We have seen how earnest the ‘creature’ is about this end-time event called ‘rapture’ or manifestation of the sons of God; we have seen that the creature or entire creation of God is not only outstretched in its expectation and waiting eagerly for the manifestation of the sons of God since their own freedom depends on this; but are actually groaning about this. It was necessary to pose that if it takes the onlookers or spectators, as it were, to be all outstretched and full of groan what will it take those to be ‘raptured’? And, indeed, we showed how imperative it is for the saints to actually groan. Scriptures was our recourse. And lastly the place of the Holy Spirit in our groaning because of the final redemption of our bodies or the rapture and things related positively or otherwise to it was captured. And we said that the Bible says the Holy Spirit helps us with groaning: words that cannot be uttered. All of the above were necessary with relation to the manifestation of the sons of God.
So, we come now directly to the subject matter of the manifestation of the sons of God. And it becomes really important to ask and answer the question: Who are the people to be manifested as sons of God, eternal sons of God; who are the persons that are causing the earnest expectation, the patient waiting for of their manifestation among all creation?
“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” – Romans 8: 19-27.
We take the nineteenth verse specifically: “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” Or, as New Living Translation puts it: “For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.” Who are they?
First of all, they are sinners who have been saved by grace. Salvation from sin or the washing of the soul of man from all sin and that by the Blood of Jesus Christ that He shared for the sins of humanity at the Cross of Calvary is what opens eternity with God to man. In Pondering Eternity I succinctly told the story of sin and how it damned a priceless soul to the fire of eternal damnation; to the soul’s gracious redemption in Jesus Christ; and to man’s eternal restoration to God in a poem, “The Making of God’s Eternal Worshipers”, which I wish to reproduce here:
O this precious and priceless soul,
Sin its spoilage, and sin its woe.
O its sorely eternal place;
This being God’s unchanging sentence!
What then can cleanse sin from man’s soul?
Or, what can make priceless soul whole?
It’s Sinless Blood for sinful men!
Ah! Answer truly not with men.
Is there then any true way out;
And yea, a certain escape route?
Can earth-folk a redeemer find?
Nay, not ‘midst its wretch’d mortal kind!
So then, God drew salvation plan,
His Love occasioned it for man
And His Grace brought it to us all
Oh, the Cross where He paid it all!
For God loving the soul so rich,
And abhorring seeing one perish;
Sin, being its sad eternal loss:
Gave His Only Begotten Son!
The reason comes so clear and bold:
For without the shedding of blood,
There is no remission of sins.
This, the LAW requirement for sin!
And Triune-God reached some accord:
Gave us Him that’s the Lamb of God;
Immanuel, this is God with us;
Jesus, God in the flesh He is!
This is mission divine: the Cross!
Yes, onward to Calvary’s Cross,
He that’s our Creator for us went,
For your sins and mine to remit.
O the Agony for our mess;
O the Pains Jesus bore for us;
O the Scorn from humanity;
But the Lord endured all of it!
Yet, forsaken by His Father;
Though He sent Him for this matter.
Disowned by Him for this reason:
God can’t behold one single sin!
But the Son took ALL, ALL OUR SINS.
My dear, think seriously on this;
Lay it real well and firm in you.
Grace is free; grace covers all sins!
Sin conquered, death must be also.
Buried, on the third day He rose.
And Satan’s pow’r He has rubbish’d!
Halleluyah: ‘It is finished’.
Hear the kind call of the Savior:
“Come to Me, all you that labor,
And you that are heavy-laden,
Rest in your souls will I give thee.
My yoke receive, and of Me learn;
For I’m meek and lowly in heart.
Then, rest for your souls you shall find:
For My yoke is easy, weight light”
Ere time and grace for’ver be gone,
Hear as eternity beckons:
The GREAT SEPARATION is nigh,
The saved shall be with God on high.
Caught up in the twinkling of eye!
The sting of death gone forever!
Power of the grave fully crushed!
Sin, death, grave totally vanquished!
No more Satan now, forever;
No more sickness now, forever;
No more sorrow now, forever;
And no sin again, forever!
Eternal damnation now passed;
And henceforth eternally bless’d;
Man with the Triune-God to dwell:
And free at last, from sin and hell!
O Christ’s wondrous Calvary Cross!
O so great and marvelous Grace!
O Love so boundless, and so tall!
Thank You Lord God that paid it all!
