"It (the body) is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption."
(1 Corinthians 15:42)
Years ago, I heard a story about a man looking for flowers for spring planting. At the greenhouse he came across a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms. To his surprise, it was hidden in a corner and growing in an old, dented rusty bucket.
"If this were my flower," he said to himself, "I would place it in a beautiful pot and display it proudly! Why is it confined in this old bucket and hidden away in this concealed place?"
When he remarked to the owner about the flower, she explained, "Oh, I started the plant in that old bucket until it blossomed. But it's just for a short time. Soon I'll transplant it to my garden."
The man laughed, and imagined such a scene in heaven. "There's a beautiful one," God will say, "the product of My loving kindness and grace. Now it's confined in a broken body and in obscurity, but soon, in My garden, how tall and lovely this soul will stand!"
So we may now be "planted" in bent and battered containers for a short time while our Lord beautifies our souls. But, "as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man." (1 Corinthians 15:49). Then He will display His handiwork and our loveliness for all to see. This is our assurance and delight. (David Roper)
In bodies that will ne'er grow old,
We'll reign with Him through years untold;
O precious thought: We all shall be
With Christ through all eternity. (Watson)
While God is preparing a place for us, He is preparing us for that place.
Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Copyright 2006, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted permission.
N.J. Hiebert # 3540
"They weave the spider's web . . . Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works . . ." (Isaiah 59:5,6)
The spider's web is just foam, and proceeds from the spider himself. It looks very beautiful. Many preachers like those spiders spin the webs out of themselves, out of their own heads. They do not bring them from the Word of God. And people who try to clothe themselves with their own righteousness are like those who might try to make garments out of spiders' webs. It has been tried, but found impossible. What a contrast there is between a spider's web and a silk cocoon, though both come out of the creature itself, one from the spider and one from the silkworm. Yet the cocoon furnishes the material that makes the most beautiful and lasting clothing for kings and princes while the other is a bit of foam that soon disappears.
Christ, and Christ alone, can save. His gospel is unfailing and peace-giving. It is no spider's web, "but the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." (H.A. Ironside)
N.J. Hiebert # 3541
"Now faith is the substance (substantiation) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)
This is not a definition of faith, but rather an explanation of what faith does; it enables one to lay hold of the things hoped for, as though he possessed them. It gives real conviction of things that are not seen with the natural eye. Thus it brings the things we anticipate by faith into present realities and substances to be known and enjoyed now. "Whom having not seen ye love." (1 Peter 1:8) Do we love one who does not exist? but we do love One who has first loved us, One whom we know and have proved. Ask a true believer if he would give up Christ; his answer will be a firm and unequivocal, "Never." And so all that we are to have and share with Christ can be enjoyed now. The Christian lays hold of the unseen by faith, and his hope is sure; his hope is not an uncertainty, but merely delayed certainty. (Selected)
N.J. Hiebert # 3542
"And now abideth faith, hope, charity (love), these three; but the greatest of these is charity." (1 Corinthians 13:13)
As great as faith and hope are now, there is coming a time when we will actually possess that which to us is now delayed certainty. We will no longer require faith or hope when all this comes to fruition - is an actuality. And when in possession of that which we now enjoy by faith, love will still be there; for we will dwell in the Father's house, in the reality of love, for "God is love." Love will always abide; therefore it is greater than faith and hope. (Selected)
N.J. Hiebert # 3543