Is heaven your passion? Really your passion? In Philippian letter, Paul had just described how he pressed toward that heavenly prize, pressing, ever pressing to attain unto the resurrection of Christ (Phil. 3:7-14). Like the one who found the pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had to buy that one pearl (Matt. 13:45). He cast aside all the things that could be counted as gain in this life so that he might reach that heavenly goal (Phil. 3:7,8). Paul made several points in this context that need to be stressed.
First, as Christians, our life, or conversation, is in heaven. As we often sing, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through, My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door and I just can’t feel at home in this world anymore.” With the hope of heaven before us, how could we feel at home here? In many ways, this is the devil’s domain as he influences and beguiles so many (II Cor. 4:4). Just as Jesus prayed and desired to be back with the Father (John 17:1-16), so we, too, should have a desire to be with Him (Phil. 1:23; Heb. 12:1,2).
Our heart is in heaven because that is where our treasure is (Matt. 6:21). That is where what we value most is. While we live in this world, we know that we must stay separate from it (II Cor. 6:17,18). Those “Christians” who are indistiguishable from the world really do not long for heaven. Old testament saints looked and longed for a heavenly city and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims in the earth (Heb. 11:13-16). Our affections should be set on things above and not on things on this earth (Col. 3:1-3).
Second, we know that Jesus is coming again. Knowing this, we look for Him, we wait patiently, we anticipate the Lord’s return (Matt. 24:42-44). Peter said we look for and haste unto the coming of the day of God (II Pet. 3:12). We look for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (Tit. 2:13). We are assured of His return because we know He was raised from the dead (Acts 17:30,31). He left so that He could prepare a place for us in those heavenly mansions and is coming again to receive us unto Himself (John 14:1-4).
When the Lord returns we know also that our vile bodies will be changed. Our bodies are vile, or humble, or lowly, because they are subject to decay and deterioration that sin brought with it (Rom. 5:12). The creature was made subject to vanity but we wait, groaning and waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of our body (Rom. 8:20-23). Our bodies will not be exchanged as some like to read it, but they will be changed (I Cor. 15:50-53).
Our bodies will be made like His glorious body. We do not know what we shall be but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is (I John 3:2). All the suffering and vanity to which we are now subjected is not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18). When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory (Col. 3:4).
The Lord has the power to do all this and subdue all things unto Himself. He will gather together in one all things in Christ (Eph. 1:9,10). The exceeding greatness of His power was demonstrated when He raised up Christ to His own right hand in heavenly places and it is that same power with which He will raise us up at the last day (Eph. 1:18-21). It is the same power which quickens us from being dead in sins and which delievers us from the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:1-3).
Eric L. Padgett