And to the Lord slain for our sins,
The saints shall come with songs and hymns
Singing with rich angelic tone
Before Your Rainbow-Circled Throne.
Unending worship to render,
As holy, reverent adorers:
So fulfilling creation purpose!
’Cause of the Savior slain for us!
Salvation from sin is the initial step to that glorious eternity. To belong here is to be generally qualified to be in the rapture when Jesus comes to take His people home. These are those whose souls have been washed and made void of sin with that precious Blood of Jesus shared for all humanity because they have truly confessed their sins to God through Christ Jesus. Or, they are those who have therefore recognize their sins, recognize their helplessness at saving themselves in the face a pending eternity with Satan in the Lake of Fire and Brimstone, and recognize the Only escape route that Jesus Christ is, approach Him to acknowledge and confess their sins, ask Him for mercy and forgiveness and appropriate His Blood accordingly. Those at this general level are actually those that Jesus Christ came to seek and indeed found.
With that you have joined the class of humanity that is supposed to be manifested as eternal sons of God if you keep the faith or stay on the path of obedience to God; and grace to do all that is guaranteed in the Word of God and in the Holy Spirit. The difference between ‘many are called but few are chosen’ or between the first salvation and the final salvation depends on our attitude to God’s Word and our relationship with the Holy Spirit.
“For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.” So, who are they eventually among the saved souls – among those He came seeking and indeed found?
The Generation that seek the Lord
They are those seeking Him among those He sought and found. Not those saved and now are at ease in Zion! Not those saved and now are dividing their loyalty between the Lord and Savior God, and the unrighteous mammon. Not those saved but are now trying to live to please the flesh. And not those saved but are now seeking the things God says He will add to us and wanting God to add the things He says we should seek!
Those that He now has found must thereafter now seek Him, and this is the Christian life: Ever seeking Him Who sought and found us! And in this continual seeking is the hope of the saints in the coming rapture.
Specifically speaking then, they that would qualify for the rapture is those among the above general number that will now seek the Lord, as it were, in return. It is the seeking of the Kingdom of God and its righteousness. It is seeking to conform to the Image of God’s Only Begotten Son and our Savior – Jesus Christ. It is seeking Him to be like Him.
They are the generation that seeks the Lord. We would see the Old Testament. In Psalm 24:3-6 we read: “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek Him, that seek thy face, O Jacob”
This is the generation of them that seek Him, which seek Thy Face, O Jacob!
To the New Testament Church the Psalmist would put it this way: This is the generation of them that seek Him, which seek Thy Face, O Church! O Church! Be it in America, Europe, Asia, and Africa or wherever, this is the generation of them that seek God. The generation that seeks mundane things does not seek God and will not see Him. No man drags along with him mundane things in his mountain walk to that city that has foundation and home of the blessed forever and hopes to get there.
And Psalm 15 captures it similarly: Psalm 15:1-5 “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.”
The Psalmist did not bother here to pose the most serious question mortal man can ask to another mortal man or any minister for that matter, for they would fleshly answer it otherwise if many a ministers messages are anything to go by today. He asked God Who does not diminish from His standard for man. And God’s answer is this: “He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.”
There is a generation that seeks the Lord; the generation that is “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” – Titus 2: 13: There is a generation that seeks the Lord. They look for the path that leads unto life, which way is narrow and which gate is strait; and they constantly hear the Masters’ silent Voice: Enter you in at the strait gate for many there are which find the broad way – Matthew 7: 13. Indeed, they hear the Voice of One always saying to them: ‘This is the way, walk you in it!’ So, they avoid the wide gate and the broad way; and deal carefully with those engulfed in it whether they are ministers or not. Like Job they can say: “But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” – Job 23: 10.
They obey the admonition of Psalm Number 1 in this matter: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the Law of the LORD; and in His Law doth he meditate day and night.” They deal carefully with those that love the world, who promote the world and the things the world can offer, and it doesn’t matter if they (the latter) twist or wrest scriptures for this purpose. They deal carefully and beware of false prophets in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. By the pure and undiluted Word of God they try to distinguish between grapes and thorns, figs and thistles; between the good tree that brings forth good fruit and the corrupt tree that brings forth evil fruits; and so they live their lives in a way as not to be hewn down and cast into the fire, and accordingly refused to compromise with fleshly messages from the pulpit and unholy living of whosoever; after all, by their fruits you shall know them (see Matthew 8: 15-20).
