HUGH’S NEWS & VIEWS
I AM THANKFUL FOR THE BLESSED ASSURANCE OF HEAVEN
As we approach another season of thanksgiving (but as Christians, shouldn’t we be thankful to our Heavenly Father all year ’round?), I am immensely thankful for a vast number of things, not the least of which is the blessed assurance I have of everlasting life with my Lord in heaven. No explanation should be necessary as to why this is at the top of my list of things for which to be thankful. As one who has already entered the “red zone” of earthly life, I have been livingimperfectly though my efforts have beenfor heaven since my pre-teens. As I have advanced through the years, eternal life has become more precious to me, and I am deeply thankful for its glorious prospect.
According to Christ, eternal life comes from knowing God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ (John 17:4). It is the gift of God (Romans 6:23). It is to be found only in Christ Jesus (John 14:6) where one becomes a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17), is able to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-4), is without condemnation (Romans 8:1), and has eternal life (1 John 5:11-12). Outside of Christ no one has any hope whatsoever of everlasting life in heaven. To that end, one needs to come to terms with what the Scriptures say with reference to how one enters Christ (Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:27) and remains in Christ (John 8:31-32; John 15:4-7; 1 John 1:5-9; 2 John 9). (One would be wise to look up, read, reflect on, and comply with these divinely inspired statements.)
Heaven is a place Christ has gone to prepare for His faithful followers (John 14:1-3). Those who enter that place must make preparation to do so. No one coasts into heaven. As has been often stated, “Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.” One must do the will of the Father to enter His everlasting kingdom (Matthew 7:21). One must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Christ in all things (Matthew 16:24). Those who have the right to the tree of life and who are granted the privilege of entering in through the gates into the heavenly city are “those who do His (God’s) commandments” (Revelation 22:14).
When the great apostle Paul recognized that the time of his departure (death) was at hand, he was comforted by the assurance that there was “laid up for [him] the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, [would] give to [him] in that Day; and not to [him] only, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). During this Thanksgiving season, I am thankful for that same blessed assurance and earnest expectation of everlasting life in heaven.
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
–Fanny J. Crosby
Note: The above article appeared in the November 19 issue of the e-magazine Hope and Expectation at the request of its editors, Dale and Jeff Jenkins of The Jenkins Institute. The Jenkins institute is an on-line service designed to assist and encourage preachers of the gospel in their work. It is named in honor of Dale and Jeff’s father, the late Jerry Jenkins, who was a fellow student of mine at Freed-HardemanCollege back in the mid-1950s. Jerry was a most able and faithful preacher, and Dale and Jeff have followed successfully in his steps. I appreciate them giving me permission to use the article (with a few adaptations and additions) as my essay for this Thanksgiving week’s edition of “Hugh’s News & Views.” May all of my readers have a blessed Thanksgiving.
November 26, 2013