Are You There?

The great and peculiar privilege of the believer now is, that he is united to the risen Lord Jesus in glory, and therefore where He is determines everything. The old association was not to be resumed, as He said to Mary Magdalene, “Touch Me not . . . but go to My brethren and say into them, I ascend to My Father and your Father; and to My God and your God” (John 20:7).

There is a great deal of enjoyment of the Lord Jesus which does not spring solely from personal fellowship with Him. There is a sense of perfect remission of sin; there is the heart burning because of the opening of the Scriptures; and there is the action of the light, the sense that I belong to it, and am really of a divine origin. There is the knowledge of His favor in service and circumstances, yielding a very distinct joy; and yet none of these rises to the height of association with Him where He is. All of these, however great, could be and are enjoyed on earth.

Nothing can divert from earth but another place, and a greater, and this is one of the primary effects rising from fellowship with the Lord Jesus in glory. Then I know my citizenship is there; I become loose to earth, because I am conscious of having real enjoyment of heart with Him in heaven where He is. If I only get heaven when I die, I retain earth until that event takes place. But when I know my position above I am deflected from this place, which is so entirely, in the best of circumstances, inferior to it.

There are other great and deep experiences which cannot be known unless the believer has been led by the Spirit of God into heaven. First, there is no true and clear sense of the priesthood of Christ, unless I know Him now appearing in the presence of the Father for me. How could I enjoy the effect of this, if I were not in spirit associated with Him there?

How can I know what it is to enter into the Holiest by the Blood of the Lord Jesus, by the new and living way, unless I were associated with Him by the Spirit? If I am not with the Lord Jesus where He is, I have neither a clear, well-assured sense of how He maintains me in the presence of the Father, nor have I, however great my intelligence of doctrines and truth generally, ever really tasted of the true place of worship in the Holiest of All.

This accounts for the constant references in hymns and otherwise, by many apparently advanced saints, to the work of the Lord Jesus and their need of atonement. I believe that everyone in the Holiest deepens in his appreciation of the wondrous work which has procured entrance for him into the perfect scene; but I say that one there, is not seeking or reverting to the way to get in, because he is in, and he is praising and blessing because he is there.

A saint might have the faith of an Abraham, and not enjoy occupation with the Lord Jesus in heaven. He might have the courage of a Daniel, and not know union with Him in heaven. He might be assured of the forgiveness of his sins, and not know that he is united to the Lord Jesus in heaven. He might have the devotedness of a Mary of Bethany, and be as sure of heaven as a Simeon or the thief on the cross, while still not knowing the deep, wondrous effect of being in spirit with the Lord Jesus; hidden with Him in God.

- J B Stoney