"The Transition to Heaven" - Saturday, July 9th

"The Transition to Heaven" - Saturday, July 9th

For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven …. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord—for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore, we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 2 Corinthians 5:1-2, 5-9

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. Philippians 3:20-21

 Today's thoughts from today's verse:

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth everything was perfect, totally righteous, and without anything that was not just as it should be. With the rebellion of Adam and Eve perfection was lost and the world became a sinful and fallen place. Redemption was achieved through the death and resurrection of Christ. However, what was achieved by Christ is unfolded progressively until the final consummation when perfection is implemented fully and the restoration of creation is completed forever.

While the unfolding of redemption from the cross until the consummation of everything is a rather comprehensive and involved process, it is important to have at least a general understanding of how redemption unfolds for us on an individual basis. A great way to understand our condition prior to redemption is through understanding “death.” Ephesians says that we were dead in our trespasses and sin. The word “separation” helps us understand “death.” Physical death is the separation of the spirit from the body and spiritual death is the separation of the spirit from God.

God promised Adam and Eve that if they ate the fruit of the forbidden tree, the would surely die. So, in the moment they sinned they died. Instantly, they became spiritually dead so that they were separated from God. And then they were changed physically in such a way that they began the process of physically dying so that eventually their spirits were separated from their bodies. In Christ’s death on the cross spiritual death was overcome and in his resurrection physical death was overcome.

When we put our faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, all that he accomplished is applied to us but not all is immediately realized. Spiritual death is overcome instantly with the forgiveness of sins. We are made spiritually perfect in God’s eyes because our sins are wiped away and we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. This makes us fit (perfection) for God to dwell within us while we are here on earth and fit (perfection) for us to dwell with him in heaven someday. However, we will not go to heaven in our physical bodies because physical perfection is a future thing that happens in the resurrection of all God’s people at the consummation of everything.

We move now to today’s Scripture in the light of our rather full considerations so far. Our first passage describes our transition to heaven. As ones who have been redeemed spiritually, we will experience physical death which is the separation of our spirit from our body. We will then “be clothed with our dwelling from heaven,” which is “a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” In addition, we are told that by being “absent from the body,” we will “be at home with the Lord.” This is a wonderful description of our initial transition to Heaven that our first passage gives us.

Our second passage describes the resurrection of God’s people when Christ returns to bring about the consummation of all things. Through the resurrection we will be given new bodies fit (perfection) for Heaven. Thus, our transition to Heaven will be complete and full and we will be restored to the perfection of body and spirit that God intended us to have when he created mankind in the very beginning. The redemptive process of restoring us and ultimately all of creation to a state of perfection is truly an amazing work of our amazing God.  

Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

 Lord, wow! You truly are amazing and your gift of redemption is amazing. Thanks for allowing me to be a participant. I know that between my being made perfect in your eyes at my conversion and my arrival in Heaven someday, you are doing an amazing work of perfecting me (sanctification) in my actual experience. Help me to cooperate with you fully. I know I am a citizen of Heaven and I want to live like one as fully as possible for the duration of my stay here on earth. Amen!

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