"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).
PONDER WHERE WE HAVE COME!
" But ye are come unto . . . " (Hebrews 12:22)
By Given O. Blakely
In Christ Jesus we have been brought to a place never before occupied by men. It is a high place – a place of blessing, advantage, and Divine fellowship. It is a place that cannot be accessed by Satan, and in which benefits are enjoyed that cannot be found anywhere else. As a domain it is referred to as "heavenly places."
We have NOT come to a place like Sinai, where the Law was given, the people quaked, and a sharp variance between men and God was made known – a mount that can be "touched" with natural capacities. This is not a place where rules are imposed upon the dwellers that grind against their spirits and contradict their natures. Those who occupy these lofty realms have been changed by regeneration. They have new hearts and new spirits (Ezek 26:36), are reconciled to God (Col 1:20), and love and serve Him because they want to (1 John 4:19). They live by His Word (Lk 4:4), and His commandments are "not grievous" to them (1 John 5:3).
There is no place for self-centeredness in the kingdom of God – the kingdom which we have "received" (Heb 12:28), and the place to which we "are come!" Christ is the heart and core of everything. Whatever is not, in some way, directly related to Him, is destined to perish, passing away with the world. That is the reasoning behind our call to holy separation (2 Cor 6:17). That is why Jesus, according to the will of God, "delivered us from his present evil world" (Gal 1:4). We have now been joined to a kingdom that is eternal. As it is written, "But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel" (Heb 12:22-24). Those are all things that are not in any way characterized by mortality! They are all free from taint, corruption, and the curse of God. Ponder the magnitude of the environment into which you are come in Christ Jesus.
1. MOUNT ZION. This is the heavenly parallel to Sinai, the mountain from which the Law was given (Deut 4:48). Here the Lamb of God is seen with the saved, governing His kingdom (Rev 14:1). It is where we have been made to "sit" (Eph 2:6) – the spiritual local where fellowship with God and Christ is realized (1 Cor 1:9; 1 John 1:3). It where "all spiritual blessings" are made accessible to us.
2. THE CITY OF THE LIVING GOD. This is a term denoting the realm where God dwells, or remains. It is compared with earthly Jerusalem, which was called "the city of God" (Psa 46:4; 87:3). But this is the "city of the LIVING God" – His permanent abode, around and within which nothing corrupting can be found. This place is characterized by an acute consciousness of God, and a certain delight that results from the awareness of His presence.
3. THE HEAVENLY JERUSALEM. This is the Jerusalem "which is above" (Gal 4:26) that is free and unencumbered with the entailments of the flesh. It is the place of heavenly commerce and fellowship. It depicts a society of personalities, more than a mere habitat. Heavenly influences are realized in this place, being effectualized through those who have been reconciled to God.
4. AN ENUMERABLE COMPANY OF ANGELS. These are spirits that "cannot die" (Lk 20:36). As compared with men, they "excel in strength," always "doing His commandments," and "hearkening to the voice of His word" (Psa 103:20). These are ministering spirits sent exclusively to minister to those who are the heirs of salvation through their union with Christ (Heb 1:13-14).
5. THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND CHURCH OF THE FIRSTBORN WHICH ARE WRITTEN IN HEAVEN. This is the church from heaven's point of view. It is comprised of all of the redeemed. They are recognized and honored in heaven, their names being recorded on the register of heavenly citizens. These personalities are all of one accord and one mind, have the same goal, and are all engaged in running the race that is set before them. So far as being in the world, they are the preeminent people – the solitary group upon which God has set His love.
6. GOD THE JUDGE OF ALL. This is the one true God who not only has "created us" (Mal 2:10), but to whom we will ultimately give a full and untainted account (Rom 14:12). Those who are of the world hold a certain disdain for this God. They do not love Him, obey Him, or desire Him. The last thing they think about God is that He is the Judge of all – yet that is precisely who He is. Those who "are come" to this blessed environment do not cringe at the thought of God being the Judge, but maintain a joyful consciousness of that fact.
7. THE SPIRITS OF JUST MEN MADE PERFECT. These are the redeemed that are no longer "in the body" – they are "absent from the body" and "present with the Lord" (2 Cor 5:6,8). They no longer live under the constraints of mortality. The redeemed who remain this world are not referred to as "spirits." There is a single reference to "the spirits of the prophets," but that is not a term applied to the prophets themselves. This is rather term that applies to the redeemed who are not longer "in the body." The redeemed who remain in this world can confess with Paul himself, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus" (Phil 3:12). The "spirits of just men made perfect" have passed beyond that limitation.
8. JESUS THE MEDIATOR OF THE NEW COVENANT. This is the Savior who is presently administrating the New Covenant. Through the Holy Spirit, He is putting the laws of God into our hearts, and writing them upon our minds. He is acquainting us with God, so that we "know" Him. In Him God becomes our God, and we become His people. These are all promised benefits of the covenant that Jesus is administrating (Heb 8:10-13; 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 8:6; 9:15).
9. THE BLOOD OF SPRINKLING THAT SPEAKS BETTER THINGS THAN THAT OF ABEL. This is the effective blood of Christ that brings justification (Rom 5:9), redemption (Eph 1:7), nearness to God (Eph 2:13), forgiveness (Col 1:14), peace (Col 1:20), boldness to enter God's presence (Heb 10:19), and redemption from vain living (1 Pet 1:18-19). It is the blood that sanctifies, causing the saved to be acceptable to, and useable by, the living God (Heb 10:29; 13:12). Whereas Abel's blood cried out for vengeance (Gen 4:10-11), this blood cries out for justification and acceptance.
Is there any room for "flesh" or "self" in these realities? What is there in them that would make for placing a high value on the things of this world, or fleshly gratification, or living for ourselves? How does self-indulgence, fulfilling the lust of the flesh, and the love of the world blend with them? It is abundantly evident that all of these realities are separate from this world, and are realized to the extent that we are strangers and pilgrims in the world (1 Pet 2:11). That is precisely why we must be delivered from the world to obtain them. Further, if we do not obtain them, there is no hope of being saved.
This is the fellowship to which we have come. This is precisely where every person who is "born again" is brought. There are no "saved" people who have not come to these things. How can carnality possibly fit in with the place to which we are come in Christ? And, who is able to conceive of a salvation that is unrelated to all of these realities?
PRAYER POINT: Father, in the name of Jesus I thank You for the blessed environ in which You have caused me to dwell in Christ Jesus.
"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).