||2013-12-29 00:13:28, 조회 : 1,852, 추천 : 402
| Chapter 10 |
God’s Plan Complete – Glorification
Finally, we are at the last step of God’s plan. We can imagine the sense of relief when we reach this ultimate point. Fellows compare this to a runner that just finishes the marathon. Whether or not he/she finished first or last, it is a relief to have finished at all. As believers, we do not know the time of day our death will come. Death can come rapidly and unpredictably. Or it can come gradually. Nonetheless, there is one thing that will happen for sure. Jesus Christ will come back. In this Christian race, we are always inching towards the finish line.
I think it is important to reiterate what we have learned thus far, just so that we know where Glorification is placed in all of this. First, we know that everyone person on this earth is a sinner. They are unable to save themselves. This is due to Adam’s fall, thus making the entire human race into a state of depravity. But, we have also willingly followed this “rebellious footsteps”. In this condition we cannot escape it without divine intervention. Thankfully, God made a plan to redeem some people for himself. Fellows makes a point to say “we might add that God did not begin to plan salvation after Adam and Eve sinned but before that happened”. He wasn’t caught off guard by their defiance but He had already anticipated it. We were essentially chosen in Christ “…before the creation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).
Due to the Fall, there were many prevalent consequences. For instance, mankind is separated from God, they have to work hard to gain food, childbirth has become tremendous in pain and death has entered humanity. Interestingly, God’s whole creation has been effected, even heaven! It Jobs 15:15 it says “…Even the heavens are not clean in his [God’s] eyes”. God’s ultimate purpose is shown clearly in Ephesians 1:9-10
“And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment – to bring all things in heaven and on earth under one head, even Christ”
Everything will be put under Christ and will mirror Christ’s glory. As Christians, the effects of the Fall have been repaired, however there are still many things that need to be corrected. Once again, death and childbirth can be used as an example. All of this will be rectified in the future when Peter talks about Jesus Christ, he says “He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything” (Acts 3:21).
When will this happen?
In the quote I just provided above, we can see that the restoration will happen when “Christ no longer remains in heaven”. This is also known as the “second coming”. There are a couple of verses that solidify this for us. Jesus said:
1) “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3)
2) As the disciples watched Jesus ascending into heaven, the angels said to them “Men of Galilee…why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11)
3) “So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:28).
So Jesus, will come at some point in the future. However, we do not know when. There are many people today that proclaim the date of Jesus’ return. But in Matthew 24:36, Jesus says to his disciples “No one knows about the day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father”. While the timetable of Jesus’ coming is disputed, no one who believes the bible can deny His return. Following the seconding coming, there will also be the resurrection of all people, the judgment of everyone and the creation of a new heavens and a new earth. As Christians, this day should be anticipated. We can look at Paul’s attitude when he talks about this day to the Philippians,
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Phil 3:20-21)
What can we expect when Christ returns? We can examine Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians church to get some ideas (Refer to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
1) Firstly, we can tell there are two groups. Those that have died (fallen asleep) before Christ’s return, and those still alive when he comes. The reason why Paul makes a point to write about this, is because the people in the church of Thessalonica were apprehensive about the Christians that have already died. They felt that perhaps they may be in worse condition than those that were alive. However, Paul promises that it is that same.
2) Those that have died before Christ returns will be brought back from the dead. In the New Testament it is clear that those who believe and die go immediately into the presence of the Lord. We can refer to the dying thief in Luke 23:43 when it says “…I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise”. Although is a blessed state, this is not the final resurrected state.
3) When Christ returns he will be announced by the command by “the voice of the archangel and a trumpet call”. The reason why this is so important is because many believe that when Jesus returns it will be a secret. However, it will be public and all will be aware.
4) The spirits that come with Christ (the dead) will be resurrected and their spirits will be united with their new bodies. This will happen a little before the change of those that are alive. “…The dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
5) Those who believe and are alive at the time will meet the Lord in the air and their bodies will be transformed as well. The nature of our bodies will be “…Like his [Christ’s] glorious body” (Philippians 3:21). Although our physical bodies will have flesh and bones, it will also be imperishable and immortal (1Corinthians 15:53).
6) From that moment on, all believers will be with the Lord, forever. This is one of the best things we can look forward to. Fellows calls it the “unbroken communion”. We will be with him and like him (1John 3:2).
Due to the Fall, the first earth has been polluted. However, it will be renewed when Christ returns. There is some debate whether or not the earth will be renewed or a completely new earth. Fellows says “Presumably the destruction of the old earth and the creation of the new will occur just after believers are raised up to be with Christ”. There will also be the time of judgment. John writes a vivid depiction of what it will be like in Revelations 20:11-15,
“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. The death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire”
This judgment is a general one. It pertains to everyone (believers and unbelievers) stand together before the throne. Our works are examined on the Day of Judgment. Now you may wonder “Wait, I thought salvation was by grace not works? So how can judgment are based on works?” However, Fellows says it clearly “The works are not to determine whether or not people are saved, but to show that those who have true faith, demonstrate their faith by godly lives”.
At this point it is also important to mention what will happen to the unbelievers. They too will be resurrected, judged and cast into hell forever. The period of punishment of the wicked, is the same as the period of those that are in heaven. In Matthews 25:26 it states this clearly “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life”. Although as Christians, we will be able to rejoice at the hope of glory, we should also be distressed about those that will not be able to see heaven. We should try our best to bring the gospel to them.
Another thing that will happen is the defeat of Satan. Many people have this preconceived notion that even at the end, Satan will rule hell. However, in John 12:31 it tells us “…now the prince of this world will be driven out”. Satan’s ultimate punishment will be when he’s cast into the “… lake of burning sulphur” (Revelations 20:10). So he too will suffer with the unbelievers.
So how will our eternal dwellings be like? Firstly, we are told that there will be no temple and no sun or moon. The reason is because “…The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” and “…The glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (Rev 21:22-23). Everything will be Christ-centered. We will be with him and enjoy his fellowship for eternity. Secondly, it will be a place of eternal comfort. There will be no more death or mourning, crying or pain. Now many people wonder “How can I enjoy heaven, if I knew my loved one is in hell”. Although this isn’t a easy question to answer, our perspective will differ drastically. Meaning that those that will suffer eternal torment will glorify his justice. Thus we will also be doing the same. Thirdly, it will be a place of everlasting righteousness. “Nothing impure will ever enter it…” (Rev 21:27). Lastly, it will be a place of useful service. We can see in Rev 22:3 that it says “…His [God’s] servants will serve him. Many people believe in the common pictured idea of angels floating around on the clouds playing the flute and harp. However, this isn’t the accurate picture of what is shown to us in the Bible. Although we will be spending our time praising God, we will also be serving Him. When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden they weren’t just laying around and singing. They were also involved in tending the garden. Heaven will not be a place of idleness, it will be a place of useful service.
We have finally reached the finish line. Where sin will be cleansed from creation. Satan will be damned. Death will be expelled. There will be no more pain or crying. Furthermore, there will be no reproduction of glory (Matthew 22:30).
Hallelujah! We are thankful to have such a miraculous God. God saves sinners and there was absolutely nothing we could have done to go into heaven. Yet, He created such a wonderful plan for us. Everything step has been meticulously thought out and without a doubt perfect. Let us rejoice in such an awesome God and continue on this journey to the gates of heaven!
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