Part 3 – Where are we going?
CHAPTER 4 – From Here to Eternity (Continued)
My Conduct Here Will Affect My Outcome in Glory
(The Relationship Between Our Present Position – Who I Am In Christ – And Our Ultimate Maturity At The Resurrection!)
What will the final goal be for the Christian who knows who he is in Christ?” is an important question that might be asked as a person gains understanding as to his position in Christ.
HOW ONE’S LIFETIME RELATES TO
ETERNITY FOR THE CHILD OF GOD
20. KNOW THAT CIRCUMSTANCES ARE WORKING FOR GOOD – Romans 8:28‑30,
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified.
The principle is brought out that present experiences relate to the future glory which the child of God will enjoy throughout eternity, seen in this panoramic view of God’s eternal program (or, God’s overview) from the past to the future as it relates to each believer. We are encouraged to regard all things that enter into our life experience as being consistent with God’s eternal design for us and as being consistent with the goodness of God. The ones who can know that such a program is applied to them are those who love God and are the called according to His purpose. The reason such a person can know that all things are working together for good is that the fact is based on the truths that relate to the believer’s position in Christ. (See 50 Marvelous Facts of Salvation, Ch. 3.)
21. SUBMIT TO GOD, FOR GOD IS SOVEREIGN –Romans 11:33-36,
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counselor? Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Whom be glory forever. Amen.
The exclamation, O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God, is a response to the case presented in the Scriptures immediately preceding this verse that explains that Israel’s present unbelief, nationally, is the opportunity for the Gentiles to be brought to belief. Because of Israel’s unbelief, God is able to have mercy on both Jew and Gentile. Following the exclamation are three questions in verses 34 and 35, which questions are incapable of receiving a definite answer. The questions are asked to show that God acts sovereignly. Then the Scripture states, For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things. We are assured in this Scripture that all things (including the way life works out for the individual believer) are derived from God, are brought to pass by God, and are to ultimately bring glory to God. Therefore, the child of God should understand that his life will be blessed as he submits to God’s rule in his own life.
22. PRESENT MOTIVES FOR SERVICE WILL BE EVALUATED AT THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST – Romans 14:7-12,
(See also BEMA JUDGMENT, No.8, and JUDGMENT FOR BELIEVERS, No.17.)
For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ… For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So, then, every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
This passage teaches the fact that the child of God does not live his life in isolation from God, nor is his death in isolation. Instead, the believer’s life, as well as his death, is under Christ’s lordship. Lordship requires accountability, and because each believer shall give account for his own life and actions, there is no room for anyone to sit in judgment over another believer.
The relationship that our present experiences have to our future eternal state are not explained in this passage, as they are in No. 8 above, but the fact of our being accountable is emphasized here in keeping with that principle.
Because each believer will give account of himself at the judgment seat of Christ, the believer needs to determine the manner in which he will live his lifetime so as not to be ashamed in the presence of Christ. When a person has such a viewpoint, he will be less likely to be judgmental of others.
23. LIVE IN VIEW OF GOD’S ETERNAL PURPOSE – Ephesians 1:10,
That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him.
We are given a glimpse in this passage of God’s eternal purpose for everything, including the glory to God which results from believers’ lives, which lives are to be brought together into harmony with who Christ is in His final glory, when all of time has completed its course. All things refers to the significance of what has taken place in time in God’s creation that has purpose, merit, value, and worth. All things are to be in unity (in one), centered in Christ. Time relates to eternity in that the all things that take place in time will have their terminus in eternity.
24. BEING SEATED IN THE HEAVENLIES NOW RESULTS IN THE ETERNAL DISPLAY OF GOD’S RICHES IN US – Ephesians 2:5-7,
Even when we were dead in sins, hath made us alive together with Christ (by grace ye are saved),
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
We are given another glimpse of God’s purpose of joining the believer with Christ in heavenly places in the present time because of God’s ultimate goal. The believer in Christ has been co-resurrected and co-ascended with Christ, so that in eternity to come God will put on display the superlative riches of His grace. Today the believer is the recipient of God’s kindness through Christ Jesus, and all that has been accomplished in the believer through that kindness will in some way be an inherent part of the eternal display of God’s riches.
25. GOD’S PURPOSE IN THE CHURCH TRANSCENDS ALL TIME – Ephesians 3:9-11,
And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages hath been hidden in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ, To the intent that now, unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
God has designed that the principalities and powers in heavenly places (undoubtedly a reference to angelic beings) are observing the mighty work of God in uniting in Christ all who are placed into the church, the body of Christ, upon belief in Christ. This making known of the mystery of the fellowship to angelic beings is in keeping with the eternal purpose of God, both in eternity past and eternity future, which is centered and fulfilled in the person and work of Christ. Therefore, the experiences of the individual child of God throughout one’s entire lifetime are seen to be included in the broader scope of God’s purpose which transcends all of time.
Next Week: Continuing through Fifty-Three Scripture Passages
Copyright © 1996 A. Ward Brandenstein
Used with permission.
A. Ward Brandenstein
Pastor Ward earned an M.A. in Guidance and Counselling from Eastern Michigan University after taking special courses in psychology at Wayne State University, and earned a Bachelor of Theology (Th.B.) from Baptist Bible College and Seminary with Greek and Hebrew studies, and earned a diploma from Philadelphia Bible Institute (now Cairn U.), including New Testament Greek studies. His knowledge of the Bible and close walk with God are appreciated by all who know him and have sat under his teaching. Pastor Brandenstein and his wife Rose Ann reside in California, teaching college level singles and married couples, young professionals, and retired pastors and missionaries.