Are you ready to die? Have you not heard? Is it not written that heaven is a wonderful place? My dear reader, Christ Jesus is there. His reward is with Him — a glorious inheritance and life eternal.
The Apostle Paul was inclined to depart this fallen world of sin and death. Why? In order to be with Christ, which is very much better than this place. Do you believe his report? How did Paul know about the glories of heaven? We must remember that he was a visitor, and therefore, a witness to the majestic splendor of the exalted Christ at the right hand of the Father (Ps 110:1; Acts 2:33).
The more a Christian sees Christ, the more prepared he or she is when his or her earthly tent gives out. Having been renewed daily in the Spirit (2 Cor 4:16), the believer’s soul is reaching ever higher, while his body lumbers to return to the dust from which it came. It is expedient to know these matters of earth and heaven.
The inevitability of death is evidenced all around us. Death is made apparent in the providential teaching of God Most High (e. g. roadkill, murder in the city, a chicken dinner plate; etc.). In Adam, all die (1 Cor 15:22). Death of the body is more easily detected than death of the soul. The reason is that the soul of a newborn baby is already dead because of Adam’s sin.
There are two resurrections for God’s chosen people (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Cor 15). The first is the resurrection of one’s soul at the baptism by the Holy Spirit (Mt 3:11; Acts 2:38; 10:45). Terms to explain this resurrection from the dead include born again (1 Pet 1:3); made alive (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13); born of God (1 Jn 4:7; 5:1); regeneration; etc. The birth pangs of this work of the Holy Spirit ware quickly forgotten because of the joy of one’s salvation. The arduous pains of the soul’s deliverance from the cords of death are real, however.
The second resurrection in our view is the resurrection of the dead body to life. Jesus Christ, who suffered death in His body on the cross, is the first fruits of the bodily resurrection (1 Cor 15:20, 23). His tomb is empty, and in His ascension to heaven, he literally and bodily was seated on the throne of God in heaven (Rev 7:17). His glorified physical body is the prototype of every elect, redeemed, regenerated soul awaiting the day of resurrection.
On that day, the King of glory will return to earth, bodily, in order to judge sinners (Rev 20:11) and saints (2 Cor 5:10). All people ever conceived will be resurrected in their God-given eternal bodies. For some this resurrection from the dead will be to judgment and sentencing to eternal punishment in the lake of fire where the worm dieth not (Jn 5:28–29; Rev 20:14–15).
The souls of the regenerated saints will be conjoined with glorified physical bodies at the resurrection to life on the last day (Jn 5:28–29; 1 Cor 15). These will be caught up together with all the saints to be with Christ in His judgment of demons and sinners. The glorified saints will forever be with the Lord.
The god of this world (2 Cor 4:4) is the father of lies (Jn 8:44). As the ruler of this world (Jn 12:31; 14:30 16:11), he demands that his subjects sin. He ever promises heaven on earth to the ranks of the deceived. Employing the demons of lust and pride, legions of his fallen angels are dispatched to keep the sons of Adam in bondage to sin (Rom 6:6). Sin is the reigning lord of every sinner. Obedience to sin is required. For this reason, death is sure. It is appointed.
Sin and death, for bodies and souls has been disrupted by the invasion of another King, who is King of kings. His victory over Satan, sin, and this world in rebellion was successfully executed at the cross in the fullness of time. The peculiar victory cry was, “It is finished (Jn 19:30).” Christ defeated sin, death, and the devil in His own death. His was the death of a perfect, sinless substitute, sacrificed for the redemption and atonement of His church, the Israel of God, His holy nation of royal priests, who now serve him by faith and in the power of His indwelling Spirit.
As adopted children in the family of God believers in Jesus serve as ambassadors for Christ in the embassy of His church, in diverse places in the kingdom of this world. Our task is to redeem our remaining time here (Eph 5:16; Col 4:5), bearing witness to the excellencies of our Savior and King (Acts 1:8; 1 Pet 2:9), who reigns in glory and who is soon coming to judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pet 4:5).
Before His summons to return to our better country, Beulah land, and the city of God, Zion, the New Jerusalem, we labor as unto the Lord. In the power and direction of the Spirit, we tell the world of our righteous King to whom everyone must give an account. We comfort our fellow sojourners with the Word of God, and we warn those hell-bent on destruction with the same Word of warning.
We wrestle against spiritual forces (Eph 6:12), who powerfully control the hearts and minds of deceived sinners. Our weapon of warfare is God’s Word of truth, the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17; Heb 4:12). The Christian soldier suffers in this fight of faith. She longs for Beulah land, to be at home with the Lord.
This, a final word of encouragement to the faithful slaves of Christ (Eph 6:6) — your life in this body of death is but a vapor (Jas 4:14); therefore, press on today toward the goal, the high calling (Phil 3:14). This present suffering and impending death of your body is not to be compared to the glory awaiting you on the other side of heavenly Jordan (Rom 8:18). He has gone to prepare a place for you (Jn 14:2–3), and the seed of hope you have today will not disappoint you (Rom 5:5; Col 1:27). You have His Word on it. There is satisfaction in the house of God, forever. Rejoice…you are soon going home. Joy!
Spokane Valley, Washington
May 2, 2022