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
41. LIVING BY FAITH JOINS US TO THE FAITHFUL ONES OF PREVIOUS AGES -Hebrews 11:39,40,
And these all, having received witness through faith, received not the promise, God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
God in His wisdom withheld the fulfillment of His promises to earlier generations until such time as all whom He has in mind to share in the blessings afforded through His promised blessings have been born, lived, and have joined in with those of previous generations in the realized blessings. Therefore, those of former times were sustained by their faith, and continued confident without seeing the promises fulfilled during their earthly sojourn. We, too, can have that same perspective, since many of God’s promises are for eternity to come, not necessarily for our present lifetime. Therefore, the accumulation of faithful living during our lifetime will be rewarded to us as believers at the resurrection.
42. RUNNING THE “RACE” WITH PATIENCE AS WE LOOK TO CHRIST – Hebrews 12:1,2,
Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The child of God is admonished to run the present race with patience, fixing his eyes on Jesus who endured the cross and is now seated in the heavenly places. The believer should keep in mind that fact that many of the faithful believers of previous generations completed their course through life in suffering, and some in violent death, without losing their assurance in God and in His faithfulness in bringing to pass all that He promised, even though they would not see it in their lifetime. With that perspective, the believer today is able to run patiently, without doubting, knowing that God will certainly bring to pass everything He has promised, and will do so in His right time.
43. OBEYING THE UNDERSHEPHERDS – Hebrews 13:17,
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you. (Cf. verse 7.)
Obedience is encouraged for the believer in his relationship to those who have the rule over him in spiritual matters. This obedience is for the believer’s benefit, in that there is God’s administration over the relationship the believer has to the local church.
Those who have the rule in the local church have been assigned a stewardship of oversight, with a final accountability that they must give to Christ when they stand before him. This accountability of the overseers was in view by the Apostle Peter in I Peter 5:2,4, when he said,
Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight of it And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
Thus, the under shepherds who are to feed the flock of God, and who are also to take the oversight, are the ones in view in Hebrews 13:17, as those to whom the child of God is to obey and to submit.
44. BUILDING UP ONE’S SELF SPIRITUALLY, IN RELIANCE UPON THE HOLY SPIRIT – Jude 20,21,
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Jude admonishes believers in regard to the individual’s need to build up one’s self spiritually, in reliance upon the Holy Spirit. Thus, the union of the individual’s spiritual discipline and the Holy Spirit’s enablement will provide the ability for the believer to be kept in Christ’s love!
Eternal life is the believer’s present reality, but will be realized in its fullest sense at Christ’s return. The outcome of the union of the individual’s spiritual discipline and the Holy Spirit’s enablement will result in the full display of God’s mercy when eternal life is realized in its fullest and absolute sense at Christ’s appearing.
45. PRAISING GOD FOR HIS KEEPING POWER – Jude 24,25,
Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God, our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
In this doxology, Jude reminds the believers that God is the One Who can preserve the believer through the present experiences of life, with the eventual superlative joy of the believer’s standing faultless in the presence of the glory of God at the resurrection. This truth is the basis of Jude’s doxology, as well as being the basis of the attribution of praise to God by all believers in the day of Christ’s appearing.
46. DOING GOD’S WILL NOW AND ETERNALLY – I John 2:17,
And the world passeth away, and the lust of it; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.
There is a continuum of life for the child of God. It is the eternal reality of doing God’s will both now and eternally, as opposed to doing one’s self-will, which self-will is the basis of the love of the world and the fulfilling of its lusts. (See verses 16 and 17.)
47. CONTINUING IN THE SON AND FATHER – I John 2:24,25,
Let that, therefore, abide in you which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life.
Because eternal life does not change, the believer can continue to count on the eternal life promised by God to continue throughout time and eternity. It is both a present and future reality. (See I John 2:28, next, concerning abide.)
48. ABIDING IN CHRIST – I John 2:28,
And now, little children, abide in Him, that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
The totality of the believer’s present responsibility is centered on this one admonition to abide in Him. When abiding in Christ is maintained, all other aspects of the believer’s conduct and service will be in proper relationship and in balance. Because the believer abides in Christ, there will be confidence and nothing shameful when the believer meets Christ at His coming!
49. PURIFYING OURSELVES WITH THE HOPE OF CHRIST’S COMING – I John 3:2,3,
Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure.
All of us as believers shall be in Christ’s likeness at His coming, in that the believer’s resurrected body will be a spiritual body (I Cor. 15:44), with the ability to be caught up with Christ (I Thess. 4:17). Being like Him includes our identification or unity with Him (Heb. 2:11‑13), which will include our bodily likeness, for the first time at the resurrection – not so much that we will look like Christ in our physical features, but will be like Him as it relates to the changes that come – no more mortality, sickness, infirmities, etc., in a glorified body. In addition, we shall be like Him as heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17).
Thus, our present life is a necessary precedent to our eternal condition, in which present life we are advised to purify ourselves with the hope of Christ’s coming!
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.