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Citizens of a Higher Realm - The Book of Revelation
Week 51, 2018
The walk of faith is not meant to be easy. In fact, it is meant to be impossible. We cannot do it in our own strength or wisdom. The faith walk will have us continually living outside of our comfort zone and our control. The old nature, which demands to be in control, will rebel and fight this. Even so, as the Apostle Paul put it, “to be at home with The Lord is to be absent from the body” (see II Corinthians 5:6).
We see in Scripture that Satan and his hordes have been cast down to the earth. Not only do we fight our own old nature, but we are also in a constant battle against all of the evil forces in the universe! When the angelic majesties look down at us feeble human beings in this mighty and even impossible struggle—and see us yet fighting on, being thankful to The Lord, and constantly praising Him and seeking to obey Him—they marvel and consider that those who overcome all of this are certainly worthy to be their judges.
We know from the sure testimony of Scripture that those who endure to the end do win. Not only is the battle going to be over, the reward for those who fought the good fight is beyond our present comprehension. For now our goal is not just to fight to win, but we win by just fighting if we do not stop. The Lord can end this battle and win any time that He chooses. He allows the fight to go on for our sake. His ultimate victory is not just dispatching the enemy, which He could do at any time by just the flick of His little finger. His ultimate purpose and victory for this entire age of human struggle against evil is what it makes these frail human beings into. So it is not just what we do that is important, but what we become.
So we have been cast into an impossible situation so that we will come to know and trust The One for which nothing is impossible. The fall of man came because our first parents wanted to be in control, having the same knowledge as God, and being able to trust themselves. We have recovered from the fall when our whole desire again becomes knowing God and obeying Him, and putting no confidence in our own wisdom or strength.
Few walk the true walk of faith because it is so hard. It requires us to see what others cannot see, and as it was said of Moses, trust the One we see that others cannot see. Ultimately, it will require what the Apostle Paul grasped so that he did not put any confidence in the flesh, or outward things, but only in The Lord. That is what it means to mature into the new creation we are called to be—we lose all of our confidence in the old creation because we see that it is but a shadow of the real, the spiritual.
So we do not lose our confidence when we walk by faith, but we redirect it to the One who is infinitely more trustworthy. When we put our confidence in any natural identity we are obviously still carnal and living far below what we are called to live in. For this reason, even though the Apostle Paul had such a remarkable Jewish lineage, he considered that “rubbish” compared to knowing Christ. So will everyone who has truly grasped who He is and who we are called to be in the new creation. Those who have their hope fixed on the old Jerusalem cannot have seen the New Jerusalem.
This does not mean that we should not know the prophecies, purpose, and destiny of the old Jerusalem, which are important for accomplishing our purpose in this age. Even so, to put our hope in the old is to miss our own ultimate purpose. It is the New Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven from God that was the city that the patriarchs saw and placed their hope in, as it for every true sojourner since.
Paul was a Roman citizen and this gave him great advantages in the natural. He used this at times to get out of trouble, which was not wrong. Similarly, it is not wrong for us to use the benefits of our national citizenship or other associations as long as we do not allow our hope or trust in them to eclipse our trust in The Lord and our citizenship in His “holy nation.”
Again, it is important to see God’s purposes in Israel and in the earthly Jerusalem, but not when we allow them to eclipse our identity in Christ and the New Jerusalem. When we see The Lord, it is hard to be impressed with any human, regardless of their position. When we have seen where He sits and the majesty He has, it is hard to be impressed with any human palace. Even so, we give honor to whom honor is due. We must continue to take our human citizenship and responsibilities seriously even though they may be very boring compared to our King and His kingdom. However, we can be sure that those who are overly captivated with the natural have not yet seen the heavenly.
We must be born again by The Spirit to see the kingdom, but unfortunately not many who have been born again actually see it. We can and we must walk in the reality that we are called to, which is to be messengers proclaiming the coming kingdom, not a past one. We must do this from our position of being seated with our King in the heavenly places, the only place of clear vision into both realms..
next week 52