There is a generation that seeks the Lord. That is the generation to be manifested as sons of God. Jesus says we should seek first (hunt eagerly) the Kingdom of God and its righteousness and the other things will be added unto us and not otherwise – Mathew 6: 33 (compare Luke 15: 8). Let us seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness: This is what takes us to Heaven. But there are things that would be added as we seek the Kingdom and its righteousness: Gifts/talents, miracles, financial blessing etc which usages shall be graciously rewarded in Heaven if we holily, faithfully and humbly use them here anyway. But it is the life we live after salvation that determines making the rapture and Heaven. There shall be some works that are supposed to be rewarded in Heaven but will be unrewarded because the supposed recipients are not there. Holiness therefore remains the key thing. And we have been representing holiness all along with the few scriptures we have referred to.
Therefore, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure” – 1 John 3: 1-3. “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure” – This is the generation that seeks Him! The generation promised to be rapture!
And still, who are they? They are the men that sigh and cry for the abominations in the altar and pulpits, church and in the world. And consequently, they are the sealed and secured for the deliverance of God; as it is written: “And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof” – Ezekiel 9: 4.
The generation that seeks the Lord are the people who fear the Lord, shares God’s burden with one another and with God; and that thought upon the holy Name of God, and so consequently eschew anything evil: anything that reproaches that Name; and with this background they pray for themselves and intercedes for others, which is why the Lord hearkens, heard them and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them and which is finally why they shall be His in that day when He makes up His jewels, and shall spare them as a man spares his own son that serves him. For it is written: “And they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon His name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not” – Malachi 3: 16-18. This is the generation that seeks the Lord. And this is their glorious portion eternally when they are manifested as God’s sons.
Being among the Few that will make Heaven
They that seek the Lord are those that dare to be among the few today, and I captured this in one of my hymns: “Dare to be among the few today”. We here represent it:
Dare to be among the few today.
For while few are purifying their lives,
While on heaven they focus remain,
Multitude is at ease in Zion!
Multitude is at ease in Zion;
Many there are that find the broad-way.
Lord, never let me so to be.
Make me stick with the few on the strait way,
To be rapture-ready at the Last Trump!
Dare to be among the few today.
For while few are prayer-overwhelmed,
Because our very Lord expects this,
Multitude is at ease in Zion!
Dare to be among the few today.
For while few are selfishly preaching,
Not for selfish gain or belly’s sake,
Multitude do surfeit in Zion!
Dare to be among the few today.
For while few become like Barnabas,
Though wealthy, yet living poor for Christ,
Multitude do surfeit in Zion!
Dare to be among the few today.
For while few are hazarding their lives,
And some, in the swelling of Jordan,
Multitude is at ease in Zion!
They that seek the Lord in truth and in spirit are obviously few in our midst today. Truly, few are they that will make the Eternal Kingdom God at last. I wish to seek God and seek Him alone for I wish to be among the number, among the few that will make Heaven. And I wish all Christians to seek God and seek Him alone to be among the few that will make Heaven. After all: everyman that seeks finds. If we don’t find it is because will did not seek. And the admonition is that we should seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness.
So, let’s endeavor to be among the few: Earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints; endeavor to fight the good fight of faith; humbly condescend to men of low estate; endeavor to keep holy and always present our bodies as living sacrifice unto God; endeavor to flee youthful lust and endeavor not to love the unrighteous mammon, both of which have made many to make shipwreck of their faith; always endeavor to watch our thoughts and our words and ensure they line up with the Holy Spirit’s thoughts and God’s Word; endeavor to love the brethren with unfeigned love; endeavor as much as possible to live peaceably with all men and to lead a conscience void of offence toward God and man; endeavor to preach the undiluted gospel as we see it in the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles and the rest of Bible; endeavor to teach the will and mind of God as we see it in the divine pages; endeavor to build ourselves and the brethren or the body of Christ upon the foundation laid by the Apostles of Christ in the Bible; endeavor to always go to the throne of God to receive grace; try always to look unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith and endeavor to conform to His Image and His alone; endeavor to be light of the world in our little corners and salt of the earth in our little corners; and endeavor to live for His pleasure, for in Him we live and have our being.
