George Walker - Long Beach, California - November 27, 1960

I will read a few verses that are in the 5th chapter of II Corinthians:

'For  we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven. If so be that being clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in His body, according to that He hath done, whether it be good or bad.'

I might say that I esteem it a great privilege to have the opportunity of speaking to so many people who are interested in the things of God, and anxious to be right with God, and concerned about their eternal welfare. There are quite a few here to whom I have had the opportunity of speaking before. I have been praying a good deal that the Lord would help us to say something today that would be edifying to all God's people - that might even help some who are still undecided to take the first step. 

I am glad that we don't have to depend upon our own natural ability. The human brain is a most wonderful piece of equipment. It works perfectly from the time we are born, and never stops until we get up to speak. I am glad that God's servants do not have to depend entirely upon the human brain - they have the assurance from Jesus of the aid of the Holy Spirit. As we bear witness of Jesus, the Holy Spirit is backing up everything that we say. We are working together. One thing that makes the servants of God glad is that even in their weakest times, they have reason to know that the Holy Spirit is taking and using their weakness to speak to people concerning heavenly things.

This whole chapter has been uppermost in my mind for sometime past. I have felt more than ever how much in this one chapter there is to make our hearts glad and grateful. I have also been impressed with the truths to help us get a serious view of life. The last verse brings home to our mind that these few years on earth are going to bring eternal results. Two words in the first verse, 'we know.' We are certain - we are not guessing. As I read these verses over and over, there has been a gladness in my heart that God has made it possible for us to know something while here on this earth about where we are going when we leave. I know what kind of body I am going to have when I leave this body. Isn't that something sweet to sincere, honest people? The Bible is a positive book. Jesus was a positive preacher. After listening to Jesus speak, people said, 'He is not speaking like the scribes - He speaks with authority.' It made some people very glad; it made a lot of people mad.

If I didn't really want to go to a place, and inquired how to get there, I would be glad if no one knew how to direct me. But if I really wanted to go there, I would be happy to meet someone who knew how to get there. You remember when Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, 'We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen;' I don't know how Nicodemus received that; I think he received it well. The Pharisees didn't receive it well. Jesus preached with assurance. He knew. Paul was very like His master. He could write to the Thessalonians and say, 'Our gospel came in much assurance.' John said in his epistles, 'We know.' 

A man told in his testimony about
a discussion he had with a religious man. The religious man asked him, 'How do you know you are going to heaven?' He quoted to him the words of John, 'By this we know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren'. We know that we are dwelling in God because of the spirit He has given us. It is good to be able to give assurance. Sad to hear people say, 'I am not sure whether I am a wise or a foolish virgin.' We don't need to remain in doubt. God has given us ways to check up on ourselves. A true, honest person can say, 'I know that I have passed from death to life because there is in my heart a love for my brethren.' 

I once heard a man speaking about a mother's love. As he was speaking, it came into my mind that I know a love that God can put into a human heart that is greater than a mother's love. Paul, in writing to the Thessalonians, spoke of his love for them. Paul was a Jew and had been prejudiced against the Gentiles. He preferred to preach in Jerusalem. He couldn't love the Gentiles before he saw them, but the love of Christ constrained him. 'If He says I am to go to preach to them, I will go because I love Him.' When he saw them willing to obey the Gospel, he loved them. That is the foundation of our fellowship. If we let that love die, everything will be gone. The love which comes into the servant's heart begets love in those to whom they preach. Love responds to love; because God loves us, we love Him.

One of our sisters was coming to the close of life's day a few years ago. A brother was saying good bye and was saying, 'We will not see each other again.' But she said, 'Yes, indeed we will, if you keep faithful.' It would be presumptuous to say we are going to heaven on our own goodness. The last verses of this 5th chapter give us a reason for having the right to say this. 'For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.'

You can read the verses before this; they are worth meditating. They tell us that God was in Christ and wasn't imputing trespasses. We are ambassadors for Christ. This is a wonderful theme - imputed and imparted righteousness. We cannot separate the two. If I claim the imputed righteousness, I can only claim it because I have a hunger for the imparted. Imputed means that God planned that His Own Son would come and go to Calvary's cross and make a perfect atonement, and then God could impute His righteousness to us.

