That holiness without which no man shall see the Lord is not a holiness we must perform, but holiness planted in us: — “Christ in you, the hope of Glory.”
• The Lord willing, we will host our 30TH ANNUAL SOVEREIGN GRACE BIBLE CONFERENCE Friday – Sunday, September 4-6. • SOVEREIGN GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH in New Caney, TX has asked me to assist in the ordination of their pastor, Bro. David Eddmenson this week. The Lord willing, Bro. David Pledger and I will conduct the ordination service Thursday evening at 7:30 P.M. and I will preach Friday night at 7:30.
Saving, Covenant Love — Don Fortner (Tune: # 46 — O For A Thousand Tongues — CM )
1. Awake, my soul, and join the song, Sung by God’s saints above. No theme so well employs the tongue, As saving, cov’nant love.
2. When o’er His wond’rous works of grace, Revealed by God I rove, I see the worst of Adam’s race Are saved by cov’nant love.
3. My Surety’s work, my Father’s word, Forever firm shall prove; The Spirit’s gifts, (O blessed Lord!) Sweet proofs of cov’nant love.
4. My life and strength, my joy and peace, My hope of bliss above — My union with the Prince of Peace, All flow from cov’nant love.
5. Here then I’ll live; and here I’ll die! From here I will not move: And, when I sit with Christ on high, I’ll sing of cov’nant love.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.” (Philippians 1:21-23)
Death for the believer is gain, infinite, immeasurable gain. Paul was confident that as soon as he departed from this world he would immediately be with Christ in blessed communion. Believing the Word and promise of God, he looked upon death as a desirable thing.
The Immediate Place
What is the state of the saints’ life between death and the resurrection? About that, little is revealed; but it is certain that the souls of God’s saints are not floating around in the sky. They have gone to a specific place where Christ is (Luke 23:43). They are assembled as a glorified church (Hebrews 12:22-23).
They exist in a recognizable form. Moses and Elijah stood upon the mount of transfiguration in a recognizable form (Matthew 17:3). When the rich man saw Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom, he saw and recognized him as the very same man who laid by his gate upon the earth (Luke 16:23).
Do God’s saints in heaven have a body between death and the resurrection? A physical body? No. A spiritual body, a heavenly form, a house for their souls? — Most definitely (2 Corinthians 5:1). Every believer, as soon as he leaves this body, enters into heavenly glory with a heavenly body with Christ. It is this assurance of heavenly glory and bliss that makes death a desirable thing for the believer.
The Intermediate House
In 2nd Corinthians 4:17 - 5:9 the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to tell us plainly that as soon as this earthly house is dissolved we have a “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” What is that house? Some say the house is heaven itself. Perhaps, Paul is saying, “We have a heaven in the heavens,” but I do not think that is his meaning. Others say that this “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” refers to the resurrection body; but Paul is not speaking here of the resurrection. He is telling us about the state of God’s saints immediately after the death of the body. It seems obvious to me that the Apostle is here declaring that as soon as we drop this earthly house of clay, we enter into another house for our souls, an intermediate body that is specifically prepared for that blessed state.
Every word in the passage shows a distinct contrast between this new house and the old one. — The old is a tent. The new is a building. — The old, though not made with hands, was made what it is, a house of death, defiled and made defective by the sin and fall of our father Adam. The new is God’s work and God’s gift. — The old is temporal and perishing. The new is eternal.
When Paul says we have this house “in the heavens,” it is plain that he is not talking about heaven itself. This house is a new body, replacing and surpassing the old. It is in the heavens in the sense that it is God’s gift, something he has for us where he is, and which we shall wear there. “We have it” means “it is ours.
“In this (house) the saints have a present interest. They have it already built and prepared for them. They have an indubitable right and title to it through the righteousness of Christ. They have it secured to them in Christ, their head and representative. And they have the earnest of it, the Spirit of God in their hearts. Of all which they have sure and certain knowledge: ‘for we know’. They are well assured of the truth of this from the promise of God, who cannot lie, from the declaration of the Gospel, the testimony of the Spirit and the close and inseparable connection there is between the grace they have already received and the glory that shall be hereafter.” — John Gill
If we had the wisdom of Solomon, we too would “praise the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.” If we could see by faith that which John saw by revelation, if we could grasp something of the glory and happiness of God’s saints in heaven, even now, at this very moment, we would say with that beloved disciple, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.”
Unbelief a Choice Faith a Gift
Unbelief is a choice men make, a decision of the rebel will of unregenerate souls. Again and again we read this accusation against the wicked in the Book of God: — “Ye will not believe.” In fact, this is set before us as the very core of wickedness in fallen man. — “They believe not on me” (John 16:9). The wicked perish because they choose not to trust the Son of God. Men and women shall justly bear the judgment of God forever in hell because they will not to believe.
But faith in Christ is never spoken of in Scripture as a decision people make. Faith is never represented as something men will to do. Faith in Christ is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). It is the operation of God the Holy Spirit in us (Colossians 2:12), born in us by that same omnipotent, resurrection power of God that raised Christ from the dead (Ephesians 1:19). Faith in Christ is the fruit of life bestowed. As the new born infant finds himself breathing, so the heaven born soul finds himself believing.
If you now find yourself believing on the Son of God, it is because He has given you everlasting life. If you will not to believe, it is because the wrath of God abides on you (John 3:36).
June 14, 2009
GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH of DANVILLE 2734 Old Stanford Road-Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438 Telephone (859) 236-8235 - E-Mail [email protected]
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor
Schedule of Regular Services
Sunday 10:00 A.M. Bible Classes 10:30 A.M. Morning Worship Service 6:30 P.M. Evening Worship Service