Living for God’s Pleasure
Seekers of God live for God’s pleasure, and not for self. This must be at the back of our minds. For His pleasure we are created in the first place. And if by our restoration or redemption through Jesus Christ we are restored to His purpose of creating us, then it must be too that we are restored or redeemed to do His pleasure, and if we keep the faith, which is actually doing His pleasure after salvation, till He comes to take His own home at the rapture, then we shall be among them in that great and eternal consummation of His pleasure. And in His pleasure now, is our pleasure now; in His pleasure then shall be our pleasure. And may He deliver us from His displeasure: Now and then!
O the grace to live for Him faithfully and to serve Him faithfully! We must keep this ever in mind: We live for His pleasure; we serve to please Him and Him alone. In this is our joy now and through all eternity.
We have an addendum. It is a reproduction of a sub-chapter: “Living for His Pleasure” under the Chapter “Making it to that Indescribably Exquisite Heaven of God” from my book, Pondering Eternity:
“It is proper and expected that we know what displeases Him and what pleases Him and may we be so obedient to do that which is right in His sight in every circumstance – which is why He has given us His Holy Word and Holy Spirit for us to approach unto and tap graces from to live holily and acceptably for Him. That is how to live for Him. And that is how to live with eternity in view. This is what pleases Him; that is His pleasure.
“And in Jesus Christ alone we have grace to do this, and to do it to the end; even to the end when He comes in the rapture or catching away of the saints to receive His them (His own) to Himself eternally, even His precious jewels. These are those that live for His pleasure or those that please Him while breath they still have. These shall worship God forever and they shall both know the unimaginable comfort, bliss and glory that are in the presence of God everlastingly and a holy and perfect service to our God eternally.
“Until then may the prayerful confession and amen of Paul in 2 Tim. 4:18 be always ours: ‘And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.’ The perception Charles Spurgeon had of this scripture is most irresistible and must be visited presently.
“On 2 Timothy 4: 18 Spurgeon comments in his devotional: ‘Yonder city of the great King is a place of active service. Ransomed spirits serve Him day and night in His temple. They never cease to fulfill the good pleasure of their King. They always ‘rest,’ so far as ease and freedom from care is concerned; and never ‘rest,’ in the sense of indolence or inactivity. Jerusalem the golden is the place of communion with all the people of God. We shall sit with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in eternal fellowship. We shall hold high converse with the noble host of the elect, all reigning with Him who by His love and His potent arm has brought them safely home. We shall not sing solos, but in chorus shall we praise our King. Heaven is a place of victory realized. Whenever, Christian, thou hast achieved a victory over thy lusts--whenever after hard struggling, thou hast laid a temptation dead at thy feet--thou hast in that hour a foretaste of the joy that awaits thee when the Lord shall shortly tread Satan under thy feet, and thou shalt find thyself more than conqueror through Him who hath loved thee. Paradise is a place of security. When you enjoy the full assurance of faith, you have the pledge of that glorious security which shall be yours when you are a perfect citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem. O my sweet home, Jerusalem, thou happy harbour of my soul! Thanks, even now, to Him whose love hath taught me to long for Thee; but louder thanks in eternity, when I shall possess thee.
“My soul has tasted of the grapes,
And now it longs to go
Where my dear Lord His vineyard keeps
And all the clusters grow.
“Upon the true and living vine,
My famish'd soul would feast,
And banquet on the fruit divine,
An everlasting guest.”’
“But to live for His pleasure in eternity and to be overwhelmed with the eternal bliss, comfort and provisions of heaven we must first live for His pleasure now or in ‘time’. Living for His pleasure here, or what Paul by the Spirit in Romans 12:1-2 represents as presenting our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which also is our reasonable service; and being not conformed to this world: but being transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God; is making it to that indescribably exquisite heaven of God after our salvation.”
True Christianity/ Holy Living and Rapture
The entire creation of God is earnestly expecting the manifestation of the sons of God: Those that shall be like Him when He shall appear; those that shall see Him as He is! All men in all ages that had this hope purified their lives. Our age cannot be different. No message can make it secondary or be promoted above it. WITHOUT IT NO MAN SHALL SEE THE LORD – Hebrews 12: 14.
There must always necessarily be a letting go, a purging and an emptying of ourselves; a refining, molding and humbling of us after the Image of God’s dear Son. Those that do are empowered as choice vessels to run with the will of God and finish the race set before us.
