to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,Hebrews 12:23(NASB)
Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are called, "the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn," and through faith in Christ's sacrificial work on the Cross and His glorious Resurrection, our names are, "enrolled in heaven." The book of Hebrews explains that the privileges we receive through the new and better Covenant which was cut on Mount Zion - at Calvary, are so much superior to those given to Israel - at Mount Sinai, for they promise heavenly benefits for all the redeemed.
Because of our faith in Christ, we have the right to be called 'sons of God' and through His glorious Resurrection, we will participate in the first resurrection - the resurrection to life. Christ was the first to rise from the dead - He is the 'Firstborn' from the dead. And because we are 'in Christ', we are privileged to be called the, "Church of the Firstborn," with a heavenly citizenship and inheritance. In Him, we are to live and move and have our being, in service to Him and for His greater glory.
As children of God, we are to be holy for God is holy. We are not to shrink back into our former, pre-salvation days, but to press on for the high call that is ours in Christ. We are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Who is the perfect example of how to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord. And in these closing chapters of the epistle to the Hebrews, the maturing believer is encouraged to live a life of worshipful praise to our Heavenly Father.
We are encouraged to hope in the Lord and to walk in spirit and in truth. We are exhorted to keep looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our life and our faith. We are also reminded that as children of God, we are to recognise that the Lord chastens those that He loves... and that the pain of discipline will blossom into the fruit of righteousness for those who have been trained by it.
We are reminded that we are strangers in an alien land and our citizenship is in heaven. We can therefore rejoice, because we are members of the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn. We are part of Christ's Body who have been imputed with His righteousness. We are being conformed into the lovely likeness of Jesus - and will one day be clothed in resurrected bodies, like unto His own glorious body.
We who have been born from above, will not face the second death, nor will we stand before the Great White Judgement Throne of God, like the unsaved who have no hope. As members of the Church of the Firstborn, we will participate in the first resurrection - the resurrection of all believers.
We are positioned in Christ, and as members of Christ's Body we are not only identified with His death when we died to sin at salvation, but we are also identified with His resurrected body and eternal life. As children of God we are not appointed to wrath, because Jesus took the punishment in our place, so we will not be hurt by the second death - for we have been raised with Christ and our names have been enrolled in heaven, and by God's grace we have been promised a great reward.
Members of the Body and Bride of Christ who have fallen asleep since the birth of the Church at Pentecost, are today consciously enjoying the company of the lovely Lord Jesus in heavenly places. They are awaiting that great day when the trumpet will sound, their dead bodies will be raised incorruptible, and we who are alive and remain will be caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air, to be with the Lord forever. On that day we will see Him as He is and be united with our resurrected and glorified bodies - to His praise and glory.
The coming Judgement Seat of Christ is not to be feared for Jesus paid the punishment for our sin on Calvary's Cross, and the only thing given at this Judgement Seat will be rewards. Our spirit was made new at salvation and our soul continues to be progressively sanctified for the rest of our life on earth - as we walk in spirit and truth. Let us anticipate with joy, that wonderful day when we shall see Him as He is and be like Him... for then we will be fully and finally sanctified, spirit, soul, and body - for in Christ we are righteous and made perfect in HIM - praise His holy name.
But until that glorious day - let us occupy!
Heavenly Father, thank You that in Christ I am a member of His Body, His Bride, and part of the Church of the Firstborn who will never have to face the second death. Thank You that my citizenship is in heaven and that my name is enrolled in the Book of Life. Thank You that Christ was judged for my sin at Calvary and that by faith, I am clothed in His righteousness. I pray that when I stand before the judgement seat of Christ, I may hear Him say, "well done, good and faithful servant." To His praise and glory, AMEN.