Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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The Hope of Eternal Life

Meditation for the week of May 6, 2012

Titus 3:7  that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

What does ETERNAL life mean to us?  Surely it is a never ending life, but it is more than that.  The unsaved die and exist for eternity, but the saved LIVE throughout eternity. Since God is the author of life, life is more than just existing just as death is not the end of existing.  Death is eternal separation from God and involves punishment for rejecting the worship of the One True and Living God.  That worship begins with an acknowledgment of our sins and then trust in the Lord Jesus Who died for our sins.  Eternal life is a life that begins the moment we trust Christ and it continues forever.  But it is also a life with a new quality as well  The Bible says that He that hath the Son hath life (1 John 5:12). After coming to know Christ, eternity should motivate us, but does it?

We are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and the issues of life will be taken care of for us by our heavenly Father according to Matthew 6:33.  I do not believe that the physical kingdom of God is present on earth today.  I believe that it is coming after the Lord returns for the church.  But I do believe that as Christians we enter into the kingdom spiritually the moment we are saved. Colossians 1:13 says that He has delivered Christians from the power of darkness and conveyed them into the kingdom of the Son of His love.  No nation on earth today represents the kingdom of God.  Israel is still in rebellion and unbelief and the Lord has not begun a reign of righteousness through them yet even though I believe that is coming.  Some would like to believe that some of the nations of our Western Civilization are the new Israel and represent the Kingdom of God.  Unfortunately, there has never been a nation since the crucifixion that has submitted itself to Christ as King and that has judged sin in a righteous way.  When the Lord reigns there will be peace and that is certainly not true in the world today.  The immorality present in the Western Cultures would surely make us realize that presently Satan is the prince and the power of the air and that Christ is not on the throne of any earthly kingdom (Ephesians 2:2). 

As Christians we can spend our time enjoying the present world and its kingdoms or we can spend our time promoting the eternal kingdom.  When we promote and love the present world we usually try to change it into something that pleases God.  I am confident we can’t do that, but I am also confident that it can change us.   We should separate from it instead of trying to change it.  We should preach and live as strangers in it.  We have no commission to change it and make it better.  Instead we are admonished not to love the world.  John says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2:14).”

Our verse says that we are heirs.  Usually an inheritance is something that we anticipate with joy.  I am sure that is what Paul means when He refers to the hope of eternal life. We don’t hope to have eternal life, but because we HAVE eternal life (John 5:24), we have something to anticipate with joy.   Peter tells us that our inheritance is reserved in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:4).  I don’t think we will ever squander that inheritance or have someone else take it from us.  I don’t know all that is involved in that inheritance, but it has to be good enjoyable things that are associated with eternal life.  Inheritances that we get in this life only last until we die, this inheritance lasts forever.

Often the Gospel is presented as a way to have a better life here on earth.  While that may be the result for some people who have been living the life of a prodigal, that is not the reason for trusting Christ.  Neither is it the reason for living and serving the Lord after we have trusted Him.  Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).  We are not going to be able to change the world which is our enemy into a friend whose blessings we can enjoy.  But as we preach the Gospel it will miraculously change people from lovers of the world to lovers of the Lord.  However, our preaching will only be believable if people see that our motivation is “the hope of eternal life.”

When we think about what is important, surely the long-term benefits of eternal life outweigh the short-run benefits that this world offers.  What a joy it will be to enjoy the presence of the Lord and  His blessings for eternity.  But there is also a warning here because the consequences of rejecting eternal life will also be eternal.

Bruce Collins

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