Scriptural Insights from Biblical Overlooks

Scriptural Insights from Biblical Overlooks

Study Guide, July 23, 2023

Pastor Clay Olsen

Summer is certainly a travel time for a lot of people. And in our state, North Carolina, we are blessed to have both beautiful beaches on the ocean and terrific vistas in the mountains. How many have traveled the Blue Ridge Parkway? What a beautiful drive. The Blue Ridge Parkway is the longest parkway in the country, connecting the Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, stretching 469 miles from Rockfish Gap, VA to Cherokee, NC. And all along the way are 200 ‘Overlooks’ where you can stop and check out the great views.

Well, guess what? We are also going go traveling…going to take a little tour of some Biblical ‘Overlooks’. And from these Biblical Overlooks were going to gaze upon some amazing Scriptural insights that can both inspire us and motivate us in our daily journey with Christ and with one another. So, are you ready to go? Let’s ride!

Our first overlook is so spectacular that from this vantage point we are able to see right into Heaven itself. And one thing that we are going to see is meant to instill a peace and an assurance that should influence everything in your life on the rest of your journey through life. In fact, it is a Biblical scene that is one of the most powerful assurances in the Bible that promises eternal security for all Born Again followers of Jesus Christ. Let’s pull over and check it out.

And by the way, this picture is situated right in between the Apostle Paul’s revelation that our God is working in our lives in such a way that even the hard things in our life will be made to produce something of redemptive value and will be accompanied by God’s compensation for our lives…and on the other side of that is the revelation that nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which in in Jesus Christ. And the reason for both of these is because of what is revealed right in the midst of all of that. Let’s look: Rom 8:29-30- “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” NASU

In those two verses we have enough doctrine for a semester load of Systematic Theology. But the scene that we are focusing on is this peace-giving, soul-comforting, and spirit-inspiring truth about our eternal security. Remember that in the fifth chapter of Romans Paul had said, Rom 5:1-2- “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” NASU

What is ‘Justification’? Justification is a divine act whereby an infinitely Holy God judicially declares a believing sinner to be righteous and acceptable before Him because Christ has borne the sinner’s sin on the cross and has become “to us . . . righteousness”. Justification is on the basis of faith and not by human merit or works. In this marvelous operation of God, the infinitely holy Judge judicially declares righteous the one who believes in Jesus. A justified believer emerges from God’s great courtroom with a consciousness that another, his Substitute, has borne his guilt and that he stands without accusation before God. As Lewis Sperry Chafer says: “Therefore, this may be stated as the correct formula of justification: The sinner becomes righteous in God’s sight when he is in Christ: he is justified by God freely, all without a cause, because thereby he is righteous in His sight”. (The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright © 1988.)

Remember, ‘Justification’ was the great theme of the Reformation of the Church. Martin Luther and others discovered that great reality of the Biblical teaching of the difference between Salvation and Sanctification, whereas these two had been confused in much of the church and thus twisted into a false gospel of works righteousness instead of the Gospel of Grace. Many had made Salvation for man into a religious process of man whereby Heaven is earned through a system, a religious system which was based upon a person’s own meritorious works. But in adding man’s works to Christ’s works for salvation they had simply reverted to a false gospel of religious humanism rather than the true Gospel of Christ. It’s like the Apostle Paul stated in Gal 2:16; 21- “…nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified… 21 “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” NASU

Mark it down friends: Man’s universal false belief is that a person can earn a place in Heaven based upon the goodness or the merits of their own life. But that belief is one of the greatest insults there is to the meritorious works of Christ. Plus, it is actually a rejection of the sacrificial offering of Christ’s life to pay the penalty for our sins due to the fact that all people have sinned against God and all mankind has already been condemned. Remember, being dead in trespasses and sin means that every person is way past being able to earn a place in Heaven. Man’s only hope was for Someone else to earn it for them…Someone who was not dead in trespasses and sin, who could earn a place in Heaven for them by their sinless works and also pay the spiritual death penalty for sinners for them. And that Someone is thee One and only One…the Lord Jesus Christ.

And yet, ever since the Fall of Man into sin, there is this rebellious and false assumption whereby people the world over believe that man is still basically good, when he is, in fact, basically dead in trespasses and sin. And so, along with this false belief, so many people still believe that with a little help from God, they can hopefully become good enough to deserve a place in Heaven. In fact, there are still people, even after going to Biblical Gospel teaching churches who still sometimes say to others, “Well, I hope I make it into Heaven.” NO! NO! What are you basing your hope upon? If there was any way that anyone on Earth could still offset their spiritual death sentence by doing enough good works, then as Paul said, ‘then Christ died needlessly!’ Anyone who thinks their works can earn them a place in Heaven is basically saying to Jesus Christ, “No, I’m not already condemned for my sin. You died needlessly for me. I didn’t need You to fulfill the Law for me. I didn’t need you to die in my place. For my hope is in my works, not Yours. I don’t need You.!” And that is one of the greatest insults to the Sacrificial life and sacrificial death of Jesus Christ! For anyone to believe that they can earn their place in Heaven when God has already said they cannot because they have already sinned against God and are already condemned…that is the sin of rejecting what God has proclaimed about them, as well as rejecting the gift of Salvation that Jesus is offering them.

