temporary/eternal

eternal

I came home from Bible study on Wednesday night and I was throughly jacked…in a good way! The teacher had been mining the depths of Romans 1. We got into the thanking God for the believers in :8 and that put the emphasis on the right sylable. It got us thanking God for our blessings of people. And then we cross-referenced that by looking at various verses where the Apostle Paul didn’t thank the people but thanked God for the people. We were pointed to James that reminds us where good gifts come from:

[17] Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17 ESV)

We could dig into this study a little further and say that many times we think of the temporary things of this life, when we think of gifts, and little more…and those gifts can drag us down if we forget the spiritual gifts. We can become unsatisfied with the temporary gifts that we’ve been given and when we get to eyeballing  the gifts of our co-workers, family members, and neighbours. We can go green over the gifts that they have. And if we don’t have a hotter car, a hotter spouse, or a hotter holiday, we can get in the ditch. We can let the temporary gifts of life control us. I went to the Bible study a little unsatisfied from the things of this life Wednesday night, I’ll admit it, and then the things of the eternal were unlocked for me…and I went home flying!

I would suggest that the temporary are the things that can thrill us or send us to despair. I saw some oranges on for a good price at the grocery store the other day. When I got to the self-serve check-out they came up for 3.99 instead of 9.99. I told the gal who works there and she said I got them for the lower price. Really cool. I get pretty excited about things like that. And it was a good temporary thing. I saved 6 bucks on some really good oranges. But little things can change our attitudes in a nano-second. I remember a time when I took the girls, when they were little, to the doctors office. I wasn’t sure how to get into the building and we accidentally went up the back stairs. (I’m directionally clueless!) The secretary was sure to tell me about my flub and she was snarky about it…and boy did I simmer when I sat with the girls in the waiting room. ‘I just didn’t know and you should really have better signage for how you get up to your stupid office,’ I thought.

Can you relate? Can the little things send you to eleven, for good or for bad? I think we’ll be less rattled when we’re more and more thrilled with and gripped by the eternal. A verse that I can’t get over, that I mention often, is in Ephesians 1:

[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 1:3 ESV)

I have a chart that is framed that hangs on my office wall and the title at the top is Ordo Salutis. That’s latin for the order of salvation…some of these blessings happen at the same time and for others they’re sequential. (I know, some people have pictures hanging on their walls and pastors have theological words hanging on theirs!) This chart is a reminder of some of the spiritual blessings in the life of a believer, past, present, and future, in light of Ephesians 1 and in light of the cross.

election – Before creation, because of His sovereign good pleasure, God chooses some to be saved.

calling – God summons people to Himself through the human proclamation of the good news so they respond in a saving faith.

regeneration – God secretly and sovereignly gives spiritual life to those who have been called.

conversion – We willingly respond to the gospel call, repenting of sin and placing our faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.

justification – An instantaneous legal act of God in which He declares that our sins are forgiven and Christ’s righteousness is ours.

adoption – An act of God in which He makes us members of His family.

sanctification – A progressive, lifelong work of God and man that frees us from sin and makes us more like Christ.

perseverance – All those who are justified will be kept by God’s power and persevere as believers to the end of their lives.

glorification – God will finally remove all traces of sin from the Christian and give him a resurrection body.

The physical, temporary things of this life that we can see, touch, hear, feel, and taste are stiff competition for the unseen, spiritual things…I admit it…that’s why we constantly need reminders from His Word that the spiritual things rock and the temporary things fade and eventually burn. May God give us the eyes to see the lasting, spiritual things for what they are.

[17] For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, [18] as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV) 

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