In the Old Testament time, God gave them shadows and types, pointing to the time when the substance would come, all showing that His Own Son would come and make atonement for us. It was God the Father that so loved the world that He was willing that Christ should die, reconciling the world unto Himself. Because it just says before this in this same chapter, 'If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.' There is just one question for you and me today, and that is, 'Am I in Christ or am I not in Christ?' If I am, God imputes the righteousness of Christ to me. It is the same trust that John had. 'If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.'

One day, I was visiting in two homes. I was rather surprised to be asked the same question in both homes. An old lady said, 'Do you think our God brings up against us in the judgment sins we committed before we heard the Truth?' I said, 'No, when you yielded to Christ, God wiped that off the book.' I could go farther and tell her that even after we come into God's Family, when we fail, the blood of Christ atones. I left that home and went to another home, and was asked the same question there. I wondered why those sisters were troubled by that. But even David prayed, 'Remember not against me the sins of my youth.'

It is a good thing to have assurance. Not the presumptuous kind that comes from self righteousness, but knowing that when we yielded to Christ, He came into us, and I am in Christ and God gives me credit for His Life. Imparted righteousness always goes with that. I could not say that Jesus paid it all when I don't have the evidence that Christ is in me. Imparted righteousness is that which the Holy Spirit works in us when we are in Christ. Paul said, 'Examine yourselves.' Sometimes doctors tell us how we can check up on our own physical condition.

What does it mean to believe in vain? What confuses a good many religious people today is that they speak a good deal about faith, and don't practice it. James, in his epistle, tells us that there are two kinds of faith...dead faith and living faith. Living faith always leads to action. Believing Christ is not just believing what He said, but being willing to obey Him. If I wanted to know today where I will be when death calls, I could examine myself and say, 'Is it the purpose of my heart to follow Jesus?' Not what I have done in the past, but right now, 'Am I willing to obey Him?' If I am, the blood He shed takes care of the past. God is a just Judge and can justify those who have sinned against Him. A great mistake many religious people are making is believing that Christ died and it is not necessary to obey Him.

There are a few other things in this chapter and in previous chapters that tell us why Paul could say, 'We know.' His previous experience as a servant of God, 'I
die daily.' This is very important for a servant of God. What does it mean to 'die daily?' I think those verses in Colossians 3 have helped me to understand what Paul meant when he said, 'I die daily.' We must mortify the members in this body. A true child of God does not do these things; He has made them dead. We know these things still try to get control over us even though we are trying to serve God. Romans 6:14, 'Sin shall not have dominion over you' does not say it isn't there. 

We believe that
our Government is good, but we don't say there are no criminals; they don't have dominion. We have a power to help make dead the things that we would be by nature. There are other things not so gross - covetousness, etc. We might have a very covetous nature, but we should make it dead. Judas didn't mortify this. If we don't kill some things, they will kill us. If the doctor told us we have a growth and if it is not taken out it would cause our death, would we not be foolish to allow it to continue to grow? A man we know went to a doctor who told him, 'Your tonsils are badly infected and are throwing poison into your blood.' He hesitated to have them removed and twelve months later was becoming badly crippled with arthritis. He went back to the doctor and asked him to take out his tonsils. But the answer was, 'The damage is already done.' There may be things in our mind and heart which we could easily make dead, but when we let them grow, they will bring about our spiritual death. The little things are dangerous things - envy, pride, jealousy.

I am not too sure what Paul was trying to convey in the 4th chapter, 'Death worketh in us, but life in you.' I used to think he meant he was dying that they might have life. But I think he must have been saying, 'You are not putting to death the things you ought; you are letting the human live in you. There is no unity among you. You are letting life work in you, but we make death work in us.'

I have been trying to figure out what it would mean for death to work in me. It would mean that I am seeking nothing for myself. As I read on down in that chapter, I see things that confirm this thought. The last verse, 'We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.' I have often enjoyed dwelling on these things. Let the outward man perish. But, oh! what a wonderful comfort that the inward man is being renewed day by day. When this body dies, the spirit will go back to God. Is that spirit being renewed day by day? 'Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.'

