open-bible

One of the things the Lord does when we read Scripture is He lays our lives against its plumb line. Someone has said that it’s not so much that we read Scripture, but that it reads us.

But this has become a bit of a problem in the evangelical church. One is that we’ve become so familiar with Scripture that it fails to impact us anymore. In addition, somehow, we’ve trivialized certain parts of Scripture. I’m not sure how this happened. Here’s an example about what we’ve done. We’ve transformed some of the most uncomfortable passages in the Bible into palatable kids’ stories. Noah’s ark. Animals and rainbows and a smiling guy with a white beard. This is in actuality a terrible account about God’s judgment of an evil world, where everybody was destroyed. Samson. Lots of people died when Samson was around. Moses before Pharaoh. Terrible plagues and destruction.

There’s only one answer for us. We must pray that the Holy Spirit opens up the Bible to us.

Eternal Life

One of these truths we have sort of become immune to has to do with the reality, the fact of eternal life and what will happen there. Here’s one:

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil  (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Here’s a verse I didn’t give much more than a passing glance:

“If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire (1 Corinthians 3:14-15).

I’m not sure why being told I could receive an eternal reward wasn’t important to me. If someone told me that if I did something I’d have an earthly reward, I’d be very interested. But my response has been, “Yeah, yeah. Just make sure you build on Jesus alone. We’re doing that.”  Snooze.

This event will happen. Each one of you will individually give an account to Jesus, face to face.

But here’s a verse that brought me up short, from 1 John 2:28: “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.”

Our lives are not about doing things to get lots of cool rewards in heaven, although that, apparently, is going to happen if we fulfill certain requirements. What is paramount is that we are pleasing to Jesus and have lived lives worthy of Him and His sacrifice.

Still, why haven’t these things impacted me?

Here’s a wonderful scripture concerning eternity from Luke 12:32-34.

“Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Provide yourselves with a treasure in the heavens. What does that mean?  And why isn’t the reality of an eternal treasure in heaven very important to us?

Here’s one from Luke 16, the parable of the dishonest manager that our little group has been puzzling over recently:

“And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.”

This is a strange parable, but a couple of things are clear, mostly because Jesus just comes out and says them. The one I just read is is one of them, about friends receiving into the eternal dwellings. So we asked ourselves what it would be like to be received into eternal dwellings because we’d made friends by means of unrighteous wealth, but honestly, we could only speculate. This parable is soon followed by the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. It’s apparent that the rich man had not made friends with Lazarus. After he died, Lazarus was having some kind of friendship with Abraham.

According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, to have one in one’s bosom indicates kindness, secrecy, or intimacy (Genesis 16:5; 2 Samuel 12:8). Christ is said to have been in “the bosom of the Father,” i.e., he had the most perfect knowledge of the Father, had the closest intimacy with him (John 1:18). John (13:23) was “leaning on Jesus’ bosom” at the last supper. Our Lord carries his lambs in his bosom, i.e., has a tender, watchful care over them (Isaiah 40:11).

My opinion is that we will spend parts of our eternity in intimate fellowship with others, learning how our unrighteous mammon was in bringing people to heaven and helping those who will be there.

Heaven is a fantastic place. The world promotes the idea of St. Peter at the gate with a big book with everyone’s name in it, people with angel wings floating around on clouds and cherubic angels. Precious Moments seemed cool  for a while, but the figurines didn’t help us have a biblical understanding of angels. We gotta cleanse ourselves of these images. In the book of Revelation, we see angels, but they don’t seem to be cherubic. They bring strong, loud announcements. They fight. One throws a huge millstone into the sea. The angels are the ones that blow the trumpets that announce terrible plagues.

In heaven, John saw elders and four strange living creatures. Check this out from the fourth chapter:

“And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’”

Creatures so strange that we don’t really know how to visualize them. A judgment seat where each one of us will give an account of what we’ve done. Treasure in heaven, if we help the needy with our money. And this is just a start. We’re going to have bodies that will be physical, like Jesus’ resurrected body was, not the ethereal, wispy thing like the world tries to tell us. Able to pass through matter, like the evil terminator in T2. Except we won’t melt or freeze like he did. And we won’t be just floating around on clouds, playing harps, the way the world tries to tell us. We’ll be ruling and reigning with Jesus. I don’t know what that means, but we’ll have eternity to find out, and I’m sure it will be wonderful.

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