Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Vol. 2, No. 2 Page 10 February 2000

Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

On The Inside Looking Out

By Paul Hoover, Minister

 As children of God, we must ever look to eternity as we travel the complex and difficult road of life.  If our spiritual eyes could not penetrate the physical realm and focus on the majesty and glory of our God, life would be mundane or simply pointless.  There are great joys in life, but there are also heartache and pain.  Life, in and of itself, is like a tiny crumb from your favorite cake.  It hints at something very good, yet is too little to be beneficial or to provide true enjoyment.  So it is with life outside of godliness.  The youth rejoices in his strength and endurance.  The old man suffers with swollen joints and agonizes over his dependency on others.  The young lady swoons over the attention of a young man, but her heart is broken when he rejects her for another girl.  Joy soars to great heights in the hearts of parents whose children are happy.  But there are few things that compare with the pain parents feel when their children are hurting.  Life, in and of itself, is at best a trade off of joy and sadness, pleasure and pain, good and bad.

 Life, however, transcends this mortal existence. The Word of God allows the spiritually-minded a brief look into eternity.  We are able to focus our mind’s eye on the majesty of our God within the confines of human understanding.  Ezekiel saw a likeness of God’s glory.  “And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake” (Ezekiel 1:26).  The glory and majesty of God cannot be adequately described by words nor comprehended by the mind of man.  In this word picture, several aspects of God are seen.  God is more valuable than costly jewels.  The throne represents the might of a ruling king.  God is not a figure from the distant past, rather he is an ever active and powerful king.  His personage is pure and bright.  A brilliant light surrounds him which resembles a rainbow, representing both beauty and promise.

 As impressive as this likeness of God’s glory is, the true glory of God cannot be contained in these mere words.  But, because God is glorious, majestic, eternal and all powerful, physical life exists.  Because God is the God of love, spiritual life exists and man has the opportunity to live in the presence of God’s glory forever.  The following words are part of John’s description of heaven.  “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Revelation 21:23).  Heaven is lit with the radiance of God’s glory and God has given man the opportunity to live eternally within its glow.  “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son” (Revelation 21:7).

 Because the opportunity of eternal life is extended to man by God through Christ, the sorrows of life are tolerable.  Eternal life gives purpose to physical life.  Because of eternal life, the aged child of God can view his aches and pains as a short discomfort which will be followed by eternal comfort.  The brokenhearted will be wholehearted and will no longer shed tears.  Parents and children will know pain no more.  “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” Revelation 21:4).  This promise of things to come brings the present into proper focus.

 When spiritual eyes are engaged, the physical world is transformed in the sight of the beholder.  Some things which looked good through physical eyes are then seen as an avenue to death and destruction.  That which seemed desirable is then repugnant.  That which seemed important then seems insignificant.  Likewise, that which is truly good can then be seen.  Righteousness and godliness then stand out in bold relief.  Physical life, which was merely tolerable, is now a great joy because of the knowledge that it leads to eternal life.  True joy and contentment is possible only when we view this world through spiritual eyes.

 When we fail to view this world through spiritual eyes, we begin to wonder the same things that Jeremiah wondered.  “Righteous art thou, O Jehovah, when I contend with thee; yet would I reason the cause with thee: wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they at ease that deal very treacherously?” (Jeremiah 12:1, ASV).  Physical eyes observe many wicked people in the world who are living in wealth and privilege.  Physical eyes see the property and power of the wicked and ask, “Why do the wicked prosper?”  Keen spiritual eyes see that in reality wicked people do not prosper.

 A man began a business at the age of thirty.  For two years he made a tremendous profit.  In his third year of business, he lost his profit and his business.  Devastated by this event, the young man was no longer motivated to achieve.  For the remaining thirty years of his working life, he held only minimum wage jobs.  He died penniless.  Financially speaking, could you say this man prospered?  No, you could not.  At best, you could say that there was a brief period of time when he appeared to prosper.  But, when his entire life is considered, he certainly was not prosperous.  Spiritual eyes see that a man who enjoys wealth, privilege and power in this life, yet spends eternal life separated from the glory of God, has not prospered.  The period of his seeming prosperity is insignificant in the face of eternity.  “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

 Brethren, we must never allow God’s promise of eternal life to fade in our memories.  We must never turn our mind’s eye from the glory and majesty of our God.  We must never allow the suffering of our physical existence to overshadow the eternal future of our souls.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:3-7).

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