The Enjoyment of Heavenly Things: In the Wilderness

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Redemption, complete salvation, purchased by the precious blood of Jesus, introduces the Christian into a pilgrimage in the wilderness. With God, he only passes through this world, a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; still, this pilgrimage is but the life down here, although it is the life of the redeemed. (The epistle to the Romans answers to this.)
But there is the heavenly life, the warfare in the heavenly places, which goes on at the same time with the wilderness journey. When I say at the same time, I do not mean at the same instant, but during the same period of our natural life on the earth. It is one thing to pass through this world faithfully, or unfaithfully, in our daily circumstances, under the influence of a better hope; it is another thing to be waging a spiritual warfare for the enjoyment of the promises and of heavenly privileges, and to conquer the power of Satan on God's behalf, as men already dead and risen, and as being absolutely not of the world. Both these things are true of the Christian life.
Now, it is as dead and risen again in Christ that we are in spiritual conflict; to make war in Canaan we must have crossed the Jordan. Ephesians answers to this, only Ephesians has nothing to do with our death to sin. It is, as to this question, simply God's act, taking us when dead in sin and placing us in Christ on high. Colossians is partially both. It is life here in resurrection, but it does not set us in heavenly places -only our affections there. By heavenly life I mean living in spirit in heavenly places. Actually, Christ was divinely there—we are united to Him by the Holy Spirit.... In both Philippians and Colossians the heavenly life is spoken of as a present thing, but there is entire separation, even down here, between the pilgrimage and this heavenly life itself, although the latter has a powerful influence on the character of our pilgrim life.