Monday, March 22, 2010
No Vision of Eternity
The actions of many Christians indicates that they have no vision of eternity. Either they never truly think of it, don't believe in it or believe that it will be for everyone. Some excuse their lack of concern for those who don't know the Lord with the expectation that God will allow everyone but the worst of sinners into His heaven. Therefore, they keep their faith (if you can call this faith) to themselves. Why is this?
I don't believe that many Christians actually believe the story of the Cross. They like it. They will even say it is true when gathered around other Christians but they have no true walk with a living Jesus so they do not believe in this historical event with eternal meaning. The presence of Jesus daily should indicate that He lived because He continues to live in the Christians' hearts. A daily walk with Him would also give them a vision of eternity. They would long to be with Him.
I often see Christians telling me that their friends and family have gone to "a better place" when I perform funerals. Some of them say these words but don't believe it. I can see it in their eyes. Either they don't believe the deceased is really a Christian or they don't believe in eternity. Either way their sadness (not grief because there is a difference) reveals they do not believe they will ever see their loved ones again.
Christianity has become a silent faith for so many people who call themselves believers. They are glad to have new people come to their church but they are uncertain what to say about eternity. Sometimes I think that Christians believe that going to church will save you. I believe many people will find Christ at church but I don't believe the church will save anyone. Only a personal commitment to Jesus will save anyone. It is only by His blood that we are saved. The church cannot cover any of our sins. Our relationship with the church may help us grow to Christian maturity but it will never save us.
Many Christians don't see themselves as evangelist so they fail to share their faith. They don't understand that it often takes many people who work in concert together to see someone come to know the Lord. It takes several people who will invite them to learn more about Christ. This may be church events. It may be a fellowship of Christians. It may be a small group study being done in someone's home.
It takes several people to make all these things happen. It will take people who will serve food, others who will volunteer their homes, some who will make sure the children are nurtured and taught, still others to teach Bible studies and those who will invite their friends and acquaintances to these events. It all should have one focus: I want to see others in eternity. This comes because people who don't know Christ meet Him, commit themselves to Him, mature in Him and bring others with them to eternity.
Eternal condemnation is a horrible thought. We have done our best to prevent temporal condemnation in our present society. Someone else will cover up your bad decisions. In fact, other people will be blamed for your bad decisions. Personal responsibility is passe'. We live in an age of "its not my fault." How can anyone be condemned for eternity when no one is condemned for anything.
Many people see heaven as an egalitarian society. Everyone gets to go and everyone gets the same thing. That is not what Scripture says on either account. This life counts for determining our eternity. Heaven has a pass-fail entrance exam. Your name in the Lamb's Book of Life will be your ticket. However, heaven still has its rewards. Each of us will answer for what we did or did not do.
A vision of eternity would mean that we are very careful in the way we live on this earth. We would understand that our forgiveness is paid for by the blood of Jesus but there are still rewards and consequences for our decisions. We would understand that we have a responsibility for bringing people with us to eternity. We would know that our daily walk with a living Lord would give us the strength and continue this vision until we no longer breathe. We would look forward to our own eternity because we have been faithful to our Lord. We would see eternity as a transition from this life to the next. We would be grateful for what Jesus did for us now because we can see how this has determined our eternity. We would not be casual about our faith. We would be less concerned about our own church's growth and more concerned about God's kingdom.
Do you have a vision of eternity?
"Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."