I just returned from a meeting in Syracuse. I’m seeing now how things shared with others about the spirit realm (even about the lie of “the sweet-by-and-by”) is strengthening these folks to now run this race with much vim with vigor. By calling “the sweet-by-and-by” a lie, I mean that there are places in the spirit realm which are far more glorious than any of us can even think of or imagine, but there is also AN ATTAINING TO THESE PLACES. In other words, to the extent that we have COOPERATED with God in the working out of our salvation here, there we will be placed in the spirit realm at physical death.
Beloved, think of this with regard to Paul’s exhortation(s) for disciples to “work out” their salvation. The salvation that is a free gift is the REGENERATION OF OUR SPIRITS, my friends. This SPIRITUAL REGENERATION simply gives us access to the Father so that we can come to KNOW HIM, and COMMUNE with Him, AND COOPERATE WITH HIM in the “working out” of our salvation. Think of all of this in the light of the following statement made by Paul…
“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may ATTAIN to the resurrection out from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect (fully mature), but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward THE GOAL for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect (mature), have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have ATTAINED.”
Beloved, Paul here is describing the process of ATTAINING to the FIRST RESURRECTION, something that I believe to be an attaining to the MT. ZION/NEW JERUSALEM STATE in the spirit realm where “the spirits of just men are made perfect”. These, I believe, are saints fully matured in spirit with nothing more to attain to. The word that was used for “resurrection” in the above passage of Scripture is the Greek word “exanastasis” which means “out-resurrection.” This word DOES NOT describe the resurrection OF the dead, beloved, but it describes a resurrection OUT FROM adamic death, something that I believe to be a resurrection in spirit to Mt. Zion/New Jerusalem – a state of “perfection”(maturity). It is more than likely, beloved, that saints on both sides of the veil are working toward this “state.” Sanctification, teaching, training, etc., DOES NOT CEASE AT PHYSICAL DEATH.
If you meditate on the above passage a bit, friends, you should be able to see that Paul was stating that he didn’t believe that he had attained to the New Jerusalem state at the time but that he was pressing for that mark. He then went on to exhort and encourage the saints to hold their ground in whatever place that they had already ATTAINED TO in Christ. He exhorted them to then KEEP LIVING BY THAT STANDARD, until they too “lay hold of” (or attain to) that for which they were laid hold of in Christ Jesus.
Now, look at what Paul wrote next…
“Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”
Briefly, these “enemies” that Paul mentions are not enemies of Christ but of THE CROSS of Christ. In other words, Paul was weeping over believers who were not willing to work out their salvation, were not willing to TAKE UP THEIR CROSSES and follow Christ through to self-death on into the glory of THE OUT-RESURRECTION. Paul then goes on to describe the salvation that we yet hope for – “the redemption of our bodies.” Beloved, that (bodily redemption) is THE LAST STAGE of our salvation. The word used throughout the new Testament for “salvation” is the Greek word “sozo,” and with regard to salvation this means “TO BE MADE WHOLE,” something which STARTS in our spirit (as a free gift), which then must be WORKED OUT with much “fear and trembling” (a matter of taking it VERY seriously), and which then shall be culminated with “the transformation of the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory.” That describes “the redemption of our bodies,” beloved. THAT is when we are FULLY SAVED, my friends.
Beloved, it is my understanding that those in Mt. Zion and New Jerusalem are not yet “fully saved” (not in body) for “they apart from us shall not be made perfect” (in spirit, soul, and BODY). With regard to this, it is my understanding that the Body of Christ shall be made fully perfect together, probably sometime at the end of the next age.
Our citizenship is in heaven, dear friends, and because of this I believe that it is NOW possible to ATTAIN to all that this citizenship has to offer, all but that which we must “eagerly wait for,” this being the FULLNESS of the Feast of Tabernacles. This is when the Lord Jesus Christ shall transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory and THE WHOLE BODY then experiences full salvation – “sozo.”