Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.
2 Peter 3:11-12
The world, along with its values, is passing away. The time will come when the planet Earth will no longer exist as it is today. Scientists tell us that upon every year of orbit of the Earth, a bit of distance is lost due to the gravitational pull of the sun, and one day Earth itself will be pulled too close and life will be consumed in heat. And the sun itself is burning out of its energy and one day it shall become dark and cold. These events are placed billions of years in the future, but the point cannot be denied that this earth is temporary.
But are we temporary? I dare to think not. I believe the Bible is correct when it states that the human soul and spirit continue after death. There is something about us that is beyond this mere physical existence; and for the believer, there is some One within us who is eternal – Jesus Christ Himself who lives within.
So where shall our hearts be? Shall our affections be solely invested in this world, in its economy, in its politics, in its lifeless things, in its mere worldly entertainments? Or shall we embrace the eternal things of God, and understand that these are what we are called to, and that with Him and in Him is our eternal home. It is not just the physical world that will pass away but the worldly distortions of truth, the corruptions of disobedience. Our hearts are to be set on the eternal things of God – on truth, on love, on hope, on purity, on Christ.
Can we speed up the coming of this day? This passage speaks to our emotional response to the end of the world and the coming of the Lord, that we should not merely succumb to its inevitability, but that we should look forward to that day. The Lord will come! Or in death we shall go to Him! Some of the last recorded words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer were spoken to a fellow prisoner as he was led to his execution, “This is the end – for me the beginning of life.”
We may debate whether we should say that eternal life begins at conversion rather than after death, for certainly the Bible tells us that those in Christ have the life of God today (1 John 5:11-12). Yet in this earthly life the fullness of God and the greatness of the gift of eternal life is in part hidden, but in eternity is the gift received in its fullness. Today we have a deposit; then we shall possess it entirely. So there is a point to desiring death so that we may go and be with Him, and longing for the coming of Christ and the end of the world’s worldly domination. “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). This is the Christian value and attitude until He calls us home. As long as He leaves us here we should seek the good of this place, we should seek to fulfill our earthly mission as His ambassadors, but our hearts should always be ready to go, and long for the eternity with God that is unencumbered by the world’s influence or by our flesh’s limitations.
And to think like this prepares us to live for Him each day and to enjoy by faith the victory we have in Him.
Lord, we are tempted by this world, and for some reasons that are contrary to logic we are lured by its values to forget You and our eternal home. Remind us, Lord, of what is truly lasting and eternal. Let us establish our hopes and ambitions in You and in You alone. Use us here as Your ambassadors of a better Kingdom, of a finer Place, of a Perfect Eternal Home. Amen.