Summary: The beauty of Heaven has descended in Christ!
The Right Side of Heaven, II Timothy 1:6-10
It was Christmas Eve. Six-year-old Mary Lou was walking down a dark city street with her father on their way to the children’s service. Her active little mind was filled with the wonders of the event she and her classmates were about to celebrate—the coming of the Christ Child from heaven to earth, to be born a tiny infant in a lowly stable.
Above them was the velvety blue-black canopy of heaven, Swiss-dotted (as it seemed to her) with an infinite variety of brilliant lights twinkling down to earth. Her eyes were fixed on the shimmering tapestry above as she and her father walked, silently but thoughtfully, toward the lighted church at the end of the block. Suddenly she looked up at her father and, with that rare insight peculiar to a six-year-old, observed: “Daddy, I was just thinking—if the wrong side of heaven is so beautiful, how wonderful the right side must be!”
We really get it wrong most of the time, don’t we? How often do the actions of our lives reflect a misunderstanding as to what God has done for us in the coming of His only begotten son, Jesus Christ?
How wide a gulf exists in my life and in yours between the life that God has given to us and the life we live? Indeed, as the little girl in the story I just shared with you commented, how beautiful the “right side” of Heaven must be.
The great reality of Jesus Christ coming to this earth is, however, that we do not have to ponder what the true beauty of Heaven’s glory looks like; Jesus said that if we had seen Him we had seen the Father. As we behold the mystery of God in human flesh, Immanuel, God with us, we behold the beauty of Heaven descended to each one of us; beckoning us to come and taste of that beauty!
I chose to share this passage of Scripture with you this evening from II Timothy because this is a section of Scriptures which may well be referred to as “the Gospel in a Nutshell.” The essential principals of what Jesus came to accomplish on this earth are contained plainly in this little section of God’s Holy Word.
First the Apostle Paul reminds Timothy to “fan into flame” (v6) the gift of God which is in Him, even as he reminds us of this very same truth. You see, the gift of God’s grace is within us. We are not strangers to God, but adopted sons and daughters, we need not work to please God in fear of Judgment and we need not abase others with a projected form of self-condemnation.
In other words, from time to time we need to fan into flame the reality of God’s grace in our hearts so that we may be reminded to live fully immersed in the grace of God, to reciprocate that grace to God in worship, and unto others in love.
Next, the Apostle tells Timothy, his son in the faith, that God did not give us a spirit of timidity or fear but a spirit of power, love, of self-discipline sound mind.
Are you afraid today? Is your heart filled with doubts? Is your mind filled with worry? Do the cares, burdens, and unrealistic expectations of the world around you cause you to feel as though you are unsure, apprehensive, in this life?
Dear child of God, we have not been left alone in this life! The spirit with which you are even now filled is one of “dunamis” supernatural power, and yet believers everywhere fail to rest in the sovereign provision of God, the glorious grace of God, the power of the Most high which has been given to us freely and in abundance because we have not understood the message of His coming!
Immanuel, God with us; we are not alone, we have not been left out in the cold, we have not been abandoned, we are sons and daughters of the Most High and even when our hearts fail for fear if we shall cry out to Him, if we shall call out “Abba” Daddy, I’m scared, I don’t know which way to go in the storm, I cannot see through the fog of this life, He shall meet us where we are, just as He has already done in the incarnation of the divine in Christ!
The Apostle goes on to say what is to me the most beautiful words, the most beautiful theme, in the entire Bible: (v9-10) “Who has saved us and called us to a holy life [that is, to experience the sacred] – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (NIV)