Back Contents Next

Lay Up Preparations for Glory

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation to Good Traders in Christianity

Advice: Lay Up for Glory

Lay Up Preparations for Glory}


Last, lay up preparations for glory. Glory is a great thing. Oh, what a change does Heaven make on a believer’s state! “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51 NASB). We will be changed from corruption to incorruption, from sin to spotless purity, from imperfection to perfection, from darkness to knowledge, from faith to sight, and from espousal to marriage day (Revelation 21:2–3).1678 And, what preparations do such a change call for? What if death should surprise you and take you in your old clothes? Your daily garments or even your best clothes are not good enough for your marriage day. Your attire must be all new when you solemnize your eternal nuptials to the King of Glory. Oh, what manner of people should you be who look for new Heavens and a new earth! A Paul is not sufficient to carry a love-token to Christ’s spouse here on earth. “To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:16 NKJV). And if not Paul, then who is? Who then is fit to lie in the Bridegroom’s arms to all eternity? Few think about how much the saints must be changed before they can get to Heaven. “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15:50 NKJV). A great deal of preparation work had to be done before an Esther could be fit for the embraces of an earthly king (Esther 2:12).1679 It was six months for purifying with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and cosmetics and other things. Then how much sanctification work is necessary to make a soul fit for immediate enjoyment of God in glory? How unready are most souls for such a change. Oh, believer! Hasten your preparations for Heaven, seeing that your stay on earth is temporary and you do not know at what hour your Lord will come. For this purpose, take these six directions.1680


Get Your Hearts More Loose from This Present World

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation to Good Traders in Christianity

Advice: Lay Up for Glory

Lay Up Preparations for Glory

Get Your Hearts More Loose from This Present World}


First, get your hearts more loose from this present world. People who relocate dismantle and take things with them. Your heart, Christian, is the principal thing you must take with you to Heaven. It could be that you have gone to God in duties many a time and left your heart behind you. But you cannot go to God in glory without your heart. And, oh, what a difficult work it is to get the heart loose from everything below God, even by determined choice! And, until this is done, there is no getting to Heaven.1681 Things built into real estate cannot be removed at sale.1682 How then can that heart get to glory that is nailed down to the world and things below? [Therefore,] loosen your heart daily from the world, estates, houses, lands, trades, friends, relatives, and everything below. For you may not have time to get clear of them without loss when death comes. You must leave them all shortly to go to better friends and concerns, and you do not know how soon. These have been snares and spears to your souls and have given you many a wound and still hinder your speeding to glory. Why then should you be loath to part with them? Oh, Christian! If you are willing to be with Christ, you will warn your heart to say goodbye to the things of the world every day.


Press Toward More Maturity in Your Graces

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation to Good Traders in Christianity

Advice: Lay Up for Glory

Lay Up Preparations for Glory

Press Toward More Maturity in Your Graces}


Press toward more maturity in your graces; the more ripe, the more fit for gathering (Joel 3:13).1683 Tamar must remain a widow until Shelah is grown (Genesis 38:11),1684 and your marriage day must be delayed until you come to a full age. The saints must be as a sheaf of grain that comes in its season (Job 5:26).1685 Ripen apace in your graces if you would get to glory. Get your faith, hope, patience, and every grace increased daily, especially your love for God, the grace that will abide in glory (1 Corinthians 13:8).1686 [Ashwood’s prose is potentially misleading here. Ed.]1687 Faith and hope are helps to the soul and companions on the way, but love will be with you forever. Get purer, deeper-rooted, stronger, more enlarged love for Jesus Christ every day until you are downright lovesick for Him. This will make your life a death without His presence here, and your death to be life with Him forever. It was love to Christ that made Ignatius1688 so dead to all things below and longing to be with Christ. There is a story about him that, when he was dead and his heart taken out, they saw the name of Jesus written on it in letters of gold. The more love to God, the more fit for God, for God is love (1 John 4:16).1689


Get and Keep the Testimony of a Good Conscience

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation to Good Traders in Christianity

Advice: Lay Up for Glory

Lay Up Preparations for Glory

Get and Keep the Testimony of a Good Conscience}


Get and keep the testimony of a good conscience that will witness for you in the day of Christ. When you die, you will be on trial for your life, your inheritance, and your all. You will need to have your witnesses firm and ready. Now there are two great witnesses that you will need in that day to clear your title: the witness of conscience, and the witness of the Holy Spirit. If you have the one on your side, you will not lack the other. Get your conscience sprinkled with the blood of Christ and purged from dead works by the Spirit of Christ so that it may appear for you in that day. The blood of Christ will put words into the mouth of conscience for you, to plead the general case and the benefit of pardoning grace. Since you have been a transgressor, enlightened conscience will accuse you since you have sinned. Conscience sprinkled with Christ’s blood will plead for you that you are pardoned. Purged conscience will testify for you that you are changed, and that you hate the evil you have done and love the holiness you neglected. Oh, of what wonderful use will the testimony of a good conscience be when you stand at God’s judgment bench! Get it true to you now, and sure for you then.


