Title for Heaven Already Secured

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It will not then have to be decided where we are to spend eternity, and whether we have a title for heaven or not. By no means, for the believer knows now, without the shadow of a doubt, that he will spend his eternity with Christ in glory. Look at 2 Cor. 5:11For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2 Corinthians 5:1), "We KNOW that... we HAVE... an house... eternal in the heavens." In other words, we (Christians) have the present and perfect certainty of an eternity in heavenly glory, "therefore we are always confident." (2 Cor. 5:66Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (2 Corinthians 5:6).)
And instead of having to wait until the judgment-seat, in order to know whether we have a title for heaven, we ought always to give "thanks to the Father which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inhertance of the saints in light." (Col. 1:1212Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: (Colossians 1:12).) But it may be said, Will not this confidence tend to make us careless in our walk here?
Far from it. If Christ has suffered so much for our sakes in order to procure eternal glory for us, it will make us "labor" (mark the word), "that... we may be well-pleasing" (or acceptable) "to Him." (2 Cor. 5:99Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. (2 Corinthians 5:9).) And should this motive in itself not be enough, we have this added, that "we must all be manifested before the judgment-seat of Christ." Everything will be brought to light there; if we have been living for ourselves, we shall suffer loss; but if, through God's grace, we have been seeking to live for Christ, we shall receive reward.
But the reader may say, "I always thought that we had to appear before Christ's judgment-seat in order to have it settled, whether we were to be in heaven or not." By no means. The moment a Christian dies, though his body is laid in the grave, his spirit goes to be with Christ. As our chapter puts it, he is "absent from the body," and "present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:88We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8)); and, again, the apostle Paul said that he had a "desire to depart and be with Christ." (Phil. 1:2323For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: (Philippians 1:23).) So too the Lord said to the thief on the cross, "To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise." (Luke 23:4343And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43).) Now, if Paul, and the dying thief, and all the saints of God who have died since the cross of Calvary, have been with Christ for 1800 years, more or less, is it likely that they should have to leave that place of perfect blessedness in order to be judged to see whether they have a right to be there or not? Surely not.
"But then," it may be said, "it is their spirits that are with Christ, whereas their bodies are in the grave: might not resurrection make a difference?"
Let us see what the Word of God says. 1 Cor. 15 is occupied from beginning to end with the subject of resurrection; first, that of Christ Himself, and then that of the saints. There evidently were some false teachers at Corinth who were trying to persuade the believers there that there was no such thing as resurrection. Consequently the Spirit of God, through Paul, gives seven distinct proofs of the resurrection of Christ-"the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:44And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (1 Corinthians 15:4)), "Cephas" saw Him, "then the twelve" (1 Cor. 15:55And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: (1 Corinthians 15:5)), "after that five hundred brethren at once" (1 Cor. 15:66After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:6)), "after that He was seen of James," "then of all the apostles" (1 Cor. 15:77After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. (1 Corinthians 15:7)), "last of all of me also." (1 Cor. 15:88And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. (1 Corinthians 15:8).) This point was of immense importance; for "if Christ be not raised... ye are yet in your sins" (1 Cor. 15:1717And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17)); their very salvation depended on the fact that Christ had not only died, but risen again. But if Christ has risen from the dead, then the dead do rise; and in what order? Christ the first-fruits (that is, over 1800 years ago); "afterward they that are Christ's at His coming." (1 Cor. 15:2323But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. (1 Corinthians 15:23).) And how do they rise? Let the reader open his Bible, and read 1 Cor. 15:4343It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: (1 Corinthians 15:43)-let him read it over and over again. "It is sown in dishonor: it is raised in glory." Now, this clearly refers only to the believer in Christ. When he is raised, has he then to be judged, to see whether he is to be in glory or not? Certainly not. He is raised in glory. The very act that raises him from the dead puts him into glory. Say, beloved friend, has your soul grasped the power and simplicity of those three words-RAISED IN GLORY?
Then, further, as to those believers who will be alive when Christ comes (and you and I, dear Christian friend, might be among the number), "we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body" (or, "His body of glory.") (Phil. 3:20,2120For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:20‑21).) So that when Christ comes into the air (1 Thess. 4:13-1813But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13‑18)), the living saints will be changed in a moment, and become perfectly like Him; for they shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:22Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)), and "the dead in Christ" shall be "raised in glory."
But why are we so anxious to prove all this?
Why simply to show that before ever we stand before the judgment-seat of Christ we shall not only be with Christ, but already glorified, and so perfectly like Christ.
Now, could it for one moment be supposed that any of those who are glorified and like Christ could possibly be cast into outer darkness? Surely not. Who could imagine such a thing? The thought even is absurd.
Besides this, Who will be sitting on the judgment-seat? Why, Christ, of course; and, Is not He the very One that bore all our sins in His own body on the tree? Is it likely that He will then lay to our charge sins which He Himself died for on the cross years ago? Impossible!
But what, then, is the judgment-seat of Christ for? As we have shown, it cannot be to judge whether we are to be in heaven or not, for we shall be there already; but being there with Christ, and in glorified bodies like Christ, we shall review in company with Himself our whole history in this world. We shall retrace every step, we shall recall every circumstance; and, in the unsullied light of His blessed presence, we shall weigh every act and deed of our lives in the balance of the sanctuary, we shall see them as He saw them, and judge of them as He judged of them.
He will then show us where and how we failed; but instead of this making us afraid of Him it will only deepen in our souls the sense of His unchanging grace and love, that He should so long have borne with such failing, erring creatures.
He will also delight to bring to our remembrance every little act of service for Himself-the smallest thing we may have done for Him, a word spoken for Him, or even a cup of cold water given in His name will not be forgotten. Then "every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor." (1 Cor. 3:88Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor. (1 Corinthians 3:8).) O, beloved Christian reader, let us not lose the precious opportunities which are now given to us of serving Christ! Let us awake from the disgraceful slumber of apathy and indifference into which, alas! we are so prone to fall! Let us not live to ourselves, but to Him who died for us!
"I gave My life for thee,
My precious blood I shed,
That thou mightst ransomed be,
And rescued from the dead;
I gave My life for thee,
What hast thou given for Me?"