Regardless of what difficulties and trials we may be passing through at present or in the will of God may yet be called upon to pass through in the future, the outlook for the believer is, nevertheless, glorious and heavenly.
The Believer’s Citizenship
When the Lord, through His wondrous grace, saved us He also changed our outlook just as he did for Abraham when the patriarch was still in ‘Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran’ (Acts 7:2). The God of glory appeared unto him and called him out of Ur of the Chaldee and from that moment Ur was no longer the city Abraham looked for. The Lord had filled His vision with another city ‘For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God’ (Hebrews 11:10). The God of glory had changed Abraham’s citizenship as He has changed ours, like Paul says in Philippians 3:20: ‘For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ”. We, as believers, live here in the light of our new citizenship. Heaven governs our dealings and it is with the heavenly home in mind that we live our lives.
A few years ago I was listening to a businessman being interviewed on the radio. He spoke about character and ethics in business and how he had been greatly influenced by his father’s character. He spoke about his early years in the north east of England where his father worked as a coal miner. His father would rise early in the morning and light the fire for the family and did not come home from the pit until late. But as a young boy he so loved and respected his father that he would get up early just to spend a little time with him. In later life he joined the merchant navy and was in many foreign ports with all their seeming attractions for a young man. While others were indulging, he said there always arose a question in his mind, “what would my father think?” His actions were governed by home and it is the same for the child of God.
The Believer’s Hope
‘From whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ’
It is from heaven that we look for the Saviour who is our very life and hope. The old saying states ‘where there’s life there’s hope’ and indeed this is true concerning the believer in Christ, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:3-4). He is the glorious Head from which all the body derives its life. Our hope is not directed at anything or anyone here, for the blessed hope of the believer is not a movement or a cause but the Lord Himself. He is our Outlook we look and wait for Him. The Apostle John tells us that “every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure” (1 John 3:3), but what hope is John describing here? We find it in the previous verse: “When He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is”. Note the continual use of the personal pronouns He and Him in this lovely verse. He is the object and that is why the Thessalonian believers waited, not for death nor even for revival but for the Lord “…and to wait for His Son from heaven” (1 Thessalonians 1:10). It is important to note that they were not inactive as they waited for they served the living and true God and from them sounded out the Word of the Lord. In Psalm 39:7 David asks a very searching question and answers it in the same verse “And now Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in Thee”. Nothing less than the Lord Himself will do. It is the Lord Himself who is coming ‘For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout…’ (1 Thessalonians 4:16). He is the blessed hope of the believers, the only hope for a groaning creation and the remnant of Israel’s hope in a day of great tribulation. Our affections therefore are not to be centred upon the earth or things pertaining to the earth but are to be fixed at God’s right hand in heaven.
The Believer’s Home
“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). The reason for setting our affection on and seeking those things which are above is given to us in Colossians 3:1 It is “where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God”. This is the blessed Person who ‘was come from God, and went to God’ (John 13:3). He is no longer on the cross or in the tomb but seated on the right hand of God. The work, which the Father gave Him to do is accomplished and He rests in the accomplishment of that finished work and we are eternally at rest in Him. However, while we are yet here we have a body of humiliation. The apostle Paul himself asked in Romans 7:24 “who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” While we are yet here ‘we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened’ (2 Corinthians 5:4). It is only when we see Him that we shall be like Him. “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself” (Philippians 3:21). In this body we sin and sorrow and suffer, we faint and falter and fail but not in the body that He will fashion for us. It will be like unto His glorious body fitted for heaven of which He has even now made us citizens.