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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Kingdom From Heaven, #4
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17)
This is the Gospel of the Kingdom, the good news of the coming of God's throne to the earth.
It is important the believers come to understand that the goal of the Christian salvation is not to bring us to a place called "Heaven" but is rather the total transformation of what we are so we can dwell in untroubled rest in Christ in God.
Passing into the spirit realm, as into a place, is not what our heart yearns for. We are longing for love, joy, peace and perfect righteousness. The spirit realm in and of itself cannot produce love, joy, peace, or righteousness.
Sin, rebellion, and war originated in the spirit realm.
What we are longing for, perhaps without realizing it, is the "Heaven" that is in Jesus, that Jesus Himself is. The love, joy, peace, and righteousness for which we yearn are not found in the spirit realm as such. They are found only in God, and God has placed everything of value in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is Christ for which we are longing, not to die and pass into the spirit realm. Anyone who has experienced the Presence of the Lord Jesus knows well that what we are longing for is not the area of disembodied spirits, it is Christ himself. His Presence is so startlingly joyous and marvelous that we thirst no more. We have found all we have ever desired.
To understand the difference between "Heaven" and the spirit realm, between "Paradise" and the area of disembodied spirits, is helpful to our thinking.
In the day in which we live, the Christian salvation is understood to be a plan for moving us from the earth to another place. The resurrection from the dead, which we now term the "rapture," is preached as Christ's plan to remove us from the earth and take us to Heaven to live forever. This is completely false. Will the Lord's trumpet sound retreat? The purpose of the resurrection from the dead is not to enable us to escape Antichrist, or the great tribulation, or to live in the spirit realm; it is to enable us to live once more on the earth.
The resurrection from the dead is the conquering of the last enemy, not an escape from his hands while he continues to occupy the earth. If Satan is to occupy the earth, where is the work of redemption that the Scriptures promise?
The goal of the Christian redemption is not to bring us to another place, there to live forever in idleness. The goal of the Christian redemption is to transform us into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ so God in Christ can dwell in us. When God in Christ is reigning in us in untroubled splendor, then we bring Heaven wherever we go.
If Heaven is in us, why, then, is the earth not filled with love, joy, peace, and righteousness? It is because we have this treasure in earthen vessels. Why do we have this treasure in earthen vessels? So the extraordinarily great power may be of God and not of us.
To be continued.