Beyond Today

Beyond Today

And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 35:10

The everyday habits and necessities of life can bog us down and shorten our sight; even eclipse the promises we have from the Lord concerning what awaits the believer whose trust is in the Redeeming work of Christ at Calvary.

You and I, if we are in Christ, are on our way, by grace, to our Father’s House. We travel there all at different rates, but as surely as our Savior is even now there waiting for us, we will be there too in His good time.  

One godly man described the faith of the believer as the “spiritual spy of the soul.” He says that our faith spies out the Promised Land and comes back with soul-stirring reports—it even comes back carrying a heavy load of evidence—ripe clusters representing to us the “reality and riches” of our heavenly hopes in Christ Jesus, as Winslow puts it.

Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

Romans 8:23 

Already the early signs of Spring surround us, marking yet another change in the seasons. And before we know it, summer will be upon us and we will be enjoying its sunny days.

The turning of the calendar that brings us nearer to our heavenly home is moving quickly with those seasons and before we know it, we will be feeling heaven’s warmth on our faces, smell its rich fragrances and hear the angels and saints who have gone before us singing the praises of our King.

One dying Christian said that he observed the Son of Righteousness dawning on him like the morning sun. He said, that at first it was like the pale light of dawn, but as his life in this world was drawing to a close, He drew nearer and nearer until the Savior filled the whole hemisphere of his vision. And all that believer could think of was the “unutterable wonder why God should condescend thus to shine upon a sinful worm.”

          We know that those who are outside of Christ often have an underlying sense of doom etched into their thinking—you often see it in those who make a mockery of judgment and hell. They have the appearance of a child who boasts courage in the face of danger in the desperate hope it will go away. You can see that they are scared to death, and that their bluster is nothing but a desperate façade that will crumble any moment.

          The Christian has the opposite experience. The joys and hopes of heaven beat in our hearts and we have a boldness in life that is not all bluster but born of the Spirit and the Word, and we know that an unspeakable joy awaits us. The boldness of our expectations about heaven and our prospects of eternal life are all secured in the Lord Jesus Christ. Believers do not wring their hands and wistfully hope all is well, pretending a peace that is nothing more than a weak defense against the fearful reality of death and judgment.

          No, the believer rests in Christ, His Work and His Word, and his or her view of the future rises upon that sure foundation. Jesus says,

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. “

John 14:1-6

Now, when this journey is done, it will seem like it was quite short and the way to home not long at all, but while we are still in the way, it can seem slow and tedious at times.

          I was once white water rafting on the Youghiogheny River in Pennsylvania. At times the ride was swift and awesome, but sometimes we would hit some doldrums—where the water seemed to stand still. We would row and row, but hardly move—it seemed like we were anchored in the river.

          It feels that way sometimes on this journey too. A few are chosen by God to ride in on a fast moving rapid that washes them onto the beautiful shore like lightening, but most of us drift along, almost losing sight of any movement because of the demands and business of the present.

          So. Pushing spying faith out a little, we find this promise…

And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 35:10

Look at how the Christian believer is described in this prophetic promise. Believers are called the ransomed of the Lord.

          Here is the Holy Spirit, in the days of Isaiah the prophet, looking forward to the cross of Christ. You and I look back on it, but it has always been the hope of the redeemed of the Lord. And here is the distinguishing mark of each and every one on his or her way to heaven—including, I trust, everyone reading this—we are the ransomed of the Lord.

          At that moment, when we approach heaven, no other title matters. It won’t matter what offices we have held, what we have or have not accomplished—your acceptance into your Father’s home rests on your being ransomed by the Son and nothing else.

          The term, the Ransomed of the Lord, implies that you were once slaves in bondage. But now, you stand before God ransomed in Christ.

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Hebrews 2:14-15

We were slaves, but we enter heaven as free men and women. And why? Because of the cross to be sure, it is the thing that opens heaven for us—but what is it that provided the cross? Is it not God’s special love for you?

To stop at Calvary is to trace the river but halfway to its source. WINSLOW

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:9-10

There was once a little granddaughter, who during the time of the Covenanter crisis in Scotland was carrying food to her grandfather and a fellow preacher who were hiding in a cave. It was a dangerous business for a little girl and she was captured by British dragoons who were trying to find the two men of God.

          They tried to force the little girl to give up her grandfather and take them to the cave. Getting nowhere, they threw the little one into a wet bog and as she began to sink, they told her she could tell them what they wanted to know or drown and die.

          The soldiers themselves reported that the little Christian replied, “I’d rather go and join my Uncle Henry and be with Christ.” The same dragoons had executed her uncle the year before.

          And they watched with unbelief, as she slowly slipped under the peat bog.

          That little hero of the faith was sure of three things—that she had been ransomed by Christ—that she would be in Christ’s presence—and that she would stand before Him with her beloved Uncle Henry.

          The soldiers had no threat that could extinguish that hope and expectation. This is the believer’s delight and we need to pray that the noise and commotion, distraction and tediousness of this world will not be allowed to obscure it for us.

         

If you are without this hope and want to talk about it, give us a call, or join us Sunday, or at one of our small groups—we’d love to talk with you about it.

Pastor