John 3:21 says that: “But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” A Christian does truth, that is, he says godly things and does godly works and that from a godly or divinely approved heart and not in hypocrisy and not driven by any other consideration other than the will of God, or what Finis Jennings Dake explains as one who actively produces gospel fruit by being a doer of the Word (James 1:22-27; James 2:14-26; Matthew 5:16; Matthew 7:15-20); this man comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God.
The real Christian, as a song writer would say, doesn’t feel at home in this world anymore. Like Paul the apostle by the Spirit would say in Philippians 1:21-24: “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: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”
The true Christian is glued to Heaven, leaving here as if the trumpet would sound now. He tarries for the coming of the Lord to rapture His own. Why tarrying he has the command to occupy till He comes. And just as you cannot separate holy living from tarrying, you cannot also separate occupation, holy occupation from tarrying. Indeed holy living and holy ‘occupying’ are the two prongs of this tarrying. To tarry is to live holily till He comes to take us home. And to tarry is to occupy approvingly till He comes to take us home to apportion us our rewards. Salvation is the passport and holy living is the visa that takes us to be with God. Holy works (not just works, no matter how seemingly fruitful in the eyes of men) determine who we become when we get there.
Then what? Holy living, more of holy living, and yet more and more until we see our Savior and know Him as we are known. What does it entail? We here convey a most serious matter with sundry allusion to or paraphrases of Scriptures: It means keeping our garments spotless, our bodies without wrinkles; striving to entire in at the strait gate; walking on the narrow path; earnestly contending for the faith; and fighting the good fight of faith. It means seeking first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness; awaking to righteousness and sinning not; seeking the City that has foundation; laying our treasures in Heaven; and taking hold of eternal life. It means condescending to men of low estate; making our moderation known to all men; and fleeing youthful lust and every appearance of evil. It entails being steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord and pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. It has to do with thinking, speaking and doing all things with eternity in view. It asks for tongue taming, for in the mouth are issues of life and death; it requires letting all speech be unto edification and our words being seasoned with salt. It demands living and walking in the Spirit; walking after the Spirit; walking in the Light; walking as children of light; walking in love; and walking worthy of God. It is being the salt of the earth; the light of the world; an example of the believers. Sum: IMAGE OF CHRIST!
It commands avoiding them who preach the gospel for their belly sake and for filthy lucre sake; who make merchandise of men; who with good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple; who suppose that gain is godliness; and who have run greedily after Balaam’s error for reward. Fleeing all appearance of evil; and traditions of men within and without the church so-called (and their many damning wine of fornications) is part of it!
This most serious and earnest pleading which came to us by the mercies of God must always be ours to hearken to: “I beseech therefore, brethren, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable will of God” – Romans 12: 1-2. This is the generation that seeks the Lord! These are the candidates for the rapture.
We shall take the classic hymn of Jane Catharine Bonar (1821-1884) “Jesus is Mine!”
1. Fade, fade, each earthly joy, Jesus is mine!
Break every tender tie, Jesus is mine!
Dark is the wilderness, Earth has no resting place,
Jesus alone can bless, Jesus is mine!
2. Tempt not my soul away, Jesus is mine!
Here would I ever stay, Jesus is mine!
Perishing things of clay, born but for one brief day,
Pass from my heart away, Jesus is mine!
3. Farewell, ye dreams of night, Jesus is mine!
Lost in this dawning bright, Jesus is mine!
All that my soul has tried left but a dismal void;
Jesus has satisfied, Jesus is mine!
4. Farewell, mortality, Jesus is mine!
Welcome, eternity, Jesus is mine!
Welcome, oh, loved and blest, welcome sweet scenes of rest,
Welcome, my Savior’s breast, Jesus is mine!
This is the generation that seeks the Lord here revealed in few lines.
Christianity as Mountaineering
Only those living for Heaven or living with eternity in view really knows that hymn. The more we climb up the spiritual mountain – for Christianity is actually a mountain walk – the more earthly joy fades, earthly tender ties breaks, perishing things of clay pass from the heart away, and the more Jesus is ours; and if we remain in our climb upward and make it at last in the rapture, picture that redeemed, that finally redeemed – that manifested son of God – with these words rolling out:
Farewell, mortality, Jesus is mine!
Welcome, eternity, Jesus is mine!
Welcome, oh, loved and blest, welcome sweet scenes of rest,
Welcome, my Savior’s breast, Jesus is mine!
