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#58658 Tue Jul 04, 2023 12:41 PM
Joined: May 2016
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Joined: May 2016
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“The days are perhaps not far distant when we shall find ourselves confronted with a quasi-form of Christianity professing openly to place its dependence on and to work for the present life alone, a religion, to use the language of Hebrews, become profane and a fornicator like Esau, selling for a mess of earthly pottage its heavenly birthright.” - Geerhardus Vos

Anthony C. #58659 Tue Jul 04, 2023 12:49 PM
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Paul speaks of heaven as a present reality. Heaven is more than the life to come. It is the life we have now. For all who are raised with Christ and seated with him, the core reality of life is above. But what does this mean, practically?

British theologian Harry Blamires poses an interesting question. Is it possible, he asks, that the only difference between a Christian and a secularist is that the Christian believes there is a life to follow and the secularist does not? But when it comes to daily life, the Christian thinks of it and talks about it in exactly the same way as the secularist does—as only material and natural.[2] If you and I regard heaven as only a life in the future, and not one in the present, then our thinking has become untouched by the supernatural. If that is so, then Geerhardus Vos is correct: like Esau, we have sold our “heavenly birthright” for “a mess of earthly pottage.”[3]

To be sure, Scripture does encourage us to think of our future life in heaven and how that future glory should impact the way we live here and now (Rom. 8:17–18; Col. 1:4–5; 1 Thess. 4:13–18; 1 Tim. 6:17–19; James 1:12; 1 Pet. 1:6–7). John Calvin in book three of his Institutes of the Christian Religion, Richard Baxter in The Saints’ Everlasting Rest, and John Owen in Spiritual-Mindedness discuss meditating on the future life as an important aspect of being heavenly-minded. But that does not take in all of Paul’s emphasis here in Colossians (nor all of what Calvin, Baxter, and Owen think). The heavenly mindset that Colossians 3 urges us to maintain is one that sees heaven as the life we have right now. Heaven is not just our life in the world to come. It is our life today in the world above.

This is true because of where Christ is, not just where he will be. Christ is seated at the right hand of God, and from his position of supremacy he rules and directs all things for the sake of his church, which he is building (Eph. 1:22). And yet, his kingdom “is not of this world” (John 18:36). In other words, the church’s head, its center, its charter, its security are all derived from the right hand of majesty in the world above. Everything in your life should be seen from this vantage point. Your source of power, the measure of your priorities, the meaning of your life, the joy in your heart, the disposition of all that you think, desire, and will—all of these derive from where Christ is. Your life is more oriented by heaven than anything on earth. Heaven is more real than earth.[4] It is not just your future rest; it is your present help.

Anthony C. #58756 Wed Nov 01, 2023 7:08 AM
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I believe that the "the days...not far distant" are upon us already. The visible church is far removed from what it should be, albeit a group of mixed believers and unbelievers, the wheat and the chaff, which shall be until the end when all shall be revealed. One would be hard-pressed to distinguish the church from the world in far too many places among local assemblies and even whole denominations. The only defense is for believers to put on the 'whole armor of God' and fight the good fight, resting wholly upon the power of the Spirit to think, say and do that which God requires of us as His beloved children and adopted sons in Christ.

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