Unraveling the Mystery
The place we will occupy in the future will be similar to places we occupy now, but there will also be differences. The heavenly place will be a place of manifest glory. Our bodies will have continuity with our present bodies. There will also be discontinuity. Our new bodies are shrouded in mystery—we see through the glass darkly. Yet we receive hints about our glorified bodies by comparisons with Jesus, as well as by His words that we will be “like the angels” (Matt. 22:30).

Paul gives further hints: After discussing various kinds of bodies we experience on this planet, and various levels of glory of created objects, he adds: “The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory, it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Cor. 15:42–44, NIV).
We understand corruption, dishonor, weakness, and natural bodies. Only by contrast or eminence do we contemplate an incorruptible, glorified, powerful, spiritual body. The new body will be clothed with immortality. It will receive a garment it does not presently or intrinsically possess.
Coram Deo
Spend some time in worship, thanking God for the eternal destiny He has planned for you.

Passages for Further Study
1 Corinthians 15:42–44
From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul.

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Understanding the Future
When we ask questions about matters that elude our full understanding, we tend to look for models or patterns that are similar to what we do understand. We seek for clues to a new and different paradigm. The shift from earthbound thinking to conceiving of heaven is a massive paradigm shift.

To speak of our mysterious future is to search for analogies that will give us a hint about what to expect. We cannot say what heaven is, but the Bible does give us hints as to what it is like. We try to imagine the unknown in the light of what is known. John tells us: “It has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).
We do not know for sure to whom the “He” and the “Him” refer. Do they refer to God the Father or to Christ? God the Father is the subject of the preceding verses, but what follows seems to indicate Christ.
The difficulty of the reference is mollified when we realize that to be Christ-like is to be God-like. The firstfruits image of Christ in His resurrection indicates that, ultimately, we shall be like Christ. As Christ rose with a glorified body, we too will enjoy glorified bodies at the final resurrection.
Coram Deo
Pause a few moments to think about your eternal future in heaven.

Passages for Further Study
1 John 3:2

Psalm 17:15

1 Corinthians 15:51
From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. 

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Responding to God’s Call
We live in daily submission to a host of authorities who circumscribe our freedom: from parents to traffic police officers to dog catchers. All authorities are to be respected and, as the Bible declares, honored. But only one authority has the intrinsic right to bind the conscience. God alone imposes absolute obligation, and He does it by the power of His holy voice.
He calls the world into existence by divine imperative, by holy fiat. He calls the dead and rotting Lazarus to life again. He calls people who were no people “My people.” He calls us out of darkness and into light. He effectually calls us to redemption. He calls us to service.
Our vocation is so named because of its Latin root vocatio, “a calling.” The term vocational choice is a contradiction in terms to the Christian. To be sure, we do choose it and can, in fact, choose to disobey it. But prior to the choice and hovering with absolute power over it is the divine summons, the imposition to duty from which we dare not flee.
It was vocation that drove Jonah on his flight to Tarshish and caused his terrified shipmates to dump him in the sea to still the vengeful tempest. It was vocation that elicited the anguished cry from Paul, “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16). It was vocation that put a heinous cup of bitterness in the hands of Jesus.
The call of God is not always to a glamorous vocation, and its fruit in this world is often bittersweet. Yet God calls us according to our gifts and talents, and directs us to paths of the most useful service to His kingdom. How impoverished we would be if Jonah had made it to Tarshish, if Paul had refused to preach, if Jeremiah really had turned in his prophet’s card, or if Jesus had politely declined the cup.
 

Coram Deo
Think about it … what will be the tab of spiritual losses if you do not respond to God’s call?

Passages for Further Study
2 Corinthians 10:15–16

Romans 15:20

Philippians 1:17
From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. 

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Doing Your Duty
The human ear is a strange appendage. Ears come in all sizes and shapes; they are the delight of the cartoonist, who can capture caricatures easily by exaggerating their angles. The appendix and the coccyx have been dubbed “vestigial appendices” by those convinced of their relatively useless functional value. No one has ever called the ear “vestigial,” as its value is not so much cosmetic but functional. Jesus put it succinctly: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable responsibilities, among which are love, obedience, and the pursuit of vocation. These may be summed up with one four-letter word that has become a modern-day obscenity: duty. Duty involves answering a summons, responding to an obligation, and heeding a call.
Our ears are assaulted daily by a cacophony of sounds making it difficult at times to distinguish between a bona fide call and senseless noise. We get phone calls, fire calls, wake-up calls, cat calls, crank calls, house calls, bad calls (by referees), and late calls for dinner. We get calls from our bosses, our teachers, and Uncle Sam; calls to departure gates, sales calls, and nature calls.
Only one call carries the force of absolute and ultimate obligation. I may ignore my phone calls and defy even the call of Uncle Sam, fleeing to Canada while nursing a hope for future amnesty. The call of God may also be ignored or disobeyed, but never with impunity. I may marry Betty or Sally and live in Chicago or Tuscaloosa. I may build a small house or a big house, or even live in an apartment. I can drive a Cadillac or a Honda—it’s a free country. With respect to vocation, however, it is not a free universe. One absolute, nonnegotiable requirement of my life is that I be true to my vocation. This is my duty.
 

