Message of Grace





And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold,

the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them,

and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Revelation 21:3

A Sunday school teacher once asked his class the question “Who wants to go to heaven?” Every hand in the room instantly shot up except for that of one little boy. After the class was over, the teacher pulled him aside and said “Son don’t you want to go to heaven when you die?” The little boy said “I sure do.” The teacher inquired again “Well why didn’t you raise your hand when I asked the question the first time?” The little boy replied with childlike openness, “Oh, I thought you were getting up a load to go right now.” Now this is a humorous story which illustrates the point that most folks desire to go to heaven in order to escape hell.

The most common concept that people have is that heaven is a place of eternal bliss where all of their desires and dreams which they had in this life will be fulfilled. That place is contrasted with the place called hell which is just the opposite and is a place of everlasting torment and destruction. Many preachers think that by painting hell hot and heaven appealing that they can somehow persuade natural men to choose one destination over the other. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to see which is the better choice. But is that really the picture that the scripture paints of the eternal dwelling place of the sons of GOD? Is there anything in heaven that would appeal to the natural man? Does a man have the power to enter heaven by his own choice?

The LORD JESUS CHRIST came into the world to purchase HIS people who by nature are dead in trespasses and sin. In obtaining their eternal redemption, HE secured for them the gift of eternal life. In GOD’s own time and purpose HE quickens (i.e.; makes alive) them and calls them to himself in the gospel of JESUS CHRIST. Thus the gift of eternal life is bestowed upon them through no merit or action of their own but is owing totally to the mercy and grace of GOD. Their minds and wills are changed by HIS power and HE makes them to delight in HIS presence. “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Gal 4:6) They shall live forever because they have been given this eternal life. The LORD said HE has prepared a place for them and shall return to take them into that habitation. “so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thess 4:17) This shall be their eternal happiness.

A man who has not been regenerated would find nothing but misery there. The sons of GOD love HIM, so they shall find contentment in being where HE is, but those who do not love HIM could never be happy in such a condition. A man who hates the way of GOD and does not love the people of GOD would be in utter torment to dwell with them throughout the ages to come. The prospect of eternal destruction in the lake of fire is a daunting one to be sure, but unregenerate men could never enjoy being in the presence of GOD forever.

There is a common misconception among many that after death the minds of men will somehow undergo a transformation. The bodies of the redeemed shall indeed be changed according to the scriptures (see I Cor.15:51-57; Phil.3:21) but there is no indication that the desires and mindset of a man will be changed. If a man dies with love for GOD and HIS way, then he shall awake in the day of the resurrection with the same mind. (see I Cor.2:15) If a man has no time for spiritual things and no hunger and thirst for righteousness when he dies then he shall be brought to judgment in that same frame of mind. There is nothing in heaven that shall remotely interest him then because he evidently was not interested in these things while he was alive.

Some think that men can choose to go to heaven anytime they get ready. The fact is that only GOD can change a man’s heart to give him any sort of desire for that abode. The natural fear of death and judgment which is written (more or less deeply in some than others) on men’s hearts can sometimes be stirred up to make those same men fearful of hell. But those fears soon subside as a man goes about his everyday life and has no hunger and thirst for the presence of GOD in JESUS CHRIST. Millions have made “decisions” under such conditions yet their hearts have not been changed. They shall die in their sins even as others.

The LORD JESUS CHRIST has gone to prepare a place for HIS people. HE is presently in the process of preparing them for that place having sent HIS SPIRIT into the world to be their comforter and guide into all truth. This SPIRIT testifies to them of the glory and sufficiency of the redemptive work that HE has done in their behalf. HE is presently drawing them to himself and giving them the seal of their inheritance. They rejoice in the good news of the gospel and desire to walk in HIS footsteps and be conformed to HIS image. They shall live forever.


When this passing world is done,

When has sunk yon glaring sun,

When we stand with Christ in glory,

Looking o’er life’s finished story,

Then, Lord, shall I fully know—

Not till then—how much I owe.

When I hear the wicked call,

On the rocks and hills to fall,

When I see them start and shrink

On the fiery deluge brink,

Then, Lord, shall I fully know—

Not till then—how much I owe.

When I stand before the throne,

Dressed in beauty not my own,

When I see Thee as Thou art,

Love Thee with unsinning heart,

Then Lord, shall I fully know—

Not till then—how much I owe.

When the praise of Heav’n I hear,

Loud as thunders to the ear,

Loud as many waters’ noise,

Sweet as harp’s melodious voice,

Then, Lord, shall I fully know—

Not till then—how much I owe.

Even on earth, as through a glass

Darkly, let Thy glory pass,

Make forgiveness feel so sweet,

Make Thy Spirit’s help so meet,

Even on earth, Lord, make me know

Something of how much I owe.

Chosen not for good in me,

Wakened up from wrath to flee,

Hidden in the Savior’s side,

By the Spirit sanctified,

Teach me, Lord, on earth to show,

By my love, how much I owe.

Robert M.McCheyne 1813-1843.


THEREFORE, if when Christ died was the time this [justification] was to be done, and if Christ was ordained to do it, if Christ was mighty to save, if Christ took flesh to do this work, if it was the will of God that He should do it, if Christ came on purpose to do it, if our sins were laid upon Christ and He suffered the punishment, (the curse of them) if He has redeemed us, if it was prophesied of Him that He should justify many and that His work should prosper, if Christ did answer His types, if He has exceeded all the priests and sacrifices under the Law; if there needs no more offerings for sin; if Christ has done all the Law required, if Christ has done what He came to do, if we are justified by His blood, if He has made us holy, and presented us without spot, if we are free from all sin, if Christ has done all that can be done to make us just and righteous, if Christ did wash away our sins in His own blood, if Christ has said, “It is finished;” then it’s DONE, it’s DONE, it’s DONE, perfectly and completely DONE. Then what I have said is fully proved namely, that Jesus Christ, by one offering, the sacrifice of Himself, when He was on the Cross, put an end to sin and so destroyed all the sins of His people for ever and presented them just, righteous, and holy, without spot before God, Col. 1:13, 14, 21; Col. 2:13,14.


God’s NAME and FAME are being eclipsed in our day by big-shot preachers and mega-churches. Men are trying to steal His great glory: “Come to OUR church; come see OUR building; come hear OUR choir; what a GREAT preacher we have; we are the BIGGEST church in the area; we are totally CONTEMPORARY.” Sound familiar? In the Acts of the Apostles, what did the disciples and apostles of Christ preach? What was their emphasis? Reverend preachers? Robed choirs? Fabulous buildings? High-tech entertainment? None of this, beloved. Listen: “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached CHRIST unto them.” (Acts 8:5). “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him JESUS” (Acts 8:35). Reverence for God is at an all-time low across the land today. Multitudes have been swept into the modern church without any sight of “THE KING, THE LORD OF HOSTS” (Isaiah 6:1-5). This “vision” of “JEHOVAH-SABAOTH” is what we need in our churches – not the sight of men. “Sir, We would see JESUS” (John 12:21). Behold the God-Man on the tree of Calvary! Behold the Sovereign Ruler of heaven and earth! Behold King Jesus! “Serve JEHOVAH with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son lest he be angry. (Ps.2:11,12)

W.F. Bell, Canton, Georgia