The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe
"Old Testament and New"
Part 5 - The Stars Of the Heaven
The law was given to an earthly nation, Israel. The grace and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ is given to a Heavenly people, the church. This correlates with the promise made to Abraham:
"In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore" (Genesis 22:17).
Maintaining this distinction between earthly Israel - "the sand of the sea" - and the church - "the stars of the heaven" - helps us to understand our calling to illuminate the world in which we still live. In the past tense, the Apostle Paul declares of Christians that we have been "made to sit together in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6). Heaven came to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus through the indwelling presence of God the Holy Spirit. We are "a spiritual house, a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" (I Peter 2:5). We "live in the Spirit" and are thus called to "walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25). Our hearts already dwell in the Heavenlies as we "set our affection on things above" (Colossians 3:2). Our feet nevertheless steadily walk the earth for the purpose of glorifying God and blessing people in tangible, effectual expressions of the love of God. We serve as the most practical and useful people on the planet because we live from the wisdom, understanding, and power of Heaven that far transcends earthly understanding and ability. "We shall live with Him by the power of God" (Colossians 3:2; II Corinthians 13:4).
We are people of the heart, God's heart as united to our own, with our focus fixed on "doing the will of God from the heart" (Ephesians 6:6). What we do matters greatly in behavior and action. Why we do it matters more in motivation and purpose. We seek to live for God by living from God. This constitutes a primary emphasis on Solomon's mandate: "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23). Faith and submission to God within results in faithfulness and service to God without. The sequence never changes for the Christian as God's grace in Christ first reveals the Savior's working in our hearts, which results in the empowering of our hands and feet. "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us… And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love toward one another, and toward all men" (Romans 5:5; I Thessalonians 3:12).
Just as our Savior was "the Lord from Heaven" who became incarnate, so are born again believers citizens of Heaven who still live on the earth (I Corinthians 15:47). Spiritual in nature, we remain earthly in the sense of seeking to "shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15). We are people of the heart as birthed and enlivened by the Christ whose sublime heart dwells within us through the Holy Spirit. Thereby we illuminate the darkness of a fallen world as "the stars of the heaven" who direct people to the Savior no less than another Star of long ago…
"The star which they saw in the east went before them 'til it came and stood over where the young Child was."
"Our conversation (citizenship) is from Heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."
Weekly Memory Verse
The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
(I Corinthians 2:14).