There is mountain-top Christianity! There is spiritual mountaineering. And we must all be in it. It is glorious getting to the end of this walk. The end of it takes us in that glorious flight with the Lord Himself. For now, we must be walking up there, to be near enough to hear the Last Trump of God; we must be walking up there to be light enough to be caught up in that flight that is like none. A journey upward is carefully taken. It is only those things needed in the journey that are allowed. To be overloaded is failure from day one. You lighten yourself!
And because this is a spiritual walk, we are referring to the overloads in our hearts; the unwanted things in the climb that the flesh excuses, lust justifies, the eye is enticed with, the will cannot resist and the mind for its weakness is prey to. The love of the world, the love of the things that are in the world: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” – 1 John 2: 15-17. The more we go up in the mountain, the more all these things fade, and the more of heaven is ‘introduced’ to us, the more our chances of making it there by and by; but the more Satan wants us not to press upward; also, the more the grace of God, the presence of God and the vision of Heaven is ours.
As we progress in our climbing we would come to discover that certain things we allowed way back should be gotten rid of now – thus bringing to bear lessons of experience and knowledge; and some things that inadvertently or otherwise just came in that ordinarily you would have not allowed way back cannot now be allowed to stay and must be gotten rid of – thus bringing to bear holy zeal and love of our youth for the Lord in our walk with our God. That is the Christian walk. As we grow in experience and knowledge in our walk with God, may our youthful love, zeal and fire for Christ not wane!
There is always a letting go. As we go ahead, and we become weary and tiresome, that simply could be suggesting that there may well be some thoughts or opinion that we have held tenaciously to that may be wrong which we may let go; or some character, attitude or habit not befitting your present level of Christianity that must be dealt with and conquer; or some debts to be settled, some restitutions and reconciliations to be made, or somebody to be forgiven or you must ask for forgiveness. The Bible says: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” – Hebrews 12:14; “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” – Matthew 5:9; “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men” – Acts 24:16
Or, it may be some objects or possessions we hold dearly to our hearts that we may let go; and depending on what they are, they may be what we may out rightly destroy or give to others who may have better need of them. We must say it parenthetically that it is very evident that many Christians are holding more, and some far more, than they require, and it slows the Christian holy walk with Christ. Really, we are only caretakers of all that we have, and the caretaker would give account some day. And we really cannot have holy, sweet and acceptable fellowship with God when we are debtors to the brethren. That is what we are when we close our channels of flow as caretakers. Caretakers who see themselves as landlords have uphill task walking up the mountain. They may count themselves blessed, and may even be seen as greats among the brethren but that matters nothing in spiritual walk with God. Caretakers indeed, channels of flow indeed, always have it smooth walking up because their treasures are laid up there, and their hearts are there, and so want to get there. There are things to let go, and so much.
Openness to the Spirit is crucial in knowing what to let go. Whatever it is, by the time we let go we become lighter to continue our walk with God. Remember, it may not only be what is bad and evil that may be let go! And remember, it comes continuously and thus helping our walk, for the more we let go the more of Jesus we receive and the more easily our walk with Him is.
Spiritual mountain walk is a walk of constant self-examination in the light of Scriptures, our service to God and our daily interactions and dealings with men. It is about constant consecration and rededication of our lives to God. It is about constant watching and praying. These are very vital parts of the walk if we will not make shipwreck of a holy calling and walk with God; if our journey will not become unnecessarily laborious and burdensome with the end result of looking back and letting ourselves to go altogether only because we refused to let go some things.
There is Mountain-top Christianity
We must always go to God in our walk with Him for cleansing, to empty us and fill us with more of His nature; to be manifested as sons of God on that day. As we go to Him the more of our frailties we would see and the more of His fullness and sufficiency we would know and receive and the more of Christ or more of His Image He would make us to become. No man goes to Him and he doesn’t let go those subtle evils like hidden pride in success or cleverly taking honor and glory in success.
And how about the way we talk? The tongue: That ruin of many! At the throne of grace many have learnt to receive grace in this matter of the tongue where lies the issues of death and life: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof”- Proverbs 18:21; if well used or wholesomely used can be a tree of life but otherwise a breach in the spirit: “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit” – Proverbs 15:4; if not bridled makes our religion vain: “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain” – James 1: 26; if not wrongly used is tantamount to perfection and bridling of the whole body: “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body” – James 3: 2; and indeed that part referred to as fire, a world of iniquity that can defile the whole body and set on fire the course of nature (that is, the course of destiny) and set on the fire of hell: “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell” – James 3: 6. The tongue! Spiritual mountain walkers do not use the tongue anyhow. Except it is unto edification, holy edification it is not allowed to be opened. The mountain walk is a laborious one for those who wrongly use the tongue, and who will not immediately remedy its evil once wrongly used.
