Life in this world has its problems – tragedy, disappointments, heartaches, etc. If we ask why, the Bible answer is clear: We live in a fallen world. Christians face all the usual difficulties of life plus those tribulations which come are way simply because we are Christians.
Paul in his letter to the Christians in Rome offers two things which should help us keep everything in perspective. First, “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18) Second, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) This does not mean that everything that happens to us in this life will be present but rather that God can make everything, no matter what, work out for our eternal good.
None of us like to suffer those things which go with living in a fallen world. We would not be normal if we felt otherwise. However if we will always keep in mind how wonderful heaven will be, it will help us through.
What will the throne of judgment look like? What will Christ, the Judge, look like? Will the Judgment be experienced through the sense of sight? What will be different there from this life? What will be changed?
The Bible speaks often about the moment of reckoning, when the righteous and wicked, dead (John 5:28-29) and all living (Matthew 25:31-33) will stand before the King of kings to give account for the conduct of the body (2 Cor. 5:10). As we attempt to paint a mental picture of the Judgment Day, one thing should not be envisioned because it won’t be there.
There will not be an unbeliever at the Judgment (Phil. 2:10-11). With an introduction only heaven could produce, John says Jesus will come with clouds, every eye shall see Him, and all nations of the earth will wail because of Him (Rev. 1:7). No person will be able to continue in unbelief. Faith will be permanently past tense. Evidence of God’s power and the power of His promises will be beyond the realm of the hopes for and in the arena of the finally seen (Heb. 11:1). Jokes scoffing the Divine will not slip off the sin-darkened hearts of the defiant. No skeptics, no agnostics, no doubters, and no infidels will be at the Judgment.
Thursday, we found out that three winning lottery tickets were sold in the record-setting Powerball jackpot. Each is worth $528.8 million dollars. That’s an attention-getting number. Here is one more: $70.1 billion. That is the amount Americans spend on lottery tickets each year (more than sports tickets, books, video games, movies, and music combined). That is $300 for every adult in the 43 states where the lottery is played. The poorest third of households buy half of all lottery tickets (theatlantic.com “Lotteries: America’s $70 Billion Shame”).
Newscasters often report on these jackpots and encourage viewers to “check the numbers.” In the media, the lottery is usually portrayed as a harmless, even exciting, diversion. Perhaps many have failed to look more closely at what these numbers mean for a person’s ethics and morality. The most dangerous aspect of things like playing the lottery is what the Bible calls “covetousness.” It is an irrational, often compulsive, attempt to obtain wealth.
The BDAG lexicon defines the covetous person as “one who desires to have more than is due, a greedy person.” What is clear is what Scripture says about covetousness: it prevents one’s inheriting the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:10), it is idolatry which again prevents inheriting this kingdom (Eph. 5:5), it is a failure to love one’s neighbor (Rom. 13:9), and it is a defilement of the heart (Mark 7:22). Let’s make sure that greed and covetousness do not “have our number.”
While it is true that Christians do not live under the law of the Old Testament, still it has great value for us.
For one thing the Old Testament scriptures testify of Christ. On one occasion Jesus said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39) Paul regularly used the Old Testament scriptures to demonstrate that Jesus was the Christ. Luke writes: “And Paul, as his manner was…reasoned with them out of the scriptures, opening and alleging…that this Jesus whom I preach unto you, is Christ.” (Acts 17:2-3) The apostle Peter after giving his own personal testimony of what he had seen as proof added this: “We have a more sure word of prophecy.” (2 Peter 1:19) Even unto this day the Old Testament scriptures stand as one of the great proofs of Christianity.
It is certainly true that we do not live under the law of the Old Testament (Galatians 3:24-25), but nevertheless the Old Testament is of great value to the Christian. The apostle Paul wrote, “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) We must never neglect the study of the Old Testament.
Honor God by your life Matt 6:33, Rom 12:1-2
Attend every service possible Heb 10:25, Acts 20:7
Pray always I Thess. 5:17
Practice the Golden Rule Matthew 7:12
Yield not to temptation Matthew 26:41, Luke 22:40
Never murmur or complain Philippians 2:14
Endeavor to save others Mark 16:15, I Cor 9:22
Worship sincerely John 4:23-24
Yearn for Bible knowledge I Peter 2:2, II Pet. 3:18
Enlarge your faith Luke 17:5
Always be considerate Hebrews 10:24
Remember Thy Creator Eccl 12:1