Recently, I heard a couple of people comment on the subject of how they would live if there was no promise of eternity. Both stated that even if there is no heaven or eternal life, they would still choose to live life as a Christian.
Why? I think I understand their thinking in that the life lived as a Christian is a good life…a life that treats people well, is honest, and generally abides by the golden rule.
I realize these people are not attempting to undermine Christ’s promise of eternal life, but if there is no eternity, why would I live this way?
I’ve met a number of people who live what most would call a good life. Some are Hindu, others are Muslim and some have no belief in particular. Still all of them appear to live good moral lives with or without a belief in some type of religion.
The entire reason Jesus was here on earth was to lead us into an eternal relationship with God. Jesus lived and died and was raised from the dead so that we may experience an ongoing life with God. He made many promises
It seems that many have come to think of Jesus as someone who can help us simply live a worthwhile life today, but if Christ is not risen, then what’s the point? My belief means nothing. My life means nothing. Why would I invest my time in the lives of others? Why?
In his letter to the church in Corinth, the Apostle Paul summed up his feelings this way –
“Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-19 ESV)
If there is no eternity, faith is in vain, faith is futile and we are among the most pitiful of people. Why, then, would anyone die to himself and take up a cross and follow Christ?
In verse 32 of the same chapter, Paul summed it up well, “If the dead are not raised, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
Jesus came to restore our relationship with God…for eternity.
Came home after church Wednesday, noted problems with my computer and finally got it cured last night. That security system I downloaded at the last minute to help in case of Conflicker battled my microsoft version and had me locked up tighter than a drum. Too much to all this for an old man’s brain, Marty.
I think, like Paul, you “sum it up well” here and I looked up the words to that old song because, to tell the truth, I’ve always like it. “You may ask me why I serve the Lord,” it begins, “Is it just for heaven’s gain. Or to walk those mighty streets of gold, And to hear the angels sing.Is it just to drink from the fountain, That never shall run dry.
Or just to live forever, In that sweet, sweet bye and bye.” You get the idea, probably remember the chorus and, I think, are correct in people simply expressing the present goodness of knowing Him. In truth, we sing and say a lot of things that, if we sat down and got into real conversation over them, the fulness of what we believe encompasses so much more.
I’m wondering, though: what if it were the other way around? What if the subject was reversed? What if people said and sang “Even if I couldn’t know a tangible relationship with Him now, if I couldn’t find Him in prayer, in worship, in silence and solitude staring up at the stars in the evening…I am satisfied with the promise of heaven as it is written in the Book. I believe.” In truth, there seems to be a lot who appear to be in that state of faith and nobody bringing the reality of Christ to them…