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    FITNESS FOR THE FUTURE KINGDOM

    But in order to enter the future kingdom of glory we must first be in the kingdom of grace, sharing all its blessings and privileges. The faithful John bears testimony which has direct bearing on this subject. He looked forward to the new heaven and the new earth, and the holy city, in the glorious restitution where there will be neither pain, sickness, sorrow nor death, as the eternal kingdom of the redeemed. And yet he declared himself, while in the present state of tribulation, as being in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 1:9. The beloved John was in the kingdom of grace.TTKGG 28.2

    And Paul, in delineating true Christian experience in his epistle to the Colossians, speaks of deliverance from the power of darkness, a redemption through Christ’s blood, and a translation into his kingdom, which can apply only to the present probationary state. He sets forth the emancipation from the bondage of spiritual darkness into the light and liberty of the sons of God, and the attainments which believers may reach in fullness of spiritual understanding and of strength, in order to a moral fitness to be partakers of the eternal inheritance, in words that should stir the soul and burn their way to every Christian heart.TTKGG 29.1

    “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son; in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:9-14. The words delivered, translated, and redemption, may usually express transition to the immortal state; but in the foregoing quotation they express the power and work of grace in connection with the forgiveness of sins.TTKGG 29.2

    The moral fitness for the next life must be attained in this life. The last change to immortality is not a moral change. It is simply an exchange of the corruptible body for one that will be incorruptible. This is expressed by the apostle thus: “For our conversation is in Heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.”TTKGG 30.1

    The exchange of the sinner’s vile nature to the glorious character of the Son of God must take place during the period of probation, while Christ pleads his blood before the Father on the sinner’s account. If this change does not take place while Christ is our mediator, the change of the vile body will not take place at his second advent. Now the sinner may, in obedience to the law of the Father, and by faith in the blood of the Son, attain to the moral fitness for the inheritance of the saints in light.TTKGG 30.2

    Our robes of character must be made pure before Christ lays off his garments of mediation, and puts on his kingly robes. Now we may wash and be clean; but when Christ’s mediation for sinners shall cease, it will then be said, “The time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still, and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:10-12. And Peter exhorts: “Wherefore, beloved, seeing ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” 2 Peter 3:14. This washing of the soul from the stains of sin demands diligence. Paul says that “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself as glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing.” Ephesians 5:25-27.TTKGG 30.3

    And John sees the washed and glorified multitude, who had pressed their way to Christ and Heaven through the moral darkness of this world, and had come out of great tribulation into the kingdom of glory. “After this, I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” Revelation 7:9, 10. “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said unto me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Verses 13, 14.TTKGG 31.1

    J.W.

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