we are trying to live in such a manner we will be eligible to go to Heaven when we die, and that if we profess faith in Christ we will be admitted to Heaven. The hope of eternal residence in Heaven has blessed the believers throughout the centuries of the Christian Era.
Is there a Paradise in the spirit realm to which the righteous go when they die? Yes there is, according to our understanding. What it will be like to live in the spirit Paradise we do not know, for the Scriptures do not have much to say about this phase of our life. The Scriptures stress the return of the Lord and the resurrection from the dead. Nevertheless, we are persuaded with Paul that to depart and be with the Lord is better than life on earth.
We are not seeking to remove the hope of rest and peace for the saint after he leaves this valley of pain and dread. Yet, because the coming of the Lord is so near, it is of practical importance that the believers understand we are to be pressing toward Christ Himself, not merely toward a world without pain.
There are two fundamental misconceptions in the traditional Christian understanding of salvation: (1) the goal of redemption is eternal residence in Heaven, in the spirit Paradise; and (2) salvation is a "ticket" to Paradise rather than what it is in actuality—the wisdom and power to become free from the way of sin and death and to enter the way of eternal life, the way of the Spirit of God.
To be continued.