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Posts Tagged ‘victory’

Our Heavenly Condition

August 1st, 2017

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. (2 Corinthians 5:1-3 ESV)

The last verse of chapter 4 laid down a principle that might have caused some concern among the believers: “For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Cor 4:18 ESV). Someone may have asked, “Then what are we going to be in eternity? Seen or unseen?”

In explaining our eternal state, the apostle makes clear that we will not be spirits without bodies, rather our identity and the integrity of our individualism will be maintained. We will be given new bodies – a “heavenly dwelling” – or, as Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians, an “imperishable,” “glorious,” and “spiritual” body (1 Cor. 15:42-44).

In this chapter of second Corinthians he compares it to a building and our current physical bodies as a tent. Tents are temporary and are easily worn out, but buildings are more permanent, so he uses a more permanent earthly situation to illustrate the eternal reality of our new body.

We “groan” here in our earthly bodies. This groaning refers not only to the physical problems we have, to the aches and pain of sickness and age, but also to the spiritual failures we live with in this day. It is not just that we are sick and ill often, but that we are saddened when we are sick, doubtful of our future, and these doubts and failures are part and parcel of this current physical world. We struggle in the flesh with temptations and weak attitudes.

But the future life will be one that is possessed entirely of God. These hopes and expectations lift our hearts today. We can now through faith also live in light of this promise. Though we still groan in some fashion, though we still deal with sickness and doubt and weaknesses, though we still live in a fallen world where there are problems and heartbreak, we can through faith live in the constant infilling of God’s Spirit as we look forward to the blessed new life of eternity. We need not be chained to this world, nor to our old sinful natures. By faith we may live in the new hope of eternity each day.

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Professor Albert Barnes wrote on Romans 8:22:

erse 22. For we know.The sentiment of this verse is designed as an illustration of what had just been said.

That the whole creation. Margin, “every creature.” This expression has been commonly understood as meaning the same as “the creature” in Ro 8:20,21. But I understand it as having a different signification; and as being used in the natural and usual signification of the word creature, or creation. It refers, as I suppose, to the whole animate creation; to all living beings; to the state of all created things here, as in a condition of pain and disorder, and groaning and death. Everything which we see; every creature which lives, is thus subjected to a state of servitude, pain, vanity, and death. The reasons for supposing that this is the true interpretation are,

(1.) That the apostle expressly speaks of “the whole creation,” of every creature, qualifying the phrase by the expression “we know,” as if he was drawing an illustration from a well-understood, universal fact.

(2.) This interpretation makes consistent sense, and makes the verse have a direct bearing on the argument. It is just an argument from analogy, he had (Ro 8:20,21) said that the condition of a Christian was one of bondage and servitude. It was an imperfect, humiliating state; one attended with pain, sorrow, and death. This might be regarded as a melancholy description; and the question might arise, why was not the Christian at once delivered from this? The answer is in this verse. It is just the condition of everything. It is the manifest principle on which God governs the world. The whole creation is in just this condition; and we are not to be surprised, therefore, if it is the condition of the believer. It is a part of the universal system of things; it accords with everything we see; and we are not to be surprised that the church exists on the same principle of administration— in a state of bondage, imperfection, sorrow, and sighing for deliverance.

Groaneth. Greek, Groans together. All is united in a condition of sorrow. The expression denotes mutual and universal grief. It is one wide and loud lamentation, in which a dying world unites; and in which it has united “until now.”

2 Corinthians ,

The Soon Coming King

April 11th, 2017

… until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:14-17 ESV)

In giving his divinely-inspired charge to Timothy, Paul added this thought. He said that Timothy was to “keep this commandment,” or he was to fulfill his calling “until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The “appearing” is epiphanea in the New Testament Greek, and was an important word in the New Testament for the coming of the Lord and the end of the age. (See 2 Tim. 4:1 and Titus 2:13.)

We often say these words with a sigh, “until He comes,” aware more of the delay in His coming than the promise of it. But it is given here in an entirely different manner, in a completely different spirit. Here there is faith, hope, and enthusiasm for the coming King.

There is one view of life that sees old age dismally. We start out strong and then grow weaker through the years, losing friends, strength, mental abilities, and optimism. We die as a relief, exhausted by our long and tiresome journey through life. Even some Christians fall into this view, even though there is little Christian about this outlook on life.

The other view is that for the Christian there is always a brighter day coming. We grow old and despite whatever indignities are associated with age, despite the losing of friends, strength, etc., we can say with the apostle Paul, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16 ESV).

The hope of the pastor and of each Christian, is not that we will be recognized and rewarded on earth for our contributions to the work of God, but that we will be affirmed in heaven by Christ Himself, who says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”

And in order for that to happen, He must return. Truthfully, we are more excited about His return than about our own reward. He will come at the right time, and all of history is moving and working toward this goal. He is the One worthy of praise:

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:11-12 ESV)

We do not serve for just the sake of resting. We do not serve in order to be forgotten. We do not serve a cause or a calling that is passing away. We serve and worship the coming King, who is and will be victorious. This is the hope that we are to keep before us at all time.

Art is made, whether in paintings, music, or literature, by contrasting light and darkness. Dark and subdued colors fade into the background and bright and vivacious colors leap off the canvas. The darkness of this age, the subduing of man’s spiritual nature and of God’s standard of holiness, the darkening of hearts across this world, has caused a shadow to pass over our age. But the light is not some “new” human idea, or some “new” charismatic leader. Those are just more of the subdued colors of darkness.

The hope is the coming King who is the Light of the World and the hope of eternity. He is the new bright “color” of the future. From the moment we trusted in Christ we began living for eternity. Each day is closer to His return. Each day is closer to this great event. This is what we look forward to. He is who we look forward to.

1 Timothy, Second Coming of Christ , , , ,