Monday, December 27, 2010

Driven By Eternity - Day 8 - Repost

Scheduling a re posting of this old post of mine.  I really liked it then, and so did several readers.  I hope that this holds true.

Therefore let us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ (the Messiah), advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritual maturity. Let us not again be laying the foundation of repentance and abandonment of dead works (dead formalism) and of the faith [by which you turned] to God, with teachings about purifying, the laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment and punishment. [These are all matters of which you should have been fully aware long, long ago.]

In other (my own) words, eternal judgment isn't just something some people have come up with based on some obscure passage or their own interpretation of the last little dash at the end of the line. It's not just real, not just relevant... it's elementary. In the book, in Chapter 4 (I'm skipping notes on the story of Affabel - I don't feel right about trying to condense it and I won't plagiarize. Go to the website, order the Affabel series. It will be worth your time, I promise). Anyway, back to chapter 4... following that scripture, Rev. Bevere writes,

"One dictionary defines elementary as "constituting the basic, essential, or fundamental part." It's the essential part we must have right from the start to build upon; it's a foundation."

To me, this means that we can't move on beyond those basics until we get it. We may get tidbits - just as a baby occasionally gets a little morsel of mommy's food. But we need these foundations before we can truly move forward in our walk with God.

Maybe I'm unique, but I'm hung up the eternal part of this judgment. Judgment isn't necessarily bad... it can be good, too. As in the judgment to award someone compensation for a wrong done to them. It's not the judgment part that concerns me. God is just, He is Holy and Righteous. Of course there will be judgment. Our works aren't in vain. Or, rather, they don't have to be in vain. Some things we do here will be gold, silver, or precious stones in heaven. Other things, things that may not be bad or sinful but are still not for the Kingdom, will be wood, hay, and stubble. They'll all be tried by fire, and what remains will be purified gold, silver, or stones. The rest will be waste. I get that. I understand that. We need to remember that while we're here, because once we're there, it will be judged. The part that throws me, that concerns me, that keeps me awake at night, is the eternal part. While we're here, we can always say "Well, I'll get to that later." There's the notion that we'll have a chance to make it right, to do better. But once we get there... that's it. There's no more chances to do works that will yield a lasting reward. If we come through that fire with nothing but our lives, it is infinitely better than spending eternity in Hell.

But... we'll all find ourselves before Christ, wanting with everything in us to lay our treasure at His feet. As a way of thanking Him. For those who are saved but have nothing to show for it, they'll have one thing - a palm branch. A pitiful offering. I don't want to be one of those. And it's eternal. I've not seen any scripture that indicates that once we get to Heaven, we can do anything to earn more rewards or to change our status. That's the scary part... knowing that here on earth, I am choosing my eternity. Not just where, but how. And that's why I've only read one page of chapter four tonight. Because this is one of those things that keeps me awake. That messes with my head. That messes with my own theology and desires and beliefs.

The other thing that gets me is this... He is coming quickly. Come Lord Jesus. I want Him to come. But really, I don't think I actually get it. If I got it, would I live differently? Maybe. If I knew for a fact that in exactly one week He was returning, what would I do? What if it was one day? What if I knew it was in an hour? Would my sense of urgency increase? Would I be so concerned about offending people? Or would every second be spent warning people that He's coming. And it's not like if you're on the fence about it, you'll be given a chance to say, "Oh, wow, I guess that I should change my mind and follow Him" and then still get to come with us. It will be in the twinkling of an eye. We, the believers who are going, will have a brief warning - the loudest, most majestic trumpet blast we'll have ever heard. But the rest of the world? It's clear in scripture:

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left."
Matthew 24:36-41

See? That's what it will be. Nobody is going to CHOOSE to stay - the choice is made before hand. When you choose whom you will follow. We've been learning in church about how in the last days, it will become possible to see the difference between wheat and tares. In other words, instead of having a bunch of people who appear saved, and not being able to tell who is and isn't, it will be clear who truly belongs to God. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that as each day ticks away, it becomes more obvious who in this world has a relationship with my King and who is truly and eternally lost. And that, too, keeps me up at night.

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