The price of heaven – Part 1
Most people, including Christians, are usually unwilling to pay a price for what they desire to have in life. They literally expect the good things to fall on their laps effortlessly. But whatever is valuable has a price attached to it. And no less a person than Paul the apostle knew this. He had a flourishing ministry in Philippi that drew many souls into God’s kingdom. Although he was persecuted and imprisoned, he did not allow his suffering to impede the course of the gospel work. With his freedom of movement impaired because of his incarceration in Rome, he devised another method of ministering to believers: he began writing and mailing epistles to them.
His joyful disposition, which found expression in this epistle to the Philippians, written from prison, showed that he was not only truly saved by God’s grace, but also ready to pay any price to propagate the gospel. He, therefore, exhorted believers to be likeminded in their spiritual pursuit. Irrespective of noteworthy spiritual attainments, all believers are commanded to “walk by the same rule”, “mind the same thing” and fulfill the divine purpose of their salvation, which is to show forth God’s glory. This standard character and conduct is for Christian leaders, as well as ordinary members of their congregations.
Saved and sustained by the grace and power of God, all believers must be Christ-like in conversation, character and conduct as citizens of heaven, “from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ”. When Christ comes, He will impartially apply the same standard of His word in admitting professing believers (leaders and the led) to heaven. It is obvious that Christians are on a journey to heaven, the abode of God and those who will not be ashamed at Christ’s coming have a price to pay. Since He has promised and gone to prepare heaven for us, entering there should be our constant, daily and ultimate pursuit.
Paul the apostle spoke about his spiritual pursuit, progress, priority, purpose, consecration and commitment. Acknowledging that he had not yet “attained” or reached heaven, which was his ultimate spiritual pursuit, he was constantly watchful. The fact that he had entirely consecrated his life to God or had been to heaven in a vision did not becloud his sense of purpose nor make him complacent. He knew there were temptations he must overcome, and spiritual battles he must continue to fight and win, to be able to get to heaven. He, therefore, constantly kept his body under control so as not to go astray.
He remained focused on his objective by daily asking for grace and strength to lead a victorious Christian life and serve God acceptably. Rather than relish his achievements, he promptly and continually replaced them with new tasks to be accomplished for the glory of God, while advancing in his pilgrimage towards heaven. He revealed that “this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”. The portrait of every true believer who is saved, sanctified, surrendered, focused, progressive and determined that the devil or other concerns of life will not distract him is here revealed. The Apostle wants all believers to emulate his example and be unreservedly devoted to God, since it is only the best that is good enough to be offered to Him.
Since Jesus Christ died for all, no believer should exclude himself from this standard of righteous living and service. Although Satan can inspire carnal and unsaved people to flatter believers into dropping their guards, lessening their devotion to God and ultimately derailing them, the Lord wants us to concentrate on Him as we walk the “highway… called The way of holiness” (Isaiah 35:8). Just as there is a highway of holiness, there is also a broad way of unrighteousness that leads to hell. The lion-like and beastly in character, who are not cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ cannot walk on this way that leads to heaven.
Further Reading (King James Version): Philippians 3:15-17, 20; Philippians 3:12-17; Galatians 5:10; Isaiah 35:8-10; Hebrews 12:14; Romans 13:10 – 14; Colossians 2: 6 – 10; 1Thessalonians 2: 10 – 14; Colossians 3: 1 – 4; Philippians 3:18,19; 2 Peter 2:10-22; Jude 12-16; Ephesians 5:5,6; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Romans 16:18; Philippians 3:20,21; Psalm 73:24-26; 2 Corinthians 5:1,8; Philippians 1:21-23; 1 Peter 1:3,4; 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17; Titus 2:11-14; 2 Peter 3:12-14; 1 John 3:1-3; Luke 21:27-36; Revelation 19:1,6-8; 1 Corinthians 15:51,52.
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