Our theme for this month: “Understanding Salvation”
Our Bible verse for today: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Your spiritual stature is determined in this lifetime.”
The consummation of the salvation process occurs in two stages, both of which take place after the death of the physical body. Stage one occurs at the time of death when the spirit is released to join God in heaven. You will be a spirit-being (2 Corinthians 5:1-6) and at that point you will have the spiritual stature that will be yours for all eternity. The second stage occurs later, after the second coming of Christ, at which time all believers receive their resurrection bodies (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; 1 Corinthians 15:52). We will talk more about the resurrection body in a future devotional.
Life in heaven is actually a continuation of your life on earth. Your eternal life began the moment you placed your faith in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. The physical death of your mortal body simply results in a change of address. Your abode shifts from earth to heaven. There will be many differences between your life on earth and the one you will have in heaven – it will be a great improvement, but there is a direct connection between the two.
In his helpful little book, “The Doctrine of Salvation”, Dr. Darrell Robinson explained it this way: “Believers will enter heaven as the same persons but as transformed persons … the persons we are at death or at the second coming of Christ we will continue to be in heaven. This life is the time for developing Christlikeness in character. All of God’s children will be true children of God and will share the same eternal life, but we will not be of the same spiritual stature. Capacity for God and for spiritual experience is an important factor for life in heaven. Maturing in Christlikeness is central in our developing a capacity for enjoyment in heaven. A Bible professor illustrated this point by comparing the Christian life to containers. One person, having developed in Christian maturity, has become like a gallon container. Another has developed a life like a pint container. In heaven each will be filled to overflowing. Each fully enjoys heaven according to his capacity for spiritual appreciation.”
The transition out of this life and into the next is where the second and third stages of the salvation process meet and converge. Sanctification leads to consummation, and the nature of the consummation is derived from the process of sanctification. How you live in this life has a direct impact on what eternity will be like for you. Jesus taught this truth as well. Tomorrow we will consider some of what He had to say about it.