A Saved Condition, and a Lost Condition
This is Part 2 of the lesson called “Spiritual Conditions”. In “Spiritual Conditions – Part 1, I referred to this as “food for thought”. And I’d like you to look at this lesson as more “food for thought”. The reason I call it that, is because there’s more than one way to look at this subject, and so this is just to get us thinking about what the bible says, and see how we can picture it in our minds.
So then, to begin with, let me once again use the example of the “spiritual conditions” of being saved or lost. I believe that all of you would agree, that right now, as we live our physical life, we are either in a saved “condition”, or you are in a lost “condition”. Our soul, is in either one or the other of those “conditions”.
However, I believe that typically, when we think of heaven and hell and hades, we think of those things as being spiritual “places”, as opposed to spiritual “conditions”. Heaven is thought of as being the “place” where God dwells, and the “place” where the saved will spend eternity. And hell is thought of as being the “place”, where the lost will spend eternity. And hades, (there’s lots of misunderstanding about hades) but hades is typically thought of as being the “place” where your spirit goes at death, when it departs from your physical body, and where it exists until the judgment day.
Just like we read in Ecclesiastes 12:7; “Then the dust shall return to the ground as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” Our spirit returns to God, where it is completely safe, and guarded, and kept. The spirit remains in exactly the same “condition” that it is in when our body dies, because God KEEPS it in that condition.
There is absolutely no possibility, of our spiritual “condition” changing, after our spirit leaves our body. Our lifetime here on earth, is the time which has been allotted to us, to prepare our spirit for eternity.
Hades, Heaven, and Hell, Are They Locations?
But when our spirit has left our body, whether it’s before the judgment, or after the judgment, does the bible teach, that heaven, and hell, and hades, are “places”, that our spirits will be in?
To help us answer that question, let’s consider the spiritual “condition”, of either being saved or lost. As I said to begin with, while we live right now in our bodies, we all are either saved or lost. There’s no in-between. But being saved or lost, refers to the spiritual “condition” of our soul. If we’ve obeyed the commands of God, by which He will forgive our sins, and add us to His kingdom, then our souls are in a saved condition. And of course, if we haven’t obeyed God’s commands, then our souls remain in a lost condition.
When you become saved, your soul hasn’t been moved from one location to another, but rather, it’s condition has been changed. Your soul’s condition has gone from being lost, to being saved. I think I mentioned Colossians 1:13, last week, but I’m going to read verses 12 & 13 today; “Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you for the share of the inheritance of the saints in the light. Who has delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son.”
There has been a “transfer”, that has occurred. But it’s not a transfer from one place to another, but rather, it’s a transfer of condition. We were lost in the domain of darkness, but now we’re saved in the kingdom of Christ. You could say that we used to have a “place” in the world. We used to be “a part” of the world. But now we’ve come out from the world, and now we’re a part of the kingdom. Like that verse just said, we have a “share of the inheritance of the saints”. We are now “a part” of the kingdom, and we now have “a place”, in the kingdom.
However, your new “place” in the kingdom, in the body of Christ, isn’t a new location, but rather, it’s a new “standing”, and it’s a new “position”, and it’s a new “condition”. That’s all perfectly understandable isn’t it?
And here’s a couple of scriptures that talk about various “conditions”.
The first one is Romans 6, verses 3 & 4, and this actually talks about four different conditions. It talks about the condition of dying, and of being buried, and of being resurrected, and it talks about having a new life. “..All of us who have been baptized into Christ, have been baptized into His DEATH. Therefore, we have been BURIED with Him in baptism, in order that as Christ was RAISED from the dead, by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in NEWNESS OF LIFE.”
We die, we’re buried, we’re raised, and we’re given new life. Four different conditions.
In John 3, verse 5, Jesus refers to it as being “born again”. There’s a definite change in condition. We’re still in the same location, but our spiritual condition has changed. According to 2 Corinthians 5:17; we’re now a “new creation in Christ”, Are we in a new location? No, but we’re a “new creation”. The rest of the verse says; “The old things have passed away, behold new things have come into being.” Everything is new, except our location!
The apostle Paul wrote, in 1 Corinthians 15:1; “Now I make known to you brethren, the gospel, which I have preached to you, which also you received, in which also you STAND, by which also you are SAVED; If you hold fast to the word which I preached to you..”
You now have a new “standing” with God. You’re now “standing” in a saved “condition”, and you now have a “place” in the kingdom, and a “position” among the saints.
The bible talks about the “book of life”. In Luke 10, verse 20, Jesus says; “Rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” In Revelation 3, verse 5, He says; “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not erase His name, from the book of life..”
Having your name recorded in heaven, and written in the “book of life”, indicates your “standing” with God, and it indicates the “condition” of your soul.
It’s quite easy to understand, that while your spirit lives in your physical body, all these scriptures refer to your spiritual “condition”, and your spiritual “standing” with God, and your “position” in the kingdom. They do not in any way refer to the location of your spirit. Even when we say that we have a “place” in God’s kingdom, we know, that we are not referring to the location of our spirit, but rather to the “condition” of our spirit. We have been “placed” by God, in a saved condition within His kingdom.
1 Corinthians 6, verse 11 talks about some conditions that we go through, when we’re saved. That verse says; “..but you were washed (you were dirty, but now you’re clean) but you were sanctified (sanctified means.. “to be set apart”. So then, you were in the domain of darkness, but now you’re in the kingdom of Christ) but you were justified.” (you were guilty, but now you’re innocent)
Every verse that I’ve read so far, all clearly talk about our spiritual condition.
