The Daily Word of Righteousness

The New Jerusalem, #4

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1)

It is not true that the new Jerusalem is a city of sinning, self-willed people whose behavior is overlooked by the Lord because they have professed faith in the atonement. Without holiness no person ever will see the Lord. Christ has perfected forever those who are sanctified by His blood and leading a holy life, not those who, after having believed, are continuing to walk in the lusts of the flesh and the pride of the soul and spirit.

For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are [being] sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14)

One reason for the present confusion is that virtually nothing is stated in the Scriptures concerning what happens to us after we die. We have many traditions but not much Scripture pertaining to life after death. The Scriptures deal with life now and also with what will take place when the Lord Jesus returns. But what happens to us after we die and before the Day of Resurrection is not presented clearly.

People who have had visions of life after death state that we enter the spiritual world with the same personality we have on the earth. Dying does not change our personality. (Why should it?) They say also that we are instructed by saints and by angels. Sundar Singh maintains there are various levels of Heaven and Hell and that we are placed at a level that corresponds to our personality (Visions of Sadhu Sundar Singh of India, Osterhus Publishing House, Minneapolis, Minn.).

One thing appears certain: the traditional concept that at death we either go up to the highest realm of the spirit Paradise or else are thrown down to the lowest Hell, simply does not fit the whole teaching of the Scriptures. It does not fit, for example, the teaching of Jesus that some are beaten with many lashes and some with few. Neither does it agree with the system of overcoming and rewards presented in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation, unless we are prepared to accept that only the overcomers are saved and all the weaker believers are to be thrown into the Lake of Fire.

The primary meaning of being "saved" is we shall not be rejected by the Lord Jesus when he appears. Of itself being saved does not mean we shall become a spiritual giant when we die or that we shall ascend to the highest orders of the spirit realm—there to have fellowship with the saints and martyrs. If we do not gravitate to the dedicated and godly in this life, why should we after we die? We tend to want to be with people of our own level now, and we shall go to our own level when we die. The separating of our spirit from our body does not change what we ourselves are.

If we are not seeking an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus now, why would we after we die? If we do not enjoy the fiery holiness of God now, what would we do in a city where God and the Lamb are present in unconcealed glory? We would be uncomfortable indeed!

To be continued.