Heavenly Soil (The Ingathering)
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light,” (1 Peter 2:9; NASB).
Consider the concept of a small cluster of foreigners who occupy a block of neighbor-hoods in the community in which you live. Now, imagine that there were an individual with whom you work and enjoy similar hobbies, and he claimed to be of the same nationality as those foreigners. Say they have a king, and he regularly told you of his allegiance to that king, but he acted more like the culture in which you live and never associated with anyone of his own nationality.
You might ask, “Why don’t you just go through the process of becoming a citizen of our nation? You clearly have more of an affinity for our way of life and our people than you do with them.” Such a question would be perfectly legitimate.
As Christians, we are citizens of the kingdom of God. We are a holy priesthood and, like the sons of Levi in the nation of Israel, we have no inheritance in this world. We are sojourners here. We daily make our pilgrimage in a foreign nation waiting with bated breath for the that we will finally see our Fatherland and be finally at home on heavenly soil. Our picture is incomplete if we stop there, though. In each nation in which we reside as Christians, our King has established embassies to His heavenly kingdom.
“10Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you,” (2 Timothy 1:10-11).
Christians are those who long to stand on heavenly soil. What are we to make then of those who routinely neglect to stand on the heavenly soil of the local church as we gather to worship our King each week? Is their profession—that they desire the heavenly kingdom—consistent with their refusal to stand on the heavenly soil that materializes each week as the saints gather on the Lord’s Day?
Certainly the struggle with social anxiety is a real thing, and we must bear with people who struggle with this issue with great patience and love. However, there are a great many Christians who wrestle through their anxiety to be among the people of God every week, because they know that they have an obligation to the household of God and that they themselves will be all the more blessed for it. Let us be diligent, then, “not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near,” (Hebrews 10:25; NASB).