And again, it’s all very easy to understand, that as long as our spirits exist within our physical bodies, these verses refer to the condition of our soul. While our bodies are alive, our spirits are indeed “located” within our bodies. But when our bodies die, and our spirits leave our bodies, then where are our spirits located? Does the bible teach that they are located somewhere?
“Where” do our Spirits go?
Let’s see what the bible does say. First of all, let’s go back to Ecclesiastes 12, verse 7; “Then the dust (that’s the body) will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” So the spirit returns to God, but where does it go? It doesn’t go to “heaven”, because Jesus said that no one has gone to heaven yet. Jesus told Nicodemus, in John 3, verse 13; “And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man.” No matter what the vast majority of people believe, “no one has ascended into heaven”, except Jesus.
Let me take a detour here, and talk for a few minutes about whether anyone has already gone to heaven. I’ll just give you one example here; Many people believe that the prophet Elijah went to heaven in a chariot. But that’s just a misunderstanding of the scriptures.
In 2 Kings chapter 2, Elijah, the older prophet, was together with Elisha, the younger prophet. And the bible says in verse 11; “And it came to pass, as they continued on and talked, that there suddenly appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and it separated between the two of them, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind, to the heavens.”
Now obviously the chariot of fire, and the horses of fire, were a vision that appeared. And nothing is said there about Elijah being IN the chariot. But rather, it says that the chariot and the horses, “separated between the two of them”. In other words, the vision of the fiery chariot and horses, came in between Elisha and Elijah, and separated them apart from each other.
And it wasn’t the horse drawn chariot that took Elijah into the heavens, but the scripture says; “Elijah went up by a whirlwind”. So here are Elisha and Elijah walking together, and a vision of a fiery horse drawn chariot comes in between them, and separates them from one another, and then a whirlwind comes and takes Elijah up into the heavens.
Does the scripture say that Elijah went to heaven, as in the abode of God? No it doesn’t say that. The word “heavens”, simply refers to the sky above us. Just like in Genesis 1:1, which says; “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The “heavens” that God created doesn’t refer to the abode of God. God didn’t “create” His abode. God dwells in eternity. And eternity is not “created”. The “heavens” which God created are the physical heavens above us. It’s where the birds fly, and it’s also where the planets and stars are located.
The “Firmament” of the Heavens
And in verses 6 & 7, God speaks specifically about the heavens which He created. It says in those verses; “Then God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters, from the waters. And God made the firmament, and separated the waters which were below the firmament, from the waters which were above the firmament..”
Now, the “firmament” is also called, the “expanse” in some bible versions. The word “firmament” means.. “an extended surface, or expanse”. And this extended expanse, this “firmament”, includes the sky above us, and it also includes the space, where the sun and moon and the planets are. It really is an “expanse” isn’t it? I don’t know where it all ends, but I can guarantee you, it does end somewhere!
The creation is not eternal; It has a beginning, and it has an end. It has an has an end of time, and an end of space. Both time and space were created by God. But eternity, which is God’s abode, has neither time nor space, as we know it. Eternity, by it’s very definition, and it’s very nature, has neither time nor space.
But verse 8 says; “And God called the firmament, heaven.” And just to show us exactly what area is being referred to as the heavens, we’re told in verse 14; “Then God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens, to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.” So obviously God is referring to the sun and moon and stars and planets, etc.
And then in verse 20; “Then God said, Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let the birds fly above the earth, in the open firmament of the heavens.”
So then, the “firmament” includes the sky, where the birds fly, and also the area above the sky, where the rest of the solar systems are located. Isn’t it a very interesting statement, that there are waters “above the firmament”? Exactly where, “above the firmament” are there more waters? I sure don’t have the answer to that one! For all I know, maybe those “waters” are the “river of the water of life” spoken of in Revelation 22, verse 1. “And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”
Interesting, isn’t it?
But anyhow, the scripture says; “..and Elijah went up by a whirlwind, into the heavens.” But Elijah didn’t go to the heavenly abode of God. Elijah hasn’t entered eternity yet. No one except the Son of Man has done that.
Actually, the Son of Man, entered into the heavens, just like Elijah did. He did that, just before He “put off the perishable, and put on the imperishable” which occurred in “the twinkling of an eye”, according to 1 Corinthians 15:50.
In Acts 1, verse 9, the bible tells us; “And after he had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” And then in verse 11, two angels said to the apostles; “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you, into heaven, will come just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
Now, the apostles didn’t see Jesus enter eternity. But they did see Him enter into the created heavens, when “a cloud received Him out of their sight.” And that’s exactly how everyone is going to see Jesus return, “in the clouds” just like He was taken up, in a cloud. That’s what the bible says in Revelation 1, verse 7; “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye shall see Him, even those who pierced Him..”
Remember what it says in 1 Thessalonians 4:17? “Then we who are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
So, when Jesus says that “no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, the Son of Man”, that’s one of those pretty clear and concise verses, which simply states a fact. I mean, how much clearer can it be, that the Son of Man, was the “Word of God”, who “became flesh, and dwelt among us”, (John chapter 1) and who “descended from heaven”? And how much clearer can it be, that Jesus also ascended back to heaven? (Acts 2:33, and Romans 8:34)
And so there’s simply no other way to understand this statement, that “no one has ascended into heaven”, except to understand it as a plain statement of fact. And so when we interpret every other verse of scripture that deals with this subject, we must take this fact into consideration, and not interpret any other verse, in such a way as to contradict this fact.
And we’re out of time. So we’ll have to continue next week. But next week, Lord willing, we’ll talk in more detail, about the “condition” of Hades, and Heaven, and Hell.
Next week’s lesson, will be “Spiritual Conditions – Part 3”. Please join us for that final lesson in this series.