Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 11, 1971
NUMBER 43, PAGE 5-6a

All Of This.... And Heaven Too

Billy W. Moore

Most faithful believers in Christ hope to go to heaven to live with the Lord in all eternity. (The exception would be the Jehovah's Witnesses and some others who have no hope of going to heaven, but who are hoping to live on the new earth for ever and ever in a state of bliss.)

I hope to go to heaven, don't you? When Peter wrote to the believers he said, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you." (I Peter 1:3-4) Thus, God has an inheritance reserved in heaven for you.

Heaven is the place of everlasting life. The apostle Paul said he was "in hope of eternal life" (Titus 1:2), and "hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." (Rom. 8:24-25) Jesus said "eternal life" is in the world to come, not in this world. (Mark 10:30) John wrote, "This is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life." (I John 2:25) So, as disciples of Christ we live in hope of eternal life, believing that God has a reservation for us in heaven. Indeed we expect heaven to be the blessed home of the soul.

All Of This

While living in this world the disciples of Christ enjoy many things that those of the world do not enjoy. The distinction is made between "in the world" and "of the world." To the twelve Jesus said, ". . . ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world..." (John 15:19). The disciples have been called "out of the world" and into the kingdom of Christ, or the church. (The word "church" means "to call out" or "the called out.") To the church in Thessalonica Paul wrote, "God bath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto he called you by our gospel." (2 Thess. 2:14) So it is by the gospel that God calls us out of the world. When one believes and obeys the gospel he is called out of the world and added to the church. (Acts 2:38, 41, 47) He is given the promise of eternal life and hence, hopes for a home in heaven. While he serves God in this world he enjoys many things:

1. Remission of Sins. The disciple has assurance that his sins were remitted when he repented and was baptized. (Acts 2:38)

2. Forgiveness. Yes, in Christ we have forgiveness of sins. (Eph. I :7; Col. 1:14) God has said, "their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Heb. 8:12) This means God will never bring them to our charge again.

3. Peace With God. "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:7) This peace is ours because "God hath reconciled us unto himself by Jesus Christ." (2 Cor. 5:18) Sin separates man from God (Isa. 59:1-2), but belief and obedience to the gospel brings forgiveness, and when God forgives us our sins we are at peace with him.

4. Joy Unspeakable. Though we have not seen the Lord, yet we believe that he lived, that he died for our sins, and that God raised him from the dead. And believing we now "rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." (I Peter 1:8) Jesus said, "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." (John 20:29) What a joy it is to serve our Lord, for his yoke is easy and his burden is light. (Matt. 11:30) Though the apostle Paul endured so much suffering to serve the Lord (2 Cor. 11: 18-30) yet he .spoke of it as "our light affliction" (2 Cor. 4:17), and found joy in serving Christ, for he looked to the things that are eternal.

5. New Creatures In Christ. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Cor. 5:17) New creatures as a result of a new birth, which is necessary to salvation. (John 3:3-5) When the believer is baptized he is "born again" of water and of the Spirit. He has a new look on life as a result. His mind is renewed by the gospel of Christ (Rom. 12:1-2) so that he can live a new life in Christ and be happy without following the sins of the world. This happiness and godliness with contentment is great gain, and adds to the peace which he has. (I Tim. 6:6-8)

6. Partakers of the Divine Nature. All who believe and obey the gospel, thus becoming new creatures in Christ and enjoying remission of sins, forgiveness, and peace with God, are to partake of the divine nature. The divine nature is of course the nature of God. We partake of His nature as we learn His will for us and live by that will. The more we learn of God and the closer we live to Him the happier we are. It is true that those of the world cannot understand this: but they are not new creatures in Christ; their minds have not been renewed by the gospel; they do not know this peace that passeth all understanding; theirs is not the joy unspeakable and full of glory; they have not a place reserved in heaven for them; and have never set their affection on things above. So "they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot..." (I Peter 4:4), and that we find joy in serving the Lord Jesus.

7. Exceeding Great and Precious Promises. It was Peter who wrote that God hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby (that is, by this calling) are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises. (2 Peter 1:34) Remember, God has called us by the gospel, and everyone who obeys the gospel is a recipient of these exceeding great and precious promises.

(a) Fellowship with him. To his disciples Jesus said, "I am with you alway. . ." (Matt. 28:20) John declared, "our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." (I John 1:3) "He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." (2 John 9)

(b) Gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38) Paul said, "after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance . ." (Eph. 1:13, 14) We enjoy "the communion of the Holy Spirit" (2 Cor. 13:14). For God has given the Holy Spirit "to them that obey him." See Acts 5:32.

(c) Rest for your soul. Jesus said, "Come unto me.. . and ye shall find rest for your souls." (Matt. 11:28-30) When heavily laden with burdens we can cast them upon him, for he careth for us. (1 Peter 5:7)

(d) That he will hear our prayers. "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to our prayers" (I Peter 3:12). "The effectual fervent prayers of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16) Our Father in heaven knoweth how to give good things to them that ask him. (Matt. 7:11)

(e) Necessities of life will be provided. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God. . . and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matt. 6:33

(1) A way to escape every temptation. "God. . . will not allow you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (I Cor. 10:13)

(g) The Lord will be with us. "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." (Heb. 13:5-6) What a joy it is to know that the Lord is our helper, if we will abide in his will.

(h) Eternal life. "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his son." (I John 5:11) We have eternal life now as a promise: "And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life." (I John 2:25)

Are you a Christian? If not, you should obey the gospel today and begin to enjoy "all of this. . . and heaven too."

— Box 204, Butler, Mo.