For our conversation is in heaven; from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:…
1. The present is not the principal state of man, and should never be viewed separate from another to which it bears the same relation as infancy to manhood, seed time to harvest.
2. This consideration teaches us the true importance of the present period. The grand question is, Where are we to reside forever?
3. Some never afford this subject a moment's thought, others remain in a state of uncertainty. But Christians, conscious of the reality of their religion and the blindness of their condition, say, "Our conversation is in heaven."
I. THE CHRISTIAN'S STATE.
1. The original sometimes signifies a certain alliance, and means citizenship; and sometimes a peculiar behaviour. The one infers and explains the other. The believer stands in connection with another world — "a better country, even an heavenly"; he is a citizen of no mean city — one "whose builder and maker is God." How did a man boast in being a citizen of Rome! Think, then, what a privilege it is to belong to a state which "Eye hath not seen," etc. Hence our Lord teaches His disciples to prefer their being registered there to the power and fame of working miracles.
2. As the Christian is allied to such a country, a suitable mode of living becomes him. A citizen of Rome could live in the most distant provinces. A citizen of heaven resides on earth, but he is a stranger and a foreigner. Though in the world he is not of it. And though certain purposes detain him here, his principles, habits, speech, show that he belongs to "a peculiar people." He acts under an impression of heaven, and with reference to it. His chief care is to gain it.
II. HIS EXPECTATION.
1. This reminds us of the present abode of the Redeemer. Hence we need not wonder that Christians should have their conversation there. Where their treasure is there is their heart. The removal of a dear friend will frequently Tender a place indifferent to us, and we change our neighbourhood to be near him. So rising with Christ we seek those things which are above, where He sitteth.
2. Though our Redeemer is now in heaven He will come thence. He does not forget His friends. He communicates with them, and supplies them, and has promised to "come again and receive them to Himself." And how wonderful the difference between His former and His future coming. Then He was seen of few, now "every eye shall see Him." Then "the world knew Him not"; now "we shall see Him as He is." Then "He was despised and rejected of men"; now He "shall come in the clouds of heaven, with all the holy angels." Then He was born in a stable and nailed to a cross; now "He shall sit on the throne of His glory."
3. The state of the Christian's mind with regard to this appearance. He looks for Him.
(1) He believes His coming; and this distinguishes him from infidels.
(2) He pays attention to His coming; and thus he is distinguished from nominal Christians. We prepare for the reception of a friend, much more for a king; but the Personage expected is the King of kings. And the Christian waits with his "loins girded and his lamps burning," and, "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, lives soberly...looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing."
4. The character under which the Christian waits for Him — "The Saviour." This was the name given Him at His birth, because He should save His people from their sins. This work He is coming to finish.
III. HIS DESTINY.
1. The subject changed. Much of the wisdom and power of God are displayed in the formation of the human frame, and therefore it cannot wholly be a "vile body." But when we view it as degraded by the Fall, as prostituted to the purposes of sin; when we think of its low and sordid appetites and infirmities, its diseases, its dissolution, we acknowledge the propriety of calling it a body of humiliation. But this body is not to be annihilated, only changed.
2. The model to which it will be conformed — "His glorious body." The comparison does not regard His body in the days of His flesh; but to the post-resurrection glorified body when it was free from everything animal and humiliating. A glimpse of His glory was given at the Transfiguration, to Saul, and to John. A conformity to this glory is not too great a privilege for our hope. As sure as we now resemble our Saviour in disposition shall we be like Him in person; and the same mind will be followed with the same body.
3. The omnipotent agency by which the work is to be accomplished. Such a renovation is nothing else than the most stupendous of miracles, and therefore it demands more than kindness to effect it. The reanimation and organization of millions of dead bodies will not exhaust Him who is able to subdue all things unto Himself.Learn —
1. To be thankful for the discoveries of revelation. The wisest philosophers were worse off than the most illiterate of Christians.
2. The importance the Scripture attaches to the doctrine of the resurrection. The intermediate state is imperfect. Man was embodied in his original, and will be in his ultimate condition.
3. Let this thought be combined with the thought of death.
(1) Remember it in view of your own dissolution, and, as you look toward the grave, take courage and drink in the revelation — "I am the Resurrection and the Life."(2) Remember it when you lose your pious friends. You have not parted from them forever.
4. Are you the children of the resurrection? For though the resurrection as an event is universal, as a privilege it is limited. Can that be a deliverance which raises a man from a bad state and consigns him to a worse?
Parallel VersesKJV: For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: