Summary: In eternity future, we will enjoy God's surpassing grace forever.
In this series, we have considered the journey of the child of God. We first spoke of God's Seeking Grace, of how God works in our lives before we are saved to draw us to Himself through faith in Christ.
We looked at how God provided for forgiveness and salvation from the penalty for sin by taking on human flesh in Jesus Christ, who lived a sinless life, died for the sins of the world, and was raised from the dead to prove sin's penalty had been paid. When we acknowledge this living Savior as our personal Savior, we experience God's Saving Grace.
God works in our lives to set us apart for His use by God's Sanctifying Grace. As we grow in our love relationship with God and surrender to His purpose for our lives, He can use every experience to make us more like Jesus. Especially when we use God's grace provisions for our growth: His word, prayer, and His family. And when we suffer in this world, we are strengthened by God's Sustaining Grace.
But our suffering will be over when Christ returns to complete the work of making us like Himself. He'll remove Satan, Satan's influence and Satan's people from this world; and suffering will be no more.
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." - Revelation 21:4 (NIV)
One day, we'll be with Jesus and like Jesus, dwelling in a new heaven and new earth; and forever blessed by God's Surpassing Grace. Paul speaks of that day in our text. There are two truths he touches on here:
The basis of our acceptance in salvation - READ vs. 4-6
God accepts me because I've trusted Christ as my Savior and I'm now in union with Him. I am "in Christ." I've been made alive with Christ; been raised with Him; and seated with Him in the heavenly realms.
In the New Testament, “the word 'Christian' is found only three times. However, the New Testament letters associated with the apostle Paul use the phrase 'in Christ' around 165 times.” - John Ortberg
Why is this so important? Because, since I am now in Christ, when God looks at me, He sees me through "Christ
colored glasses" and accepts me on that basis. As Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17:
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation: The old has gone, the new is here!" - 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
The basis of our assurance of salvation - READ v. 7
Paul speaks about life in eternity, when the newness God sees in us as He views us "in Christ" become a reality in our experience. One day, I'll be that new creation God now sees me as being in Christ.
In this world, our progress can often be described as one step forward, then two steps back. But God has decreed that one day, for eternity, I will be like Jesus. This is the basis of our assurance that once saved, I am saved eternally. God will complete what He has started in me! Christ is coming to make all things new; and He'll start by completing the work He started in every believer. We'll be like Christ in spirit, soul and body. He began the work in our spirit when we were born again through faith in Him. He continues the work those still in this world by making us new in our soul as we grow more like Jesus in our thoughts, feelings, and choices. He's already done this work in the souls of those who have passed on, who're waiting for the day of His return, when He'll complete the work by giving us all a glorified resurrection body.
"On that day, with a command that thunders into the world, with a voice of a chief heavenly messenger, and with a blast of God’s trumpet, the Lord Himself will descend from heaven; and all those who died in the Anointed One, our Liberating King, will rise from the dead first. Then we who are alive and left behind will be snatched up together with them into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. This is how we, the resurrected and the living, will be with Him forever. So comfort one another with this hope, and encourage one another with these words." - 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (The Voice)
Let's think about experiencing God's Surpassing Grace, as a result of being like Jesus for all eternity. In eternity . . .
1. We will be like Jesus spiritually.
When we trust in Christ, He dwells within us by His Spirit; and His Spirit communes with our Spirit, making us spiritually alive.