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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Going to the Father, #4
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. (II Corinthians 6:16,17)
Can you see that the goal expressed here is not eternal residence in Heaven but our becoming the house of God? Can you see also that the way to becoming the house of God is not merely a profession of belief but withdrawal from the sin and uncleanness of the world?
The goal of the New Testament saint is union with the Father through Christ. The way of the New Testament saint is that of a disciplined walk in the Spirit of God: denying one's self, taking up one's cross, and following Christ each day.
The wrong goal and 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 (John 17:3). They are missing the plan of redemption while they are waiting to go to Paradise.
That Heaven is the eternal home of the saint, and that the way to get there consists primarily of a mental and verbal assent to the fact of the atonement, are well-intentioned, traditional misconceptions preached in many Christian assemblings. Believers are added to the churches, souls are saved and blessed, sick bodies are healed, and other blessings follow. But the believers remain babies (if they are not aborted altogether) because they are pursuing an unscriptural goal in an unscriptural manner.
How much more would be accomplished in the Kingdom of God if we would follow the Scriptures instead of our traditions!
Let us return to our original thought. Jesus was leaving the earth to go to His Father. Christ was returning to the fullness of the Presence of God in Heaven, there to wait until His enemies have been made His footstool.
Our goal as victorious saints is to enter that rest in God through Christ, whether we are on the earth or in Heaven. We too are waiting until Christ's enemies have become His footstool. When He returns to earth to receive His inheritance we shall return with Him. We shall be revealed in glory together with Him.
Our goal is the fullness of the Presence of God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Directing our efforts toward the correct goal will change our daily behavior.
The doctrine of "making Heaven our home" may result in some changes in our moral behavior (although the current overemphasis on "grace" may prevent even this modest transformation from taking place). The doctrine of going to the Father, of living in the Presence of the Father, creates total change in all we are and do.
We cannot come into union with God in our old nature, our old ways. Neither can we enter the new Jerusalem in our old nature. Since going to Heaven is far off in the future (we trust), and since the relationship of our present personality to the personality we will have in Heaven is not clear, we may delay making a determined effort to walk in the Spirit in the hope we will enter the new Jerusalem anyway through "grace."
To be continued.