DayBreaks for 4/01/16 – The Mingling of Two Streams
From the DayBreaks archive, April 2006:
Eternal life. God’s life. Here and now, or just in the future? The apostle John wrote in his letter about knowing that we have eternal life – present tense, not just in the future. Yet, to anyone who is living on this bluish-green marble of earth, it is clear that eternal life in the sense that most people think of it, is something that we’ve not managed to grab hold of. Every one of us will die. Is it any wonder that in the face of that 100% certain fact that people think Christians are, well, crazy for believing we will live forever?
The Bible is full of these kinds of seeming contradictions – freed from sin, yet sinners; raised with Christ to walk in a new life, yet prone to the same old sins and subject to the same temptations; that we find life by losing it and lose it by finding it. Yes, from the outside in, we must be a very strange lot.
Brian McLaren put it well in his book, Adventures in Missing the Point, when he wrote: When I read the Bible, I see a mingling of both streams of prophecy. One stream plants in us a dream of a just and peaceful society on earth (as in heaven), a hope within our history. The other stream emphasizes an eternal destiny, a hope beyond history as we know it. One perspective calls us to whole-hearted action and sacrifice here and now, and the other reminds us that we must pray and trust, because God’s kingdom does not come by might, or by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord.
It is true that in a sense we live in a nether-world of “now, but not yet.” Do we have eternal life now? Yes. Will it continue into the future? Yes, but it will be different in both quality and quantity in ways we can’t even begin to imagine. Even as Paul struggled in his letter to the Corinthians to picture what the immortal body and life will be like when the future becomes the only reality that exists, he never doubted that it exists or that God’s children will be part of it.
1 Corinthians 15:54 (NIV) – When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
TODAY’S PRAYER: Our hearts long within us Lord to experience and know more of the eternity that you have prepared for us. We want to experience the fullness of life that was in Jesus and to be done with only the bits and pieces we seem to be able to glimpse in this life. Help us to never give up the hope that you have put into our hearts, never to trade it for things which are passing away. Thank you for the promise of the nature and quality of your life that you want to share with us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.