Paul says we each have a race to run that we should run to win. Not against each other. But, just to get where God has planned for us to go.
Getting there is the race. Winning means to receive the spiritual house that God planned for us to have. All of it. The rewards we receive for our faithfulness are what our spiritual house is made of. So run the race to win. So that your spiritual house will be all that God meant for it to be.
Won't people be surprised when you look like the finisher in the picture in heaven? When the last time they saw you you looked like the beginner in the picture? It all depends on what you do with the gifts God has given you.
We may be living in a mortal body for now. An earthen vessel. The kind of deteriorating human frame that Jesus too came to live in. So that by joining with us in mourning mortality, we could join with Him in immortality.
As believers, we have the indwelling Spirit of the eternal God in us. And because of this we have received God's absolute assurance of a heavenly home.
In 1Cor.15 Paul gives us a most glorious picture of the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting for all who are in Christ, because of His victory over death.
And in 2Cor.4:7-10 Paul contrasts our present condition with our future dwelling place. And encourages us to never lose heart even when encompassed about by persecution and pain, or when "hard-pressed on every side".
Despite being under death's power because our bodies are mortal, we have an assurance of greater glory to follow. A glory never experienced by man at any time. A glory for which Jesus came. A glory that Eph.1:13,14 tells us we are guaranteed because we have been saved by grace through faith in Him.
Therefore, the present suffering and pain we may experience in this mortal frame can never be compared with the greater glory that is awaiting us, because we are in Christ. "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” 2Cor.5:1.
The moment we are born we are on a journey towards physical death because we are born mortal just as Adam was when he was made. And yet there is a great comfort with which all God's children are comforted. That is, that this earthly body is only our temporary home.
For believer and unbeliever alike, there is an immortal body awaiting them. Because it is not God's will that any should perish, and He has predestined all men for eternal life, He has prepared a place for every person who has ever lived. This is also why our names are written in the book of life at conception. And only "blotted out" if we die without ever having believed in Him. The body we inhabit now is simply an earth suit that will one day be replaced with a much better, permanent home. A resurrected, glorified body.
He has promised an eternal home in which the spirit that was birthed in us when we trusted in Him and born from above will be housed. An everlasting and secure heavenly dwelling-place, which is ours by God's grace, through faith in Him. A heavenly dwelling place only for the spiritual man.
While John5:29 tells us that those who never believed in Jesus and made spiritual by being born of God's Spirit, receive the new body that Jesus made for them that was meant for heaven, only to be cast into the lake of fire.
This is the mansion that Jesus described in John14 when He said- "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."
Our physical life will cease and the mortal body will go into the grave. For Gen.3:19 tells us that from dust these mortal bodies were made and to dust they will return.
Nevertheless, the amazing truth is that whenever our earthly body is destroyed through death, this temporary tent which now houses our spirit, will be replaced with a permanent building from God. A house not made with hands. But, one that is gloriously constructed for us by the Lord.
Because man has been mortal since Adam was made we were excluded from heavenly places. In these mortal bodies man is only suited for living in and relating to what has been made. In 1Cor.15:50 Paul tells us that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
But, as the "new creatures in Christ" of 2Cor.5:17 we have the assurance of a new body in the resurrection. A house in heaven, not made by hands. A dwelling place that is not part of the natural creation that Adam's body was made for. But, an immortal one that is made for living in eternity with Jesus. A glorified body like the one Jesus had after He "ascended to the Father".
So we rejoice in the knowledge that we have such a heavenly home that awaits us. When either we breathe our last breath here, or Jesus comes for us in the rapture, the building not made with the hands of men will be our mansion for all eternity.
A mansion that Paul says in 1Cor.3:14,15 is made of the rewards that makes it to specs that are in direct proportion to what we have done in faith while in these mortal bodies. Here Paul says- "If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire".
This is why Paul encourages us to run the race to win, and not just to place or show. Because while in placing or showing Paul says we are still guaranteed the spiritual house that Jesus said He was going to prepare for us that we need for living in eternity with God.
Running the race to win guarantees us the kind of rewards that make a super house that will be super equipped for our place in God's kingdom. A house suited for those who have been "faithful over little" and are made "faithful over much" in this life. Who will also be made faithful over much more in the life to come.
So run the race to win! Be the person God wants you to be. Then you will not only have all of the rewards that will outfit your house with all that God has planned for it. But, by doing this you will also be an even greater blessing now to those you come into contact with. By loving them as God does and sharing His gospel. So that they too can... run the race to win!!
Maybe you have never even started this race. Maybe you have never trusted in Jesus for eternal life. If this is you then exchange your mortal life for His immortal life now. By confessing Jesus is your Lord. And believing in your heart that He has raised from the dead for you.
Begin to run the race to win by living in a loving and personal relationship with Him. Then you too will have the immortal life Jesus came to give you.
Do this... and I will see you there or in the air!
This message can also be heard at: Rumble
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