Coram Deo
Are you responding to the call of God? Are you being true to the vocation to which you are called?

Passages for Further Study
Hebrews 3:7–8

Hebrews 4:7
From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul.

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Embracing the World
Martin Luther declared that a new Christian must withdraw from the world for a season, but upon reaching spiritual maturity he must embrace the world as the theater of redemptive activity. His message was, “Away with the cowards who flee from the real world and cloak their cowardice with piety.”
Perhaps the greatest need for our day is the need to market Jesus Christ. The church must become expert in marketing, not in the slick Madison Avenue style but in an aggressive, yet dignified way. The marketplace is where we belong. It is where needy people are found. It is not enough for the church to hang a welcome sign on her door. We dare not wait for the world to come to us.
God never intended the Christian community to be a ghetto. The church is not a reservation. Yet the pervasive style of modern evangelicalism is that of a reservation or a ghetto. We can argue that it is the secularist agenda to put us there and keep us there. But such arguments won’t do. We are there because it is safe and comfortable to be there.
The secularist hates the light and is quite willing to offer us a bushel for it. Shame on us when we buy custom-made bushels and willingly place them over our candles. To hide the light or to restrict it to a reservation is to do violence to the gospel and to grieve the Holy Ghost.
 

Coram Deo
Are you hiding your light under a custom-made bushel? Reflect on the closing statement in today’s reading: “To hide the light or to restrict it to a reservation is to do violence to the gospel and to grieve the Holy Ghost.”

Passages for Further Study
Matthew 5:14–16

From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. 

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Seeking the Lost
Martin Luther, as a herald of the Reformation, exclaimed that the church must be profane. It must move out of the temple and into the world. Luther looked to the Latin roots of the word profane, which comes from pro-fanus (“outside the temple”). If Christ is not relevant outside the church, He is insignificant inside the church. If our faith is bound to the inner chambers of the Christian community, it is at best a disobedient faith and at worst, no faith at all.
It was the Pharisees who developed the doctrine of salvation by separation. They were practicing segregationists, believing that holiness was achieved by avoiding contact with unclean sinners. No wonder they were scandalized by the behavior of Jesus, who dealt with Samaritans, ate dinner with tax collectors, placed His hand upon lepers, and ministered to harlots. Our Lord was accused of being a drunkard and a glutton, not because He was overweight or given to intemperance, but because He frequented places where these things were commonplace.
If guilt by association were a legitimate offense, Jesus would have lost His sinlessness early in His ministry. But He came to seek and to save the lost. He found them gathered in His Father’s world.
Coram Deo
Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He commanded us to do likewise. What are you doing in response to that command?

Passages for Further Study
Luke 19:10

Hebrews 7:25

James 1:21
From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul.

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Moving Out of the Temple
On the mountain of transfiguration, the disciples were stunned by the breakthrough of the dazzling glory of Christ. What previously was veiled by His humanity, hidden from the sight of mortals, suddenly burst through the veil in translucent radiance. With but one glimpse, the disciples were paralyzed. They had but one consuming desire—to abide in that place, basking forever in the light of His countenance. Jesus would have none of it. As Lord of the church, He commanded His disciples to forget about pitching tents and sent them down the mountain and into the world.

The day Christ died, those same disciples went into hiding. They retreated to the shelter of the upper room, where they huddled together in fear. When Jesus broke the bonds of death, He went to the upper room. In a sense, He broke down the door—not so much to get in, but to get His disciples out. His mandate to them was to await the Spirit and then to go—to move out of the temple and into the world.

The New Testament word for “marketplace” is agora. The agora was not only the shopping district, but was also the center of civic life. The agora was surrounded by public buildings, shops, and colonnades. Here the children played, the idle loafed, lawsuits were heard, and public events were produced. It was public, not private; open, not secret; dangerous, not safe.

The cradle of the church was the marketplace. From the preaching and public ministry of Jesus to the daily acts of the apostles, the central scene was the marketplace.

Coram Deo
Are you actively moving outside the walls of the church and taking your faith to the world?

Passages for Further Study
Acts 17:16–17

Acts 8:5

From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. 

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