Thursday, May 3, 2012

Heaven - Chapter 2

In Chapter 2, titled "Show Me the Way Home," the author digs into the meat and potatoes of God's work. Here are some highlights:
"If we pose the question (and yes,my children have posed it; perhaps you know children who have posed it too), How will Jesus get us to heaven? -- the answer goes something like this: he will get us there by (1) our effectual calling, (2) our dying, and (3) his returning.
...[That] is a biblical answer. And because it is biblical, the more you reflect upon it, the more you realize just how exciting it really is! Think of it: he will get us there -- better yet, at the end of the age he will get heaven here -- and even death itself will serve his purpose along the way.

Put simply, the Spirit changes sinners' hearts so that they trust in Christ for salvation... The one who has been changed this way -- changed so deeply so as to believe truly -- has thereby become an already heavenly man, while he remains here on earth.
a. The Christian possesses a heavenly disposition. ...Of course, this does not mean the believer no longer sins. He does so regularly, and sometimes grievously... that deep-seated orientation exists beneath layers of sinful patterns and desires. This is precisely why he finds the Christian life to be a battle every day. Love for God is now his defining orientation -- his internal moral compass points heavenward -- but the vestiges of sin remain.
b. The Christian is animated by heavenly desires. ...His earthly pursuits will be governed by heavenly desires. Look him in the eye and ask him, "What do you really want? (and emphasize 'really' to make the point). His answer will not be: 'wife and children and picket fence'. His answer (to make use of the Westminster Shorter Catechism Q.1) 'to glorify God and to enjoy him forever, and to live in a world where everyone around me does too.' This is the Christian Dream. ...Christian, do you want to glorify and enjoy God? Do you want to live in a world where everyone else does too? Guess what: the saints and angels in heaven feel the same way, and right now they are gazing upon the One who lived and died and lives again to make it happen. It will happen. 'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied' (Matt. 5:6). After all, your Father in heaven and the Son at his right hand desire it fat more earnestly than you do. Infinitely more. It will happen.
c. The Christian possesses a heavenly justification. ...Justification is an act of God's free grace wherein he pardoneth all our sins and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone' (WSC Q.33)... How is justification a heavenly blessing? In three ways.
First, to be justified is to possess the same right to heaven that belongs to those who are already there...
Second, justification is heavenly in that it anticipates the day when the believer will go to heaven through death...
Third, justification is heavenly in that it anticipates the day when the new world -- Christ's heavenly world -- will be ushered in.

2. OUR DYING (coming in my next post)

Thank you for reading.

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