Biblical Salvation is not a combination of the merits of Jesus’ life plus the merits of our life. Grace is no longer grace if it depends upon our works. Whenever a person tries to add their works to the Gospel of Grace, they are rejecting the Gospel of Christ. Every Christian should know Ephesians 2:8 and 9 so well that whenever they hear any religious talk or message that teaches that a person can earn a place in Heaven because of the good things they have done, they immediately should think: “God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” Eph 2:8-9 NLT

Again, all people are already dead in their trespasses and sin! And no one can ever work their way out of spiritual death. And that is the condition of all people on Planet Earth. The only hope for a spiritually dead person is for Someone to resurrect their dead spirit by giving them life again…Someone who can make them become spiritually Born Again. And the only One who can give us new spiritual life is Jesus Christ! And thus, our complete hope and assurance of making it to Heaven is based solely upon Jesus’ gift of forgiveness and gift of His own righteousness for us, as we come to God in repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ!

So remember, Salvation is God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life in union with Jesus Christ. And that gift become ours when we turn from our sin and self in repentance, and by faith, we place our trust in Jesus’ sacrificial life and death for our salvation. We thus become spiritually reborn. And then, as children of God, we are ready to live a sanctified life…to live a life of Sanctification, whereby we commit to doing good works out of our saved position in Christ, and our obedience to God, and in preparation for our continued service in the Kingdom of Heaven.

And so now back to the assurance of our eternal security. And so now God says to us, for those who have been Born Again, or who have been ‘Justified’…these God has also ‘Glorified’! This too, is something that is already done in the life of a Christian. And if you remember, when Jesus was once talking with His disciples, He pointed something out to them…that even more than the wonders and even more than the miracles, what they should continually rejoice over was the fact that their names were already recorded in Heaven. And so, from this Biblical Overlook, as we look into Heaven, not only does God want you to see the wonders of the Heavens, and the Miracles of God’s works, but God also wants us to see one special thing that God has already done concerning you and me. And that is this: Because we are now in union with Jesus Christ, and have already been justified by Christ, we have now also already been glorified in Christ. And this ‘glorification’ has to do with our position and our place in God’s forever family and Kingdom.

When you combine several of the statements about who we are in Christ it helps us see this amazing picture of reality even better. Like this: 1 Peter 1:3-4- “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you…” NASU In Heaven your name is on record as already belonging to God’s forever family. There is already a reservation on record in Heaven with your name on it. When you called upon Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, without realizing it, upon your call, a reservation was made at God’s table. Jesus is not only preparing a place for us in Heaven, but He has also reserved a place for us, and your name and my name is on our reserved place.

The Apostle Paul also put it this way: Phil 3:20-21- “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” NASU So there is also a registry of the citizens of Heaven. And each Born Again believer’s name is in this registry. It’s called the Lamb’s Book of Life. And Paul doesn’t say that one day we will become a citizen of Heaven…no our citizenship has already been recorded there. In fact, as God sees us here on Earth, He is also able to see something else…and He will enable us to see it as well, by faith. Check this out: Eph 2:4-6- “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…” NASU

Wednesday night we were talking about this a bit…and we were remembering in recent history, in some churches, name plates were made for members of the church. And so before a person even came to church, his or her name was already on the pew or on that seat. That place was already theirs. They knew that in that church building there was a place with their name on it…it was their place, and it was already there before they even got there.

God recorded these promises for us because our God wants us to clearly see what He already sees. From this Biblical Overlook of Romans 3:30 we can see all the way into Heaven. And there, in Heaven, is a place, like a bench, like a chair, like a seat, and it has your name on it. It’s like when you next look up into the stars and into the heavens, there is also something else that is there. Actually there is a constellation of stars in the sky that used to be called Cassiopeia’s Chair’. It was later changed, but when you look into the sky the easiest way to spot Cassiopeia is to look for the “W” in the North. Keep in mind, the “W” may be on its side or inverted to form an “M.” If you can recognize the Big Dipper (Ursa Major), the two stars at the edge of the Dipper point toward the North Star (Polaris). Follow the line formed by the two Dipper stars through the North Star. Cassiopeia is on the other side of the North Star, about as far away as the Big Dipper, but a bit to the right. (I found that information at But in a very real sense, there is another chair, figuratively speaking, that is also there. But this one is not Cassiopeia’s Chair, this one is ______________ Chair…and put your name on it, because your name is already recorded in Heaven…your name is already written down in the ledgers of Heaven…your name is already on God’ s list of reservations…you already have a place, a seat, a chair at God’s table in Heaven.

So the next time you look up into the Heavens, by faith you should see that not only is Jesus already there, but you should see Jesus holding up a sign with your name on it, because in Jesus’ eyes, you are already there with Him.