Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Eternal Significance

It is essential for us, especially as Christians, to understand history. It is through history that we begin to see God working through to bring about His purpose. To understand history is to understand the heart of God, and where He wants to take us.

For pre-scientific cultures, history and legend were very important in developing the sense of purpose and meaning for life. Many eastern societies are still dominated by pre-scientific thinking.

Science is a western way of thought. The irony of it is that science came into dominance because of Christianity. Science emerged out of Christian thinking because the Christian says that the universe is orderly and that it can be studied. Christianity paved the away for the scientific method to dominant our thinking. While science is a valid discipline, and can teach us many things, it has hindered us in our ability to understand why we are here.

We will not discover how God is working in the world by looking through a microscope. God’s work in the world is primarily discovered through studying revelation (the Bible) and studying history. By joining God in what He is doing through history means that we are giving our lives to that which will last.

One day everything around us will go up in smoke. There is nothing that we can do about it. Sooner or later our lives on earth will end, and at that time nothing will matter. As Solomon points out in Ecclesiastes it is all meaningless. Unless we can give our lives away to a higher purpose our lives on earth will be meaningless. Consider what the apostle Peter wrote:

8 Don't forget this fact, dear friends: With the Lord a single day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a single day. 9 The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some people understand slowness, but is being patient with you. He does not want anyone to perish, but wants everyone to come to repentance. 10 But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day the heavens will disappear with a roaring sound, the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be exposed.

11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, think of the kind of holy and godly people you ought to be 12 as you look forward to and hasten the coming of the day of God, by which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved and the elements will melt with fire. 13 But in keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.
(2 Peter 3:8-13; ISV)

The sad truth about life is that what we do, the accomplishments we have, and the successes we achieve mean very little. They may be great for a time, but most if not all, will fade in our life time. Relative few are the people whose accomplishments survive them.

Only a life lived according to God’ s will, being faithful to what God is doing through history, will give us lasting significance in our lives. The reason is because what God is working through history is the transformation of people. God is using His revelation as well as history (our time on earth) to make us people fit for heaven. Therefore the outcome of a person’s life carries with it eternal consequences. For the person who is not faithful to Jesus their eternity is destruction. For the Christian, the faithful follower of Jesus, our eternity is heaven, which allows us to be eternally in God’s presence.

There are many things we can give our lives to in this world, but only what we do for God will last. We have the choice on how we can spend our lives. We can spend it pursuing things that will melt away in the end, or we can spend it following after Jesus. The way to eternity is clear: Jesus said to him,“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6; ISV).

  • Point to Ponder: Unless we can give our lives away to a higher purpose our lives on earth will be meaningless.
  • Passage to Remember: 2 Peter 3:8-13
  • Question to Consider: Are you living for God or for yourself?

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