The following is from an article from the mid 1980’s by the late C. M. Ward. I saved this for many years, short as it is..It says it all.
“Who is to judge whether or not a believer is “looking”? Who is the foolish society and what is the “wise” society? Labels now become libels.
Christ so loved the Church and gave Himself for it. Am I to become a self-appointed arbiter and decide what portion of the Church is worthy?
Christ’s company, gathered in Galilee, was a polygot one. It represented every shade of opinion and conduct. Christ thanked His Father for them and called them “friends.”
Saved by grace. I will continue to be saved by “grace through faith”, and nothing more. I can never save myself. ‘Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace’. (II Thes 2:16).
This salvation is progressive. I have been saved (from guilt). I AM being saved (kept). I SHALL be saved (from the presence of sin). Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. Paul says we look for the Saviour. At the new birth I am accepted. “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved. (Eph 1:6) The salvation of the penitent thief took him fom the gallows to glory. Grace is sufficient.
The salvation provided for me is “to the uttermost”. There are no revisions needed. The ‘catching up’ is not a reward. It is an intrinsic part of my salvation.
The dead will be raised. There are almost two thousand years of believers graves. “The dead in Christ shall rise first. ” Jesus said, “The hour is coming, in that which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (John 5:28-29 If all the dead in Christ shall be raised, justice demands that all the living in Christ shall be “caught up”. “We shall ALL be changed.” It is true that some will be saved, “yet so as by fire.” But that is the Judgment Seat.
No longer our own. My body is the possession of the Holy Spirit. It is no longer the inventory of wrath (hates). “And because ye are sons, God hath send forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba Father”. (Gal. 4:6) I have become a portion of the “purchased possession. ”
“What?” Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost…and ye are not your own?” (I Cor 6:19) The believer’s body is under this contract. Paul understood this. “For our conversation is in heaven: from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” (Phil.3:20-21)
He will present us. The “spots and wrinkles” are His business…not the evangelist’s or the denomination’s. He has guaranteed to present me “without blemish”. I will lean upon Him. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 24)
Paul knew the Corinthian believers and he loved them. They were far from perfect. Some were quarrelsome. Some were proud. Some were babies. Paul said “all” would be changed. We must give account. Very soon after this event a sorting will take place. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God”. (Romans 14:12) Paul says “everyone’s work shall be made manefest”. All believers have an examination date. “For we must all appear before the Judgment seat of Christ.” (II Corinthians 5:10)
How can the believer “appear before the Judgment seat of Christ” if he or she is involved in the Great Tribulation? Our condition will not cost us the COMING. It will cost us the CROWN.
The Great C. M. Ward: