Lesson 11 -- fourth quarter 2004
November 14, 2004
© Copyright 2004, Christian Light Publications
Probing Your Own Heart
Does the promise of the Resurrection make any difference to you?
Does studying this lesson seem somewhat pointless to you?
Building on Some Foundational Concepts
The bodies we presently have are not designed for eternity.
Our present bodies, being corruptible and with expiration dates, have no eternal destiny; that is, they cannot "inherit the kingdom of God" nor can they "inherit incorruption" (1 Corinthians 15:50). Yet God wants us to live forever in His presence, enjoying the inheritance of His kingdom. So after we have worn out these bodies here in our service for Him and His kingdom, the time will eventually come that "the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:52).
We shall be fully restored as bearers of His image.
Beginning with Adam, God created us in His image. And beginning with Adam, successive generations of us have marred and corrupted that image, even in ways which surely are known to God alone. But He will fully remedy that at the last trumpet. We shall be fully restored because "we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (1 Corinthians 15:49). "Beloved, 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). Now listen to this: "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear" (Matthew 13:43). Having ears to hear, use them to hear with the commitment to obey!
Questions and Responses
What is practical about this lesson?
I wondered that at first as well. Granted, it has some very important doctrinal truths, but what difference do they make as far as how we live now? After all, these truths illuminate what we can expect in the future and they even tell us some of why these things have to be this way. But that pertains to the next life, after death has terminated this life. What about this life, though?
Part of the answer can be found earlier in this same chapter: "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable" (v. 19). The hope presented in today's lesson ought to de-miserable-ize our present lives. That strikes me as quite practical.
More of the answer comes toward the end of the chapter: Though death seems so inevitable and the grave so final, though sin seems so dominant and domineering, none of them has the final say for the redeemed! "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (v. 57).
Now, read again verse 58 and decide if this lesson doesn't truly touch our lives today in very practical ways: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
Take heed once again to the warning and encouragement presented to us in 2 Peter 3:17,18 -- "Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."
How do we prepare here for life in Heaven?
"If you don't like to sing here, how are you ever going to survive in Heaven?!" I imagine you have heard such comments as well as their next-of-kin -- "If you can't get along with certain folks in the church now, how will you manage eternity in Heaven with them?!" Such comments, though well-intended, can create the mistaken notion that life is a dress rehearsal for Heaven. In other words, we had better be practicing here so we will feel comfortable and capable there. While we do prepare here for life in Heaven, it isn't through that kind of practice. No, of course not. This lesson underscores the reality that any preparation this body might make to fit into the next life will not survive this body. To prepare for life in Heaven requires acceptance of Jesus' salvation and surrender to His Lordship, which includes living for Him now. There is no other way; we need none.
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