This World, That World (3)
Luke 20:34-38 (34) And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: (35) But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: (36) Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. (37) Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. (38) For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him. We have already seen in previous meditations on this text that the children of God / children of the resurrection are identified with that world, i.e., the “...world to come...” (LUK 18:30) which is the glory world as yet unseen by the natural eye. Here is another observation based upon this text: The children of the resurrection are here described as being “...accounted worthy to obtain that world...” The Oxford English Dictionary shows that accounted means “counted, reckoned, considered.” That glorious place is one “...wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2PE 3:13); it forbids any and all unrighteousness: “...the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (1CO 6:9). Now, since all of a sinner's righteousnesses are so many filthy rags in God's sight (ISA 64:6), it is evident that they are inadequate to account one worthy to obtain that world from the standpoint of earning it. No, that reward is not reckoned of debt (as if God was obliged to a sinner's righteous conduct) but purely of grace (ROM 4:4); it is “Not by works of righteousness which we have done...” (TIT 3:5). To make the obtaining of that world a matter of the sinner earning it by obeying God's law is a frustration of grace which renders the propitiatory work of Christ for sinners a waste: “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (GAL 2:21). Reliance upon one's own law-works for admittance into that world is flatly condemned in Scripture (ROM 3:20; GAL 3:10-11). This censure would even include reliance upon the sinner's personal faith since that is also a work of the law (MAT 23:23; HEB 3:17-19; HEB 4:1-2)! However, the genuine faith of a humble sinner does offer some hope of obtaining that world which demands perfect righteousness for admittance. Those who are accounted worthy to obtain that world are such as Abraham, of whom it was said “...Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (GAL 3:6). Now that Abraham's faith was said to be accounted for righteousness (counted for righteousness, ROM 4:3; reckoned for righteousness, ROM 4:9; imputed to him for righteousness, ROM 4:22) cannot mean that Abraham's personal faith earned him the righteousness of God. If that were the case, then Phinehas' shish-kebabing of a pair of fornicators (NUM 25:6-8) would mean that he thereby earned the righteousness of God since the Holy Spirit says, “...And that was counted unto him for righteousness...” (PSA 106:30-31). If the Holy Spirit intends by PSA 106:30-31 to imply that one earns the righteousness necessary to obtain that world by skewering fornicators, this would totally revolutionize evangelism. And, considering the unbridled loin-worship of our current culture, the fields are very white unto harvest. No, Phinehas' act did not earn for him righteousness which Jesus Christ alone provides; it was a token or evidence that he WAS in possession of Christ's righteousness, for “...he that doeth righteousness IS righteous, even as he (God) is righteous” (1JO 3:7). So, too, with Abraham's faith. And Abel's faith, for “By faith Abel....obtained witness (evidence) that he WAS righteous...” (HEB 11:4). And for every true believer's faith, since “...it was not written for his (Abraham's) sake alone, that it (righteousness) was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus from the dead;...” (ROM 4:23-24). Those that are best assured that they are accounted worthy to obtain that world are those who trust in the finished work of one righteous man on their behalf: Jesus Christ, by Whose obedience alone many are made righteous (ROM 5:19). They desire not to be found in Christ because of their own righteousness but rather according to a righteousness that is through the faith of Christ (PHIL 3:9) Who trusted God to raise Him from the dead for their justification (ACT 2:22-32; ROM 4:25). Jesus Christ, like Abraham when he was about to slay his son Isaac (HEB 11:17-18), accounted that “...God was able to raise him up, even from the dead...” (HEB 11:19). NOTE: Those who trust in some worth of their own which obliges God to save them are not those who are accounted worthy to obtain that world. It is those who like Abraham and Christ have an implicit trust in God to do the impossible in order to perform His promises, whether that be raising a body from natural death or a soul out of spiritual death in trespasses and sins. Their heart's plea is not, “Worthy is the sinner because of his personal faith or good works” but “Thou art worthy, O Lord...” (REV 4:11); “...Worthy is the Lamb...” (REV 5:11).