By Charles Wages
(Continued from last month)
It is a Scriptural fact that before we can live with and for the Lord, we must first die with Him! It was the apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of God, who wrote,
“I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless, I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)
Then, we read in Romans 6:8,
“Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe we shall also live with Him.”
We have seen this is fact—that the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has everlasting life as the gift of and from God! How is the believer to act “with eternity’s values in view?” Natural life can be a wonderful experience, but because of the sin nature and its results, this natural life is not always so wonderful. However, with “eternity’s values in view,” life takes on a new perspective. The Scriptures advise us to:
“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:2)
Natural life has the earth in view. Eternal life has heaven in view. Natural life mainly has self in view, whereas eternal life has the Saviour in view. With “eternity’s values in view,” we can better serve our heavenly Father and be of service while living on earth. We must constantly keep in mind that our Lord came to earth, died on a cross, but went back to heaven. Ephesians 1:19-23 says,
“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power. Which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
Knowing and believing this wonderful truth, or rather believing and knowing this glorious truth, enables us it to keep looking up.” Humanly and humorously, it has been said, “Keep looking up, especially when there is only mud under your feet.”
“With eternity’s values in view,” we can see more clearly the tasks or work that is at hand. Surely, it gives a stronger desire to learn more, live better, and love stronger.
The more we look at the things of the world, the more we see Satan’s work. After all, Satan is the god of this world system or the “age” in which we live.
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, less the light of the glorious gospel of Christ who is the image of God should shine unto them.” (2 Cor. 4:3-4)
One of the main works of the devil is to blind people so they cannot see the work of the Lord and believe the gospel of God’s grace. Also, that blinding work of the devil also affects the believer. It keeps the child of God from “remembering” that the Lord has redeemed him or her from the penalty of sin. In other words, it affects our sight. Note carefully what God led Peter to write in 2 Peter 1:8-9:
“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from the old sins.”
Also note, it is said of this blindness, “he cannot see afar off.” In other words, the believer being blind of God’s work in saving his soul, cannot have “eternity’s values in view!”
In the context of these verses in 2 Peter, the believers were told to add to their faith virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and love (verses 5-7). These are “spiritual vitamins” to enable us to see what’s ahead! It is possible for a person to know they are saved, know how they were saved, know from what they were saved, but not know why they were saved. Sometimes a person can be like the little bird that flies backward and only sees where he has been, but not much about where he is going.
We have seen that the eternal life God so freely gives to those who trust Him for salvation is a precious reality, a present protection, a permanent position. All of these should have a prevailing effect on our values in daily life. For example, the believer should have a “sound mind” in spiritual and earthly matters. This can only be accomplished if we have our thinking and decisions based on “sound doctrine.” This sound doctrine or teaching can only be found in God’s Word and teaching based thereon. This is especially vital when we are warned in 2 Timothy 4:3-4,
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
One of the attributes of eternal life is that of a “sound mind.” We read in 2 Timothy 1:7,
“For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Out of a “sound mind” comes “sound words” based on “sound doctrine.” This truth can be used in the life and experience of the child of God to convince the unsaved of their great need of the Saviour. Paul, writing to his son in the faith, said in Titus 1:9,
“Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”
It should go without saying that “with eternity’s values in view,” our lives will be more “wholesome” and useful. We will be more able to think and act with more stability and steadfastness. The amusing story is told of a young man who lost his job in the orange juice plant—he couldn’t concentrate! When our thinking goes astray we should remember to KEEP LOOKING UP!
Think soberly, soundly, and with “eternity’s values in view!”