A modern saying tell’s so much – “We want to make this world a better place to live in.”
Well, nice thought, but so different to the teaching and mindset of the New Testament. No-one has more impacted the world for good than Jesus and Moses and Paul along with the Apostles. Yet they constantly had their focus on something beyond this life, beyond this world! The Lord Jesus prayed that his disciples might be with Him in the Father’s house ( John 17). Paul was longing for the day when he would exchange the present for a better condition – “We want to slip into our new bodies, so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by everlasting life.”(2 Corinthians 5.4).
In the western world, Christianity has been hijacked by the emphasis on ‘living the good life now’. Across the earth most Christians suffer every day, as the Lord foretold “ In the world you will have tribulation, be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 15). Across the world thousands of Christian refugees suffer persecution and hunger, thousands suffer discrimination for the name of the Lord Jesus, many are in prison and hundreds die for converting to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. One could mention the thousands who suffer illness and the many incapacitated in old age. For most of the suffering ones, the next life with Christ, is the only hope to live a ‘good life.’ Heaven will be a rich compensation for them. Paul paints a beautiful picture – “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will give us later” (Romans 8.18).
For those who want everything now, listen to the words of Abraham –“Son remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted and you are in anguish.” Luke 16.25. Once again it was the Lord Jesus who said to the Loadicean church – “You say ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realise that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”(Revelation 3.17)
Such of course is the voice of the prosperity gospel. The poverty of the master , who said follow Me, along with many other scriptures, shows the fallacy of those who claim authority for their dreams, from their dreams . ( Jude 8 )
The Lord Jesus called upon us to take up our cross (going out to die for Him), deny ourselves and follow Him. This will only happen when out of devotion to Himself we move forward with the next life as our focus. Even Abraham, who was blessed with much in this world, was looking beyond this life, looking for the city whose builder and maker was God (Hebrews 11 ).
It is very true that the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ does impact on the world in which we live (as salt and light), but this is not the purpose or the focus. The Lord came from heaven to rescue people out of this lost and fallen world. That they might be saved, redeemed, regenerated, accepted in the family of God - not just for a few short years in this world, but beyond the resurrection forever with the Lord.
For so many, eternal life is the glorious prospect, begun now in knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, and then forever to sing the praise of the Lamb upon the throne.
Let us all then, lift up our eyes to the glorious hope, to be with HIM and like HIM forever.