Maintain Walks with God Daily

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation to Good Traders in Christianity

Advice: Lay Up for Glory

Lay Up Preparations for Glory

Maintain Walks with God Daily}


Maintain more constant walks with God daily. This will fit you for your eternal fellowship with Him. Conversation with God here is the beginning of acquaintance, and Heaven is perfect friendship and perpetual fellowship. It will greatly fit you for Heaven hereafter to begin the work of Heaven here by means of maintained conversation with Him. Through these walks with God, the saints pass into God’s throne room and sit down with Him forever. Communion with God now is Heaven begun. Those who do this are fittest for His presence in glory, having been trained up in His company here.


Diligently Do Your Work on Earth

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade …

Exhortation to Good Traders in Christianity

Advice: Lay Up for Glory

Lay Up Preparations for Glory

Diligently Do Your Work on Earth}


If you want to prepare for Heaven, diligently do your work on earth. Heaven is a state of rest, and rest follows finished labor (Hebrews 4:9; Revelation 14:13).1690 Paul must end his fight, finish his course, and keep the faith before he can reach the crown (2 Timothy 4:7–8).1691 In the grave, there is no wisdom, project, or work; this is your only time for labor while you are in the vineyard. Oh, how much work is missing for most people! This will make a departure terrible to an awakened conscience. Get busy with your neglected work. It may be that you have much work to do for others in your families or with your relatives. Possibly there are some spiritually dead souls to whom you have not ministered the Gospel. Possibly you have a spiritually dead husband, wife, child, or servant for whom you must do more or you cannot comfortably appear before God. Oh, hasten about this work, that you may give your account with joy! There is also soul-work to be done to get corruptions subdued, graces strengthened, your accounts settled (Matthew 25:19),1692 evidence of grace cleared, and lamps trimmed (Matthew 25:7);1693 these must be done with utmost vigor. If you want to go home, finish your work.


1678And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God’” (Revelation 21:2–3 ESV).

1679Now when the turn of each young lady came to go in to King Ahasuerus, after the end of her twelve months under the regulations for the women—for the days of their beautification were completed as follows: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and the cosmetics for women” (Esther 2:12 NASB). Although this preparation was just wasteful and boastful extravagance by a proud king, it is a good analogy here; six centuries would be inadequate for Christ.

1680Ashwood’s language here could imply that believers need to attain to a certain amount of sanctification before they can go to Heaven when they die. Be assured that all believers will get perfect sanctification the instant they reach Heaven. However, the preparation of having saving faith in Jesus Christ is absolutely mandatory. Also, heart-work for sanctification and diligent use of the means of grace are works that have eternal reward just as any other of our works.

1681This is clearly God’s standard for us, but like all matters of sanctification, it is a result of saving faith just like justification, not a cause of justification. Thus, Ashwood’s statement must be taken as a goal that is not fully attainable in this life. (If you think you have perfectly attained to it, may God give you another think before you perish in Hell!)

1682The exact legal situation in the USA is more complex, especially with regard to commercial trade fixtures.

1683Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the winepress is full. The vats overflow, for their evil is great” (Joel 3:13 ESV). This seems a poor reference, for Ashwood is encouraging more righteousness, but this verse refers to ripeness of evil.

1684Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, ‘Remain a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up’; for he thought, ‘I am afraid that he too may die like his brothers.’ So Tamar went and lived in her father’s house” (Genesis 38:11 NASB).

1685You shall come to your grave in ripe old age, like a sheaf gathered up in its season” (Job 5:26 ESV).

1686Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away” (1 Corinthians 13:8 NASB).

1687Ashwood is potentially misleading here with respect to “ripening” or “coming to full age.” It is a general law of nature that all living things are either growing or dying. As becomes obvious in professional athletes, this is true of humans also; there is first a period of growth, a flattening of the curve, then a period of gradual decline. This is an illustration or analogy of why Ashwood is very correctly exhorting us to growth in grace. It is absolutely not enough for a Christian to be satisfied with his or her status quo; a person in that state can have no assurance of salvation. A careful study of Scripture shows that we are commanded to grow and increase in grace. To not pursue this growth is flat-out disobedience to God, is a symptom of taking sin way too lightly, and may be evidence of being on the path to Hell. Unfortunately, Ashwood’s analogies seem to imply that either a certain standard of spiritual maturity is needed to attain Heaven, or that faster spiritual growth will get us to Heaven sooner; neither of these is true. Sanctification in believers is usually a three-stage process. First, there is usually a great and sudden amount of sanctification that occurs shortly after conversion. Then there is the long period of growth in grace while living the Christian life on earth. Finally, sanctification is completed on entrance to glory, a level of perfect sanctification not attainable on earth. So, in summary, God’s standard is perfection, but we will never be made fit for Heaven in this life because of our sin. But we must make continual progress toward that goal during our entire lives. If we do not, something is very wrong.

1688There were many with this name besides the infamous Ignatius of Loyola.

1689We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16 NASB).

1690So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9 NASB). “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them’” (Revelation 14:13 NKJV).

1691I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7–8 NASB).

1692After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them” (Matthew 25:19 NKJV).

1693Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps” (Matthew 25:7 ESV).

Back Contents Next