Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Salvation by Death?

“The last enemy to be destroyed is death,”
1 Corinthians 15:26 (NIV).

“When I die, I know where I’m going!” I triumphantly asserted. Confident life in Heaven is far better there than here on earth, I played right into my enemy’s hand. I looked at death as my entrance to eternal life and all it entails. I believed for salvation by death. By delaying participation in eternal life until after I died, I missed out on its benefits right now. Look how wrong you can be.

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain,” Philippians 1:21 (NIV).

Paul describes a paradox, death is an enemy and yet profitable. Which way is it Paul, friend or foe? Definitely foe!

The bible describes death is unflattering terms: “and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death,” Hebrews 2:5 (NIV).  How did Paul find anything good about death?

Paul didn’t wait to draw his last breath to take advantage of eternal life. He participated in and enjoyed it from this side of the grave. He recorded at least one trip to Heaven, interactions with Jesus and angels and supernatural manifestations. Death would mark the start of life full time in the realm of the spirit. Until that moment, Paul operated in both the physical and spiritual dimensions. A careful reading of Colossians 2:5 depicts this.

“For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is,” (NIV emphasis mine).

Unlike today’s communication systems, Paul lacked fast access to the far-flung churches he’d established. Travel was long and arduous. Letters sent via courier were slow to arrive, possibly akin to our postal service. Paul tapped into the realm of the spirit to stay in touch with the congregations he’d pioneered.

Heavenly visits, trans-location and seeing into spiritual realms was common place then and available to us today. Dr. A. Ogbonnaya, of Venice UMC in California said, “If Christianity is less spiritual than the occult, there’s a problem.” I think he’s onto something.

How about you? How would your experience as a believer change if you could interact with Heavenly realms? How would your faith be bolstered if you could see and engage with your Heavenly Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit? How would your perspective of life’s challenges and difficulties shift seeing them from this new vantage point? It really is possible.

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