If the physical world were to dissipate around you in one moment would you dissipate with it? If you were left what would you be standing on? Your own physical strength or some sort of self-derived merit? We are all bound to the material and physical laws of the universe, i.e., the biological laws that make us human, the laws of gravity, and so forth. But what if those laws which we are so accustomed to take for granted disappeared in an instant? Where would we be in the aftermath and how would we be?
Most of us never give thought beyond the immediate and physical world we are temporarily bound to. Occasionally we are shaken to consider the limited physical world by the death of someone we love or the diagnosis of a terminal illness. It has been said, “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (Jam. 4:14). Expectancy of life is volatile.
The fact that everyone of us are subject to the unrelenting reality that our involvement in this material world will come to an end—a time when the physical world dissipates around us and what material goods we’ve accumulated are left behind—is a capricious reminder that there is no physical or material law that can prevent the inevitable. Although there is no way out of the imminent reality of physical dissipation, there is a way to secure our eternal health and welfare in the aftermath.
Faith is the key to unlock the door of the spiritual reality promised to those who follow Jesus Christ and secure our eternal future. As such, and according to Ephesians 2:3-8, although we were formally fleshly (material or carnal) in nature and living out life accordingly—dead in our actions—God made us alive and raised us up together with Christ. Not only did God make us alive and raise us up but he also seated us (positionally) with Christ in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus—Heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17, Eph. 3:6). God did all this, according to Eph. 2:7, in order to show the surpassing riches of his grace to the ages to come. Or in other words, to demonstrate to the following ages how inexhaustible his riches of grace are.
The above-mentioned is followed by the declarative clause “For by grace you have been saved through faith” (Eph. 2:8). This fact is confirmed in Rom. 6:4, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
So then, faith in Jesus is death to fleshly interests in exchange for the pursuit of otherworldly (spiritual) interests. Which is the crux of our new life in Christ. “For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom. 8:13). Col. 3:1-3 confirms this, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” As well, Heb.12:1-2 explains that, “Since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.” The implication here is that Jesus’ work made faith a functioning reality for the realization of a new birth, a birth which makes us an active partaker of a spiritual experience and that when we exercise faith Jesus goes to work to perfect it.
Exercising faith gives us the operative title-deed (Heb. 11:1), and with this ownership comes the rights, privileges, and responsibility of being a new creation in Christ and members of God’s kingdom whereby we are clothed with the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 2:21, Eph. 4:24, Phil. 1:11, 3:9, and Heb. 11:7).
According to Dan. 2:44 and Rev. 11:15, the kingdom of God we’ve been adopted into will never have an end. Further, the official title of Revelations is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:1). And Col. 3:4 declares, “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” In addition, in 1 John 3:2 the Apostle John writes, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” “For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:53).
These truths lay a foundation to find comfort in the fact that when the physical world dissipates around us, we will endure and be found alive and well forever in Christ as permanent members of God’s eternal kingdom.
Dr. Steve Goodenough