Three Works of Grace, #2
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:18)
The actual goal of salvation is not a change of where we are but of what we are. Salvation is not a movement of the individual from one place to another, from earth to Heaven, but a transformation—spirit, soul, and body—of the believer until he is God's servant wherever he is. Our statement concerning a change of goal may seem at first glance to be obvious and to have no real impact on Christian thinking. Actually, it is revolutionary and has significance for the entire Christian movement.
There most assuredly is a Heaven where God, Jesus, the saints, and the holy angels reside in the present hour. But the residence of God and His creatures in the spirit Paradise is temporary. Heaven (the Presence of God and Christ) is coming to the earth in the form of the holy city, the new Jerusalem. Earth, not the spirit Paradise, is the eternal home of man—and God!
We are not going to the city, the city is coming to us.
For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. (Hebrews 13:14)
We are not going to Heaven to live in the city that has foundations. Rather the city that has foundations is coming to the earth. The writers of the New Testament had no intention of going to live forever in the spirit realm. They did not view Heaven as eternal life or as the Kingdom of God.
It is God's desire that throughout eternity man realize he is the servant of God and that his life must be addressed to God as God's servant. Man must learn to live in and by the Spirit of God. The heart of man was designed to be the throne room of God, and until his heart is God's throne, man is not man.
The Lord Jesus Christ is God's idea of what man is to be. Paradise will be restored as man becomes what man was meant to be.
Salvation is not a change in location which will occur when we die. Salvation, the transformation of our personality from the image of Satan to the image of God, is to take place every day of our life through the various aspects of grace that God gives us through Christ. Salvation is the change in us. This is what redemption is, and it is not for the purpose of going somewhere when we die.
Our salvation is not established until we finish our course.
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (Hebrews 3:14)
To partake of Christ, to be part of His house, requires that we continue in joyous expectation throughout our discipleship. In terms of current Christian thinking, the concept that our salvation is not established until we finish our course is totally revolutionary.
To be continued.