After all, the mouth tells us the state of our hearts! And who vomits poison and says his heart is ok? If there are two things a spiritual mountaineer watches and prays about, it is the heart and that heart’s opening we all call ‘the tongue’.
There is mountain-top Christianity. Those that walk there are the generation that seek the Lord. They are the violent that take it by force. They are the holy ones by grace who resolve to always look up. The lighter we become the better and more focus our mountaineering. And we can only get there when we are as light as we should be. We must be as light as possible for the greatest flight in history: the Rapture, to accommodate us. We must be all outstretched with nothing behind, nothing of the world dragging us backward.
In this mountain walk we don’t compare ourselves with ourselves. Jesus is the only standard. The more of Jesus we see the more we know we must let go. And there is much we must let go as we go up higher and higher in the walk, in our Christian walk. Others because of the love of the world and the love of the things of the world may tolerate their much baggage and remain at one stop or even starts moving steps downwards but not those that really seek the Lord; not those who are expecting the rapture.
“Who shall ascend into the Hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of salvation. This is the generation of them that seek Him, that seek Thy Face, O Jacob” – Psalm 24: 1-6.
Mountain walkers must know fear and trembling; and carefulness and caution must be the watchwords. More so with spiritual walk! We must resolve to live for God, for His pleasure. We must ask for grace always and trust in same to lead us in both our walk with Him and work for Him. It behooves pilgrims to keep heavenly charges while on this side of eternity we still see ourselves.
Mountaineering needs more than the ordinary. Spiritual mountaineering needs a lot of spiritual resolve, a propelling force to keep you going and a stamina that keeps you pushing: And that is the Holy Spirit and the grace that come from Him, and total and complete trust in Him and that grace.
Many have descended down from their spiritual mountain walk. They have turned their backs to that Mountain Sublime, the blessed hope of all redeemed. Many who have trod the path that lead to eternal life have made shipwreck of their most precious faith. They came down because they refused to let go their loads. They came down because they thought it is a difficult journey. They came down because they tried to continue with the arm of the flesh. They came down, and some even crash-landed because they got the whole concept of Christianity wrong in the first place.
And there are even others who have not even climbed at all but talking and preaching ‘Christianity’ at the base of the mountain which is nothing different from the world; and so they actually preach worldliness, their flesh excusing them and not even allowing them to lay it to heart that Paul and Barnabas and others hazarded their lives for the gospel; and Peter and John and others forsook all for the gospel; and Stephen and others died for the gospel! Yes, we may not all become martyrs but we are all supposed to be violent, holy violence: in getting off sin, worldliness, lust of the flesh, pride of life, appearance of evil, filthy lucre. We are supposed to be violent, holy violence: in resisting Satan and surrendering all to Jesus and presenting our bodies a living sacrifice acceptable by Him and consequently becoming choice vessels in His Hands for His work: Lost in Jesus! That is violence, holy violence. This is the generation that seeks the Lord. It is only the violent, those taking it by force that shall be manifested on that day as sons of God. These are the ones ‘the earnest expectation of the creature’ points: Those sons of God, eternal sons of God, to be manifested.
Since the days of John the Baptist there is a mammoth holy struggle, a surge to get into the Kingdom of God. True: Many are called and so there is a spiritual traffic. And also true: Few shall be chosen. It is a race with terms that qualifies or disqualifies. This is where ‘many are called and few are chosen’ comes in, for, indeed, as the Scriptures put it, many shall seek to enter in but cannot.
But may we be among the few, the chosen: The manifested sons of God! In this wise the next chapter: “Saintly Counsels on making it at last!”, sub-divided into ‘The Rapture: Meditations for life’, ‘Still on Meditation’, ‘A Charge to Keep!’, ‘Taking Heed to our Ways’, ‘Preparing Ourselves for Death’, ‘The Rapture and two Prayer Points’, may be also rewarding as it draws not only from scriptural counsels but also from godly counsels by post-Bible saints of God on how to stay on the path that leads to Heaven or eternity with God!