As leaders, we are not just leading people to the destination of heaven. We are leading people in a heavenly destiny. Is there a difference between a salvation that one-day grants us access to heaven and a salvation that brings the influence of heaven into our daily lives for the sake of the world? Is the inheritance of the kingdom of Christ and God the same as the mercy of God that grants us access to heaven when we die? I am proposing that perhaps there is a difference between these two things. Most everyone who is destined for heaven has entered into the foolish actions of fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking or something of that sort (Eph. 5:3-7). These actions don’t disqualify us from going to heaven, because right actions never qualified us to get into heaven in the first place. It was the mercy of God through the once for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ that qualified all of mankind to be able to go to heaven when they die. I am not saying that all will, but I am saying that all are qualified through the one action of Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:14 -16For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.
Romans 5: 8-10 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
In these Scripture texts we see that reconciliation to God is not an action of men, but an action that God did through His Son, Jesus Christ. He reconciled us before we believed. It is the death of Jesus that reconciled us, but the life of Christ that ultimately saves us. What is that salvation? These verses also indicate that salvation is meant to empower us to live for Jesus Christ. It is to live for the inheritance of Christ in the earth. It is given to us so that we can reign in life and bring life to others.
Romans 5:17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
We were born for a purpose and a destiny. That purpose and destiny is to bring life to the world. Jesus said that if we come to Him and drink, rivers of life-giving water would flow through us to the world (Jn. 7:37-39). I believe that that water is an expression of heaven’s grace to the world in which we live. Perhaps the gift to go to heaven is an act of God’s mercy, but the gift to bring heaven to the earth is an empowerment of God’s grace?
Ephesians 5:5, 6 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
We cannot live like the world and bring the influence of heaven to the world. Life is not about what we want, it is about being a part of the hope of the calling of Christ, being an expression of His inheritance, and living as a demonstration of His power to the world in which we live (Eph. 1:18-20). It is not about what we get when we die, it is about realizing that we have already died and now it is a matter of what do we bring to fulfill our part of His calling, our role in expanding the inheritance of God in the earth, and how do we demonstrate His power to the world we live in that has a lasting effect upon the generations that follow. We cannot live like those who do not know God and do this. It is part of our new character, nature, way, power, and authority in Christ.
We must live a ministers of reconciliation and as leaders we must demonstrate this to those we lead. We are new creations to empower those yet in the world to know the testimony of being reconciled to God. They are already reconciled, but they are not living in the inheritance of the kingdom of Christ and God. Their disobedience is an ignorance of the reconciliation that has been given to them in Christ. Their disobedience is in their refusal to see and embrace the love of God that has been given through the once for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Any wrath of God upon them is simply because they have not embraced the love of God that is intended to be a demonstration in and upon their lives in this world.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
I believe that our purpose and destiny is to live as ambassadors of Christ in this world. We are bringing the influence of heaven to the barren places of this world. It is not just a matter of God’s pardoning mercy in our lives; it is a matter of His empowering grace!
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson