I believe in the life everlasting

In the heartache of life, when day blurs into day and night finds you staring in the dark remembering your sins

When the ugliness of the curse and the filth of sin cover everything

When you plod from place to place in pain, when every step hurts and your heart hurts and the tears won’t come because big boys don’t do that

When the miry pit grabs the legs and drags you down, it is easy to forget…

And so you remember, and you say…

“I believe in the Holy Spirit, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting…”

As you stood under the waters of your baptism, and the clean, cold, clear water flowed down your head, so also you are washed. You are clean. You are dressed in the finest robes you can imagine, the righteousness of Christ. A crown is on your head and your skin has been anointed with the finest perfume. You have an invitation to the supper. It was bought with the blood of Jesus Christ. But you are not just there, you are welcomed there. You belong there. You were reserved a place from before the foundation of the world, because God loved you in Christ.

I believe in the forgiveness of sins.

And the day will come when the gulf between heaven and earth will be no more. The curse will be taken away. The last war will be fought, the last argument heard, the last illness, the last death, and then the voice of the Son of God will be heard and the dead will be raised incorruptible.

I believe in the resurrection of the body. Wherever my ashes are scattered, wherever my bones end up, every speck is accounted for, preserved in death by the One who went there before. And when he speaks, the dead are raised incorruptible.

And we will walk in the new heavens and the new earth where the lion and lamb lie down together, where the leviathan and behemoth dwell in peace with man and man is at peace with man and God and all pain is gone. The thorns and thistles are no more, the uselessness and drudgery of this earth are no more.

And we will stand in the presence of our God forever.

I believe in the life everlasting.

I cannot imagine life without pain in my legs, and ache in my heart. I cannot imagine life without sin and death and pain and misery.

But I get a glimpse ever now and then. I taste the apricot and the apple, so I know what tastes good and fresh and wholesome. I hold my wife close and I know what intimacy and love should look like. And I get a glimpse in the scripture of who Jesus is, and long to see him face to face.

For then beauty will be perfect, and life and holiness and righteousness will be  complete. Then we will know what we only taste now. And we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. When God says to “think on these things” he would have our affections in heaven, where Christ is seated. There is our treasure, there is our hope, there is our end.

We are driven by the future. We are not determined by our past, we are not forever locked in the drudgery of the present. We are not defined by what we have done or what has been done to us.

We are defined by where we are going, who we are in Christ, and where we end up. The grave is not the end. Yesterday will pass away. Today will fade. Tomorrow brings “bright hope” for the place in heaven has already been prepared for us.

And when I finally reach the River, I will pass through to the Promised Land. My sins will be left behind. My filthy garments. My hopelessness and vanity, as well as my aches and pains, my sleepless nights, my pain-filled days – I will leave all of that behind in the River of Death, and victory will be mine at last.

That is where we are going. Jesus is already there. He is the way, the truth and the life. How do you get there? Only by trusting in him. You have to have his garments and his invitation, which only come by faith.

Look beyond this present world, with its loves and hates and fears and terrors. Look beyond the brokenness and hatred and rage and sorrow. Raise your head up and see where you are going. Jesus stands there at God’s right hand, ready to receive you…

I believe in the life everlasting…

Advertisements

7 Comments

Filed under Gospel, Hope

7 responses to “I believe in the life everlasting

  1. Janet

    Thank you, Sam. I just went through a week of sorrow and shame and sadness. My sins are ever before me. I have so much regret. But I am washed in the blood and I have an invitation to the banquet. I believe in the life everlasting, too. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

    • There is so much pain and regret in this fallen world, but every tear will be dried, and every blot cleansed, and every wrong made right – even the wrongs that we have done. Before the throne, when every knee bows, reconciliation is perfect.

  2. Beautiful, Sam.

    I believe in life everlasting, but I also believe that life everlasting, life eternal, begins right now. That’s a hard walk in a world filled with so much suffering and pain. In the world you will definitely have tribulation and yet as the saying goes, “Jesus didn’t die just to get us into heaven, He died to get a bit of heaven into us.”

    • Absolutely. As the Heidelberg puts it,
      58. What comfort hast thou from the article of “life everlasting”?
      That, inasmuch as I now feel in my heart the beginning of eternal joy, I shall after this life possess complete bliss, such as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, therein to praise God forever.

      The dawn of heaven breaks through in this age, even in poverty, sickness and pain. We are in possession of eternal life right now, for we are in possession of our Lord right now. He is ours and we are His, now and forever.

  3. Thank you for such a beautiful post. Praying loved ones would repent and not put their ‘hope’ in this present age.

  4. Anu Riley

    Thank you for a lovely choice of words to describe what earthly life can be like, but also describing what eternal life will be like.

    I once heard it put very well: when you close your eyes in this life, you will open your eyes and be in the next.

    Ironically, those that are in bodily pain or dealing with inner trauma are often told (and rightly so) to “take it one day at a time.” That is all your can handle, and that is all you need to focus on. Don’t dwell on what tomorrow might or might not be like—-deal with that when it comes.

    And if you try to look too far down the road, more than likely it will drive you nuts. It will overtake mind and soul to constantly be grappling with what the next day might or might not bring.

    Even more ironically, Christ encouraged us in that same thread (Matthew 6:34). And Jeremiah knew the comfort of fresh mercies being poured out each day, as each day came and went (Lamentations 3:22).

    Without a doubt, however, there is great joy in knowing what KIND of future awaits us—-we often don’t know when or how long it will be before we arrive

    While you are here, hold onto Him for dear life (pun intended!). When you are ready to let go of this life, He will be holding you even closer. .

    Live your life one day a time, but never forget what is waiting for you when your days are done.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s