Do you think that if Paul went to a city, he would spend much time gazing at the wonderful, expensive homes? He would say, 'Something tells me that they will be destroyed. I don't covet them.' It is not only material things, but other things, that human nature would covet. They will soon be gone. I have my eyes on something better. One woman, impressed by God's servants, said that they had a far-away look in their eye. Peter talks about people who don't see afar off. A child of God sees things in the future. I see a mansion in heaven - what God has for faithful servants.

Then he goes on to speak about experiences that children of God have which they don't understand. He used the word, 'groan.' When people are in pain they groan. We groan. He tells us why - to be clothed upon; to get more of Christ's nature. When I was going to school and complained about having pains in order to stay home, I was told they were 'growing pains.' If we are in God's True Way, we will always have growing pains if we are healthy. Something will never let us be satisfied with our attainment. When we become satisfied with ourselves, we will become like the Laodiceans; God will spew us out of His mouth.

Something makes us want to be a little more like Jesus, have a little more of His Spirit, of His outward marks. This clothing is put on from the inside. Because we have this assurance, we are groaning to have more of the Christ Nature and less of the human nature. I am very glad that I was not very long in the harvest field when I realized that if I want to be useful and have a reward, the most important thing for me to be concerned about is having the right thing working in me, that no matter how well I could preach, if I missed the other, I could not continue and end well. Paul said, 'We groan.'

Nakedness begins in the garden of Eden. It means in the spiritual sense that I would only have my own human righteousness. I would not be in Christ and He would not be dwelling and working in me. Maybe I am stressing this too much, but it has come to me that whether I am right or not, one of the devil's greatest efforts is directed toward trying to shake the confidence of God's children. The devil does love to sow doubts in our minds. This fight of faith means that we will put up a fight against every fiery dart of the devil.

Agnostic means nobody knows whether there is a heaven or a hereafter. Paul was not an agnostic. In the first place, we don't doubt God. Nothing pleases God more than when we believe His Son. One of our well-known writers, when he was in the prime of life, used to ridicule the thought of God. He said faith was trying to make yourself believe something that you knew wasn't true. There was hatred working in him when he was old. He was mad at God, but didn't believe there was one. He was mad at his fellow man. I thought of what faith brings at the close of life's day. Paul could say, 'I am departing to be with God.' People don't think of their own greatness, nor conscious of all their failures, but confident that we are going to be with Christ.

This last verse, 'We will all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.' Will we not know whether we are going to heaven or not until we are before the judg­ment seat? This verse does not mean that. It means the children of God. This is made very clear by Jesus Himself, and by the Holy Spirit, that God's children will not be judged whether or not they will be in heaven, but what place we are fit to fill in that eternal heavenly kingdom. There may be a difference in eternity even for the children of God.

That brings home to us that life is a serious thing. You will receive of what was done in the body, whether it was good or bad. We are responsible for what is done. I am responsible for what my hands do, where my feet go, for what this tongue says, for what this mind dwells on, for what this heart loves. Jesus Himself said, 'Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.' We sometimes get upset when people say wrong things, but we ought to have great pity, remembering that every idle word will be brought up in the judgment. There is a bright side to this. God is not unrighteous to forget your work of faith and labor of love. Everything we ever did to help and strengthen a child of God, we will receive reward for it. 'Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord that they may rest from their labours; and their works to follow them.'

Before I knew the Truth, certain things used to appeal to me. I was working in a store at that time and was anxious to make money. I am very glad that when I got to know God's True Way, I found it became possible to forget my own troubles and ambitions and own way, and to live for others.

'We labor, that whether in the body, or absent, I want to be acceptable to Him.' These things are possible or they would not be in the Bible. There are truths in the Bible that make our hearts jump with joy. I wouldn't want to say now the reward will be given to us. It could be that through keeping obedient, we have been developing a capacity to enjoy heaven to the fullest extent. Didn't Jesus say that if you give to people who can't give back to you, you will be recompensed at the resurrection of the just? After we get the Christ Nature in us, it is not just a matter of getting to heaven, but having an abundant entrance. I hope our ambition is to be acceptable to Him while we live in this world.