Posts Tagged ‘eternity’

John 5:20-24

John 5:20-24  has Jesus in a full blown argument with the Jewish leaders of that day.  They were upset that He healed the man at the pool of Bethsaida, and then had the audacity to say He was the Son of God.  They were out to kill him, and silence His words. Jesus takes it to the next level. “But you haven’t seen the half of it yet, for in the same way that the Father raises the dead and creates life, so does the Son. The Son gives life to anyone he chooses. Neither he nor the Father shuts anyone out”. Jesus used the work of resurrection as an example of the shared work between the Father and the Son. He makes it clear that the Son has the power and authority to raise the dead and give life to them just like the Father does.

Jesus explains further the relationship He has with the Father.  “The Father handed all authority to judge over to the Son so that the Son will be honored equally with the Father. Anyone who dishonors the Son, dishonors the Father, for it was the Father’s decision to put the Son in the place of honor”.  God has given Jesus Christ the place as Judge.  He is empowered to deal with each and every person when we face judgment day.  Jesus used the judgment as an example of a division of labor between the Father and the Son. It is before God the Son that people will stand on the Day of Judgment.  That means each and every one of us will someday stand before Him.

Jesus explained to the astonished religious leaders that those who heard His word would have everlasting life. They would have the life connected with eternity, and have that future right now. “It’s urgent that you listen carefully to this: Anyone here who believes what I am saying right now and aligns himself with the Father, who has in fact put me in charge, has at this very moment the real, lasting life and is no longer condemned to be an outsider. This person has taken a giant step from the world of the dead to the world of the living”.  This is John 3:16 said in another way.  God has put Jesus in charge of judgment, so faith in Him is how real life, eternal life happens.

This is essential to everlasting life; to escape judgment for sin and to pass from the position of death to the position of life.  That happens only one way – receiving the gift of grace from God through His Son on the Cross.  There is no other step that gets us there.  Sin gets in the way of eternal life. Clarke wrote: ‘Death is the country where every Christless soul lives. The man who knows not God lives a dying life, or a living death; but he who believes in the Son of God passes over from the empire of death, to the empire of life’.  The fact is that without Jesus, we will die and miss eternity with God.  We’ll face judgment with Jesus, and our sin will disqualify us from entry into heaven.  Faith in Christ takes us from the world of the dead to that of the living for eternity!

1 Peter 4

In 1 Peter 4, he challenges us to love each other.  “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins”.  Love does cover a multitude of sins, both the sins of the one loving and the sins of the one who is being loved.  Grudem wrote “Where love abounds in a fellowship of Christians, many small offences, and even some large ones, are readily overlooked and forgotten. But where love is lacking, every word is viewed with suspicion, every action is liable to misunderstanding, and conflicts about – to Satan’s perverse delight.”  Love should define us as Christ Followers.

God has equipped us to function together in the body of Christ.  “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ”.  There are several principles of spiritual gifts that Peter points out here:

  1. Gifts are given to all of us as Christ Followers
  2. Gifts are given to serve others, not for our own benefit
  3. Gifts are given to glorify God, not ourselves

This chapter speaks about the end times, and it won’t be rosy as we approach that time.  “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed….if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God  in that name.”.  Guzik wrote “We should never deny the place of suffering in building godliness in the Christian life. Though there is much needless pain we bear through lack of knowledge or faith, there is also necessary suffering. If suffering was a suitable tool to teach Jesus (Hebrews 5:8), it is a suitable tool to teach His servants”.

He reminds us that we will all stand before God someday and give account for our lives.  “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God….Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good”.  Christians can rejoice that the sufferings they face in this life are the worst they will ever face throughout all eternity. We have seen the worst; those who reject Jesus Christ have seen the best of life their eternal existence will ever see.  What lies ahead for them will be much worse.

Jeremiah 17

Jeremiah 17 has the prophet considering the sin of Judah.  It is deep.  “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; with a point of diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of their altars”.  He makes it clear that their sin is full of hardness and their rebellion is strong.  This is deep rooted sin.  But in God’s eyes, sin is sin.  And our sin is equally as bad as the people in Jeremiah’s time.  We may try and excuse it as much less sinful, but there are no levels or grades of sin.  All sin separates us from a righteous God.

God’s people have experienced His blessing.  Their history is full of His power alive in their lives.  Yet they forget and choose to worship idols and ignore the God who saved them and set them free.  So they pay a price for those choices.  “Your wealth and all your treasures I will give for spoil as the price of your high places for sin throughout all your territory”.  God gives, and God can just as easily take away.  But He never tolerates sin.  He can’t look the other way and just ignore it.  Sin will be addressed and carries a price.

We get a picture of what does lead to success in God’s economy.  ” Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit”.  Success is about relationship with God.  It is about knowing Him and taking delight in His Word.  When we get it right, we have no fear and will bear fruit.  We live a blessed life in His presence.

Then comes the truth that puts a reality check on that blessing.  “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?  “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds”.  So blessing is available to each of us if we learn to trust and walk in obedience with the Lord.  On the other hand, we’ve got to overcome our inclination to sin and realize that within us is a heart that can lead us the wrong way.  Obedience to God is a choice – we have to intentionally make that choice because our natural inclination will be to take a different path.

God’s paying attention.  He does keep score, at least until we receive the gift of grace through Jesus Christ at which time all our past sins are covered and forgiven and we’re set free from any scorecards from the past.  Are you ready to stand before God and give an account?  If we do it on our own, based on how we have lived, we’re going to fail the test to spend eternity with God.  If we do it with Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we’ll pass with flying colors and our sin will be covered and we’ll have an eternity with the Father and Son and Holy Spirit that we can’t even imagine.  But we have to make that choice.  No one else can do it for us.  Are you ready?

Psalm 107

Psalm 107 gives a great picture of how God gets our attention when we fail to figure it out on our own.  I call it the ‘2X4’ approach because God has had to do this very thing in my life – whack me upside the head with a heavy 2X4 to get my attention.  The psalmist has seen and likely experienced this in his own life.  But he starts the chapter reminding us of the foundation for all God’s interaction with us – His goodness.  “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever”!  The Lord is good – always and in all ways!

The writer goes on to remind us we need to let those around us know so.  “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so”.  We’re all sinners, and if we’ve been redeemed and saved by His grace and mercy, we need to let those around us in on the answer to their sin problem.  We have the only solution there is to the outcome of sin – which is death and eternal separation from God.  We are compelled to tell others who haven’t found the cure to sin where to find it.  There’s only one place – Jesus Christ – but as redeemed people we need to share that story.

The writer calls out some different folks who struggle to see God’s hand in their life.  He describes their obliviousness to God’s hand around them:

  • Some wandered in desert wastes
  • Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death
  • Some were fools
  • Some went down to the sea in ships”

How people respond to God is all over the board. Some bury themselves in work, some choose rebellion, some just ignore Him, some live in a pity party, but many miss God and His love.  In every case, when people in these different states of denial finally come to their senses and call upon God, “He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things”.  God hears and responds and rescues when we call.

The psalmist makes it clear – we all are in need of a Savior.  And the good news for us is that God has provided that exact solution – Jesus Christ.  The question is only what we’ll do with God’s free offer of grace and mercy through Christ.  Will we humble ourselves, confess, repent and receive His grace.  Or will we be stubborn and prideful and continue to try and deal with things on our own.  The counsel is clear.  “Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord”.  God’s solution is the better way.  It is based on His steadfast love that never ends and provides an eternal outcome that is superior to anything we can even dream or imagine.  Are you attending to these thing – to getting your eternity secure and in place through God’s offer of grace?

%d bloggers like this: