In our last post (7C), we briefly laid out three principles that provide the Biblical basis for enjoying in the present our co-residence with Christ in Heaven. As I started late, and ran out of oomph, I really didn't give anything more than a teenincey teaser for principle #3. Let me encourage you to review with me these three principles, with a much closer look at the third:
1. My identity as a new (heavenly) creature IN CHRIST; because God has regenerated me as a member of the New Creation of God (Revelation 3:14; II Corinthians 5:14-18), I am intimately IDENTIFIED with, or INCLUDED IN, CHRIST. God, the Father sees me always IN HIM (Romans 6:1-11; I Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 1:6 KJV). Therefore, I AM SEATED IN HEAVEN NOW, by virtue of the fact that CHRIST IS IN HEAVEN as my Federal Head, my Representative, my Forerunner, and more; HE IS MY TRUE LIFE (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 3:1-4).
2. God sees "the end from the beginning," and will certainly not fail to accomplish ALL He purposes to do (Isaiah 46:9-10; Ephesians 1:11). From the moment I "got saved," I was ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEED a permanent dwelling in Heaven (John 5:24; 6:36-50; 10:27-28; 14:1-3; 17:24). Since God already speaks of my glorified state in the PAST TENSE (Romans 8:29-30), there is no chance whatsoever that this will not take place!
As God is not bound by time, from God's eternal perspective, I am already a citizen of Heaven, A HEAVEN-DWELLER, though my physical presence there has not yet been realized in time (Philippians 3:20; Colossians 3:3-4; Hebrews 10:19-22; 12:22-24; II Corinthians 4:17-18).
Please consider I John 3:1-2. The idea here is that WHAT GOD AFFIRMS I TRULY AM NOW, a "son of God," is NOT what is "manifested," or what "appears," in space and time. Likewise, what is "manifested" here and now, in this physical world, is NOT necessarily an accurate picture of WHAT I TRULY NOW AM (a son of God; a citizen of Heaven)! John goes on to describe, in verses 3-10, just what a son of God truly DOES look like, when fully manifested: he looks LIKE CHRIST!
A clear, repeated principle of the New Testament is that God wants us to take on HIS spiritual perspective BY FAITH; reckoning that to be the case, regardless of the way things APPEAR to our own human perspective (Romans 4:17-21; 6:11-14; Galatians 2:20; 5:24-25; 6:14), AND THANKING HIM FOR IT (which signifies that we really believe it and are actively APPROPRIATING it; we ARE trusting Him for this!)! I can reckon on my Heavenly citizenship as a present reality. My true, ETERNAL ABODE is Heaven, NOT this sick, sin-ravaged wilderness; I rightly BELONG to Heaven, and Heaven rightfully belongs to me RIGHT NOW (I Corinthians 3:21-23)!
3. The Bible speaks of a principle called "the rejoicing of hope" (Romans 5:2; Hebrews 3:6), particularly throughout the Book of Hebrews. The Greek word translated "rejoicing" (kauchachomai) can also mean to "glory," as in a "jubilant boasting." It describes a rejoicing in something that is so triumphant, so jubilant, it is even outwardly manifested as a confident exultation, boasting, or "GLORYING."
VERY IMPORTANT (and extremely cool!): This "rejoicing of hope" is tied in with the activity of faith described in Hebrews 11:1: "Now, faith is the SUBSTANCE of THINGS HOPED FOR." Another way of rendering this is "Now, faith is the GIVING SUBSTANCE TO things hoped for." In other words, when I exercise FAITH in something God has promised me, God gives that promise "SUBSTANCE;" a strong sense of concrete reality and being, in my soul (my inner man, including my mind, and the seat of my emotions and will).
Therefore, as I PLACE MY TRUST IN WHAT GOD SAYS IN HIS WORD, and exercise FAITH in the HOPE He has given me, He rewards that faith with a greater, stronger inner conviction of the reality (SUBSTANCE) of these "things hoped for," to the extent they become so very real and certain to me that I can truly enjoy and REJOICE IN THEM by faith as if THEY WERE EVEN NOW IN MY PHYSICAL POSSESSION!
This is what the Bible refers to as "the rejoicing (or "glorying," or "boasting") OF HOPE. Through the OPERATION of FAITH, the things God has given me to HOPE in, have become so very real and personal to me, I jubilantly rejoice, boast, and GLORY in them, just as if I had them in my possession HERE AND NOW (please take the time to examine Hebrews 11:13-16. It really should be read in the KJV; sorry, but there really IS a difference [and it's not my fault that there is!] ).
If this explanation sounds rather new and different to you, I urge you to truly comb the scriptures; do a thorough, objective, open-minded exegetical study (like a "good Berean" -- Acts 17:11); particularly of the Book of Hebrews, and see if it doesn't ring true.
Several great old Bible commentators also see it this way, and, in fact, had a huge influence on my understanding of the operation of FAITH and "the rejoicing of hope." Please check for yourself the commentaries of Matthew Henry, Matthew Poole, Adolphe Saphir and John Nelson Darby on Hebrews chapter eleven, particularly the first couple verses!
It is based on these three principles that I believe God wants us to see ourselves as seated in Heavenly places even now, as we make our way as pilgrims or sojourners through the wilderness of this temporal life in a fallen and condemned world.
There is yet a fourth scriptural principle on which I may elaborate later, should time allow.
But PLEASE, prayerfully study the relevant passages in your Bibles, and meditate on them, asking the Lord for HIS enlightenment and discernment, to sort out what is merely man's feeble thoughts, and what is truly the unveiling of His.
More soon, Lord willing.