Wednesday, October 29, 2008
An Opened Heaven
The following excerpt from Austin Sparks has sparked something wonderful in me. First I want to share a few ‘heavenly’ scriptures to consider.
“A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.”
“Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, "You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased."
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
I wonder if this heavenly realm we now live in, in Christ is all part off why we need the eyes of our heart opened to see what is ours now. “God's thought is not merely that we might go at last to heaven, not just that, but that now we should know what life in heavenly union with Himself means, and what all the resources of heaven mean for our lives here on this earth, that we should enjoy now every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ. That is a great word of the Apostle Paul. Heaven is something vast for present enjoyment, for present experience.”
“If there is one thing more than another which the Word of God makes clear it is that heaven is closed to man in his unregenerate state. You will find that to be the case wherever you may look in the Word of God. The very elaborate provision made for man to draw near to God at all is itself a declaration that access to God cannot be taken for granted. It is not a thing available without very special provision. Associated with everything provided for man in the Old Testament is the warning: Stand back! This is for you only on very special grounds. There is no advance. There is no approach. There is no access. I think it hardly needs labouring that the Word of God hammers out this fact, that to man in his unregenerate state heaven is closed.
Heaven is not only a place to which we may go. So many people have but one idea of heaven as the place to which you go at last if you are good. Well, it may be. We are all hoping to go there, but it is not in that particular sense that we are speaking of its being closed. The question of a closed or opened heaven is a very much greater matter than that. Heaven is a realm of God. A realm of everything belonging to and related to God; the realm of God and His things. It is the realm of fellowship with God, communion with God. Everything of meaning and value, of necessity and blessing for man's spiritual good, for man's eternal well-being, is bound up with heaven.
That is not something future, that is something for the present. God's thought is not merely that we might go at last to heaven, not just that, but that now we should know what life in heavenly union with Himself means, and what all the resources of heaven mean for our lives here on this earth, that we should enjoy now every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ. That is a great word of the Apostle Paul. Heaven is something vast for present enjoyment, for present experience. The Psalmist said of Zion: "All my wellsprings are in thee." That is what the believer says of heaven, of Christ in heaven. That is heaven in present possession, and present enjoyment, and unless that is true now, before we leave this world, there is not much hope of our going to heaven at last.
These things of eternal value for our well-being, these things of God for our blessing, for our good, are not to be found in the world. Men have searched for them, and sought them in the world, but they have never been found there. They are in heaven, and can only come to us through an opened way to heaven.
But all this - and it is far more than ever we could detail, even were we to stay to speak of it for a very extended period - all that heaven means of resource and of blessing and value for time and for eternity is closed, is behind a closed door, as regards unregenerate men and women, even though they may be religious. One of the great snares which will keep multitudes out of heaven is religion. To be religious does not necessarily mean to have a heavenly life in union with the risen Lord."