Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Bible for the Intermediate State?

2 Corinthians 5:5-10

The Intermediate State

If we are to be judged at the judgment seat of Christ for what we have done in the body, how come older (wiser) believers seem to spend so much of their time reading their Bibles? Is the intermediate state going to be a sort of heavenly Sunday School where there will be sweets on offer for answering Bible knowledge questions?

Right, before you start rhapsodising about what literally heavenly sweets might taste like, let me remind you that we won't have bodies in the intermediate state (so what good would sweets do you?) and let me confess that I don't tend to think of reading as something done either, but it is.
• We think wrong if we think that time spend Bible reading could be better spend doing something 'useful.'
• We ought not to think of time spent in prayer as time taken away from doing something useful.
• Do we think that Mary (as in Mary-and-Martha) will have lost her reward in heaven because she chose the better part of sitting, listening to Jesus?

Prayer, Bible reading and meditation are all works that will stand in the judgment as good and for pursuing them there will be the reward for the faithful servant but the wise pursuit of these things is not entered into merely to lay up treasure in heaven. These things are 'means of grace' whereby we practice the presence of Christ now in the hope of being in his presence ere long.

And it isn't as though the Word of God isn't going to be in heaven!
• There will be no temple in the New Jerusalem because 'its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb' [Revelation 21:22.]
• There is no need of either Sun or Moon because there is no night; 'the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb' [Revelation 21:23.]
• And we won't need our Bibles there because the Lamb is the Word of God.

But Revelation doesn't talk about there being no Bibles there. Instead it says, 'No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him' [Rev 22:3.] Because of the one who was once accursed there will be no longer anything accursed. Be encouraged in the faith to do well, not for merit but for Jesus, who, needing no merit for himself